Journalists Follow Obama to Latin America
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Getting ready for 2008 elections in Nicaragua (Credit: Donkeycart/Flickr)
President Obama left Friday night for a five-day trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador that creates coverage opportunities for Spanish-language journalists. Traveling with his family, Obama plans to discuss job-creation opportunities, though no new trade agreements are expected.
In a report pegged to the trip, the public-radio show "Latino USA" on Friday described gaping income disparities [audio] in Central American countries and crime approaching narco-state status. In Guatemala, four severed heads were found around the capital, including one on the steps of Congress. In Honduras, despite efforts at democracy, the country is again in military hands.
But those negatives won't be Obama's emphasis, and in the piece, speakers said they did not want to reinforce stereotypes, either.
On Friday night, Miami's WSVN-TV touted, "7's own Lynn Martinez spoke with the President at the White House.
". . . According to The White House, the state of Florida produces billions of dollars in exports to Brazil each year," the station reported. "Last year alone, Florida received over $5 billion from Brazil. 'Part of what it does is send a message not only to the people of South Florida but the United States that our economic future is tied up with the future of Latin America,' Obama said."
Alejandro Manrique, the Associated Press' deputy Latin America editor/Spanish services, told Journal-isms, "We are providing exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the Obama trip using our correspondents in Brazil, Chile and Salvador. The coverage will include set-up pieces on each country; breaking news on the ground (we had a story last night on Chile signing a nuclear agreement with the US); and main bar stories throughout the trip. In addition, we are helping the AP Washington correspondents with background information relevant to the visit, which we are using in our stories. We will also offer a notebook of news items during the President's trip that will be of the interest in the region."
Pedro Rojas, executive editor at the Los Angeles paper La Opinión, said his paper would send Yurna Mekira, who covers the Central American community in Los Angeles, on the El Salvador portion of the trip for the ImpreMedia chain of newspapers, which has nine print publications and 11 online properties, including El Diario-La Prensa in New York. Only El Salvador was chosen, Rojas said, because fewer Latinos in the United States trace their roots to Brazil or Chile.
On Sunday, Univision said, the "Al Punto" program will air a special edition from Brasilia, Brazil, with Jorge Ramos, who is traveling with Obama. "He will analyze the visit with Senator Cristovam Buarque and Francisco Altschul."
". . . Coverage will feature analysis and news reports on all editions of our 'Noticiero Univision' newscasts including on 'Noticiero Univision,' 'Noticiero Univision Edicion Nocturna' and 'Noticiero Univision Fin de Semana.' Additionally we have continuous coverage, recaps and videos on www.UnivisionNoticias.com," a spokeswoman said.
CNN en Español anchor Juan Carlos López will be traveling with Obama, that network said. "The network's crew will travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador to offer live shots and periodic reports in throughout CNN en Español's programming."
"Though the United States and Brazil are the two largest democracies and economies in the Western Hemisphere, this trip is unlikely to produce any new trade initiatives," Becky Brittain wrote for cnn.com.
" 'I think you could probably describe this for President Obama as a discovery visit. It's a get-to-know-you trip,' said Stephen Johnson of the bipartisan research group Center for Strategic and International Studies.
". . . First lady Michelle Obama has her own schedule of events for the trip, including a cultural performance by young disadvantaged Brazilians, an education speech in Chile, and a visit with underprivileged El Salvadorans.
"Obama daughters Malia and Sasha are expected to travel with their parents as part of their spring break vacation."
- Andrew Downie, Christian Science Monitor: High hopes for Obama's Latin America swing
- Juan Forero, NPR: Brazilians Welcome Obama As Their Own [March 19]
- Josh Gerstein, Politico: Anti-Obama Protest Turns Violent
- Sandra Hernandez, Los Angeles Times: Diplomacy: Brazil is Obama's first stop in Latin America trip
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Quarrelsome Neighbors
- Roger Noriega, Fox News: What Obama Must Do On His First Official Trip to Latin America
- President Obama, USA Today: Jobs at top of Latin America agenda
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Kansas needs a breather on immigration debate
- Ginger Thompson and Michael D. Shear, New York Times: Clinton Says U.S. Should Elect Female Presidents
Clive Myrie of the BBC interviews expatriates from Wales at a Japanese refugee camp. (Video)
Black reporters have not been prominent in coverage of the Japan earthquake and tsunami tragedy, though if you tune in to the BBC, you might see Clive Myrie toiling amid the muck. Born in Greater Manchester, he delivers his reports with a British accent.
Myrie filed reports this week from a refugee center in Yamagata, "where people are struggling to find life's essentials, even while searching for loved ones."
His stories have appeared on "BBC World News America," which airs at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on BBC America, as well as on BBC World News, the BBC's global news channel and online at the U.S. edition of BBC.com/news, where there is a live stream of the BBC's coverage of the disaster in Japan, a BBC spokesman told Journal-isms.
According to his bio, Myrie is the BBC's Europe correspondent, based in Brussels. He was previously based in Paris, Washington, Asia and Los Angeles.
"Born in Bolton, Greater Manchester, Clive was educated at Hayward Grammar School and graduated with an Honours degree in Law from the University of Sussex in 1985," it says.
Like its American cousins, the BBC has struggled with diversity issues.
"The BBC was memorably described as 'hideously white' by Greg Dyke, the former director-general, and has a target of recruiting at least 12.5 per cent of its 23,000 staff from ethnic minorities," the London Telegraph reported in June. "Its own figures show that by January 2009 it had almost reached the goal, with 12 per cent of employees at the publicly-funded broadcaster non-white."
Among African American journalists, Lennox Samuels is filing reports for the Daily Beast/Newsweek.
"The devastating earthquake and tsunami, which hit Japan on 11 March 2011, caused major difficulties for several newspapers along the eastern coast of the Tohoku region, which includes the prefectures of Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima," the International Press Institute reported on Friday.
"Newspaper companies have suffered water and fuel outages and are currently utilizing back-up electric-power generators or have reduced the number of pages to keep publishing. The newspapers Daily Tohoku in Aomori Prefecture, Iwate Nippo in Iwate Prefecture, Yamagata Shimbun in Yamagata Prefecture, Kahoku Shimpo in Miyagi Prefecture and Ibaraki-Shimbun in Ibaragi Prefecture are assisted with page makeup and printing by newspaper companies in neighbouring prefectures with whom they have set up mutual anti-disaster agreements. Four newsprint manufacturing plants in the Tohoku region have stopped operations altogether."
- Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Anchors who began week in Japan end it in New York
- Asian American Journalists Association: People with AAJA ties who are covering the earthquake in Japan and the aftermath across the Pacific
- Liz Cox Barrett, Columbia Journalism Review: Shameless Japan “Coverage” from MSNBC, CBS
- Joel Meares, Columbia Journalism Review: WikiLeaks Cables Used to Dig on Japan Quake
- Roger Witherspoon, newjerseynewsroom.com: Japan’s nuclear plant design flaw was raised years ago
"Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya since Tuesday were captured by forces loyal to Col. [Moammar Gaddafi] and will be released, the Libyan leader’s son Seif al-Islam [Gaddafi] told Christiane Amanpour in an ABC News interview early Friday," David Kirkpatrick wrote Friday for the New York Times.
"Like many other Western journalists, the four had entered the rebel-controlled eastern region of Libya over the Egyptian border, without visas, to cover the insurrection against Colonel [Gaddafi].
" 'They entered the country illegally and when the army, when they liberated the city of Ajdabiya from the terrorists and they found her, they arrest her because you know, foreigners in this place,' Mr. [Gaddafi] said, according to the transcript of the interview, which took place shortly after the United Nations Security Council approved military action against Libyan government forces. 'But then they were happy because they found out she is American, not European. And thanks to that, she will be free tomorrow.'
"Mr. [Gaddafi] was apparently referring to Lynsey Addario, a photographer, but Libyan government officials told the State Department on Thursday evening that all four would be released.
"The Libyan government allowed the journalists to call their families on Thursday evening.
"The journalists are Anthony Shadid, The Times’s Beirut bureau chief and a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent; two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Ms. Addario, who have extensive experience in war zones; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell, who in 2009 was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and rescued by British commandos.
" 'We’re all, families and friends, overjoyed to know they are safe,' said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. 'We are eager to have them free and back home.' "
- Committee to Protect Journalists: Bahrain expels CNN reporter, detains WSJ correspondent
- Committee to Protect Journalists: In Yemen, a journalist fatally shot, another injured
- Bakari Kitwana, NewsOne: Rap Sessions: [Gaddafi’s] Past Ties To Chicago Gangs, Farrakhan Written
- Natalie Y. Moore, theRoot.com: [Moammar Gaddafi's] Chicago Connection: How the feds used the Libyan dictator to bring down the infamous El Rukns gang from the city's South Side.
The National Association of Black Journalists scheduled a Tuesday "town meeting" for NABJ members to raise questions about the dispute with its partners in Unity: Journalists of Color.
Meanwhile, Will Sutton, a co-founder who was among those representing NABJ in the Unity partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association, joined other co-founders in responding to a question from Journal-isms on whether he would be willing to mediate or arbitrate the dispute over Unity's finances and governance.
Referring to Juan Gonzalez of NAHJ, Sutton said, "As Juan and I said at UNITY 2008, we need to stop the insanity of separate, annual conventions."
NABJ, the largest of the four associations, is asserting that Unity has grown beyond its original mission and shortchanged NABJ in the process. It has submitted several proposals to reorder the way the proceeds are divided, but it was outvoted at a meeting last weekend, with none of the other partners supporting NABJ.
The "town hall" meeting takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. Scheduled to participate are NABJ President Kathy Times, Treasurer Gregory Lee and Executive Director Maurice Foster. NABJ members may register here.
Responses from Gonzalez, Lloyd LaCuesta of AAJA and Mark Trahant of NAJA were published in Wednesday's column.
In his e-mail response Thursday, Sutton said:
"Clearly, I have great love for NABJ, my 'native' organization, and UNITY, the result of a brainchild I shared with Juan. I have no desire to see . . . NABJ nor UNITY falter and fail.
"I have no desire to see AAJA, NAHJ or NAJA falter and fail.
"As has always been the case, as a coalition, we are stronger with numbers, and even stronger with our commonalities. We've always had differences, and we always will.
"That will never change.
"Our strength is in each other.
"There aren't two sides with the recent goings on.
"There are four, and not five.
"UNITY can't be successful as its own, separate organization, or even [as] an umbrella organization. We have to keep revisiting this matter because there are new members to each association, members new to the UNITY concept and philosophies and, most of all, new UNITY leaders.
"That's as it should be.
"Money is at the heart of all kinds of debates, differences and disputes.
"Those who get beyond those difficulties usually look at what brought them together in the first place, recall the good times, focus on what does work and can work and proceed to find solutions and longer-term, practical terms. Those who do not cause breakups.
"As Juan and I said at UNITY 2008, we need to stop the insanity of separate, annual conventions. Maybe our specific idea of having a UNITY convention every two years wasn't the best, most practical suggestion. But show me any one association that thinks that it can survive with an annual solo convention each and every year now and for the next 10 years and I submit that it isn't being realistic.
"We can combine our efforts and resources with each other, like-minded journalism associations. Or we can combine with groups that are like us culturally and ethnically but not professionally. If I must choose, I choose to combine efforts with journalism organizations with like minds, objectives and philosophies.
"I am supportive of NABJ, and UNITY. I'm supportive of AAJA, NAHJ and NAJA. As always, I'm here to encourage, help and support. I have not tried to run NABJ or UNITY, and I won't. If asked, I will do what I can, within reason."
Butler forward Matt Howard hit a layup with less than a second remaining to lift Butler to a 60-58 victory over Old Dominion in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday. The win advanced the Bulldogs to the third round of the tournament on Saturday. (Credit: Butler University)
"As March Madness kicks into high gear, we will at times see the best of college athletics: good sportsman[or woman!]ship, team work, laser-like focus," Olga Pierce wrote Thursday for ProPublica. "But there is also a seedier underside where schools recruit players who are not academically prepared, let them play while turning a blind eye to their scholastic progress, and may eventually turn them loose with no diploma or prospects to show for their hard work.
"Academic reform efforts by the NCAA have identified men's basketball as being most prone to such abuses and poor academic performance, with shockingly low graduation rates for many teams and enormous racial disparities even among members of the same team, as Education Secretary Arnie Duncan, a former basketball player himself, pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed this morning.
" 'Colleges and universities need to stop trotting out tired excuses for basketball teams with poor academic records and indefensible disparities in the graduation rates of white and black players,' Duncan wrote."
Pierce’s article noted: "We've decided to create the first annual ProPublica NCAA Tournament Bracket, where the teams with best academic performance win. We created it via the New York Times' handy bracket feature. Relying on academic scores results in a somewhat unlikely projected champion: Butler University. (We're not the only ones who have had this idea: Inside Higher Ed has done their own academic performance-driven bracket. . . . And we should emphasize, they've been doing it for years.)"
- Tim Baysinger, Broadcasting & Cable: ESPN Sets Record With 5.9 Million Brackets For 'March Madness'
- Toni Fitzgerald, medialifemagazine.com: Media buyer's primer to March Madness
"Jalen Rose grew up poor in Detroit, the son of single mom and an NBA player he never met. He helped transform basketball culture as a member of Michigan's iconic Fab Five team, then earned more than $100 million as a pro baller," Jesse Washington, the Associated Press' race relations reporter, wrote on Friday.
"Grant Hill came up wealthy in the D.C. suburbs, the child of an NFL running back married to a corporate consultant. He helped establish Duke University as a paragon of success and virtue in college basketball, then overcame terrible injuries to enjoy a long NBA career.
"So which one is the 'authentic' black man?
"The question may seem irrelevant. But when Rose said that he considered black Duke players like Hill 'Uncle Toms' when he was a teenager, he exposed a sensitive and longstanding issue for many African-Americans: If blacks succeed in a white man's world, and do not conform to certain assumptions of how blacks should act, are they less black?
"Rose's comment — aired Tuesday in an ESPN documentary Rose produced on the five black Michigan freshmen who rode their wave of talent, hip-hop style and trash talk to the 1992 championship game — inspired to a response from Hill on The New York Times website. Hill's riposte spent several days atop the Times' most-emailed list, and more than 96,000 people shared it on Facebook, stoking a free-wheeling debate on the Web and in print over which basketball star had the better point."
- Darrel Dawsey, mlive.com: Grant Hill was right, but Jalen Rose's comments captured reality of a poor kid from Detroit trying to make sense of race, class and privilege
- Terence Moore, CNN.com: Why we hate Duke
- Jason Reid, Washington Post: Jalen Rose’s comments on race in ESPN documentary are misguided
- Michael Wilbon, ESPN.com: What Grant Hill, Jalen Rose share
"And now for some good news out of Africa," Karen Rothmyer wrote for the March/April issue of the Columbia Journalism Review.
"Poverty rates throughout the continent have been falling steadily and much faster than previously thought, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The death rate of children under five years of age is dropping, with 'clear evidence of accelerating rates of decline,' according to The Lancet. Perhaps most encouragingly, Africa is 'among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions,' according to the McKinsey Quarterly.
"Yet US journalism continues to portray a continent of unending horrors. Last June, for example, Time magazine published graphic pictures of a naked woman from Sierra Leone dying in childbirth. Not long after, CNN did a story about two young Kenyan boys whose family is so poor they are forced to work delivering goats to a slaughterhouse for less than a penny per goat. Reinforcing the sense of economic misery, between May and September 2010 the ten most-read US newspapers and magazines carried 245 articles mentioning poverty in Africa, but only five mentioning gross domestic product growth.
"Reporters’ attraction to certain kinds of Africa stories has a lot to do with the frames of reference they arrive with.
". . . But the main reason for the continued dominance of such negative stereotypes, I have come to believe, may well be the influence of Western-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international aid groups like United Nations agencies. These organizations understandably tend to focus not on what has been accomplished but on convincing people how much remains to be done. As a practical matter, they also need to attract funding. Together, these pressures create incentives to present as gloomy a picture of Africa as possible in order to keep attention and money flowing, and to enlist journalists in disseminating that picture."
- Bob Giles, Nieman Report: Linking Journalists in the U.S. and South Africa
- David Minthorn and Darrell Christian, editors of the Associated Press stylebook, announced these changes Friday at the American Copy Editors Society conference in Phoenix: "email, instead of e-mail. (Other 'e' terms, such as e-book and e-commerce, retain the hyphen); Kolkata, India, instead of Calcutta, India. To follow local style; cellphone, smartphone become one word. (No longer cell phone and smart phone); handheld, n., hand-held, adj."
- The Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards competition awarded the Los Angeles Times $10,000 and the Roy W. Howard Award for "Grading the Teachers," a series by Jason Felch, Jason Song, Doug Smith, Sandra Poindexter and Ken Schwencke that used Los Angeles Unified School District data to identify the most effective — and least effective — teachers and schools. In October, police found the body of a fifth-grade Los Angeles Unified teacher, 39-year-old Rigoberto Ruelas, under a bridge. Ruelas had received a slightly below-average overall rating, and with suicide suspected, his teachers union demanded the database come down. For editorial writing, Linda Valdez of the Arizona Republic in Phoenix is to receive $10,000 and the Walker Stone Award for editorials that made a case for comprehensive immigration reform.
- Jummy Olabanji, a reporter at WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va., is joining WJLA-TV in Washington, TVSpy reported.
- "Hitting newsstands this week is the first of an annual endeavor from ESPN The Magazine: a fashion centric issue called the Style Report. The special issue marks a major move toward including more fashion coverage than ever before," Chris O'Shea wrote Wednesday for FishbowlNY.
- "The loss of federal funding for public broadcasting will be devastating for rural community radio stations. For some of them, federal funding makes up 50-80% of their budgets," Ginny Berson, vice president and director of federation services of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, told RadioInk on Friday. The House voted Thursday to cut off financing for NPR.
- Reporters Stan Donaldson and Margaret Bernstein of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland spent more than a year reconstructing the lives of the 11 women found dead on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland, the alleged victims of serial-killing suspect Anthony Sowell. Their reports began Sunday, "constructed from interviews with family members, and the information and photographs that they provided."
- Jeff Bercovici, blogging for Forbes.com, evaluated Huffington Post's claim that most of its bloggers are not professional writers. "It’s true that fewer than 25 of the 100 bloggers I surveyed identify themselves primarily as currently-working journalists. But that number swells dramatically if you count up all the screenwriters, songwriters, documentary producers and humorists. At least half of the bloggers are published book authors," Bercovici wrote Friday. The Newspaper Guild has reached out to unpaid Huffington Post bloggers and asked them to stop writing for the website.
- The American Society of Magazine editors Wednesday unveiled the winners of its second-ever National Magazine Awards for Digital Media, the Digital Ellies awards. Thirty-nine titles were nominated, including nine online-only titles such as Chow, CNET, the Daily Beast, Epicurious.com, LIFE.com, Salon, Slate, Tablet magazine and Yale Environment 360. There appeared to be no representation of people of color.
- "Expunging the N-word from 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' deprives students of the 'teachable moment' its presence in the novel creates says a black scholar," CBS News said on Friday. "But retaining it deprives others of experiencing the novel in school at all says a white publisher of a sanitized version catering to school districts that have banned the book because of the word. Byron Pitts talks to both men, as well as teachers and students for a 60 MINUTES story about the N-word in American society to be broadcast Sunday." CBS posted an excerpt.
- The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association plans to present two $5,000 scholarship awards Thursday at its 16th Annual New York Benefit. One "seeks to further the role of diversity in the education of our next generation of newsroom leaders by providing tuition assistance to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student of color who plans a career in journalism."
- Nine candidates will stand for election this year to the board of the American Society of News Editors, ASNE announced Friday. They are Debra Adams Simmons, editor, the Plain Dealer, Cleveland; Amanda Bennett, executive editor, Bloomberg News, New York; Neil Brown, editor, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times; Chris Callahan, dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, Phoenix; Alfredo Carbajal, managing editor, Al Día, Dallas; Steve Engelberg, managing editor, ProPublica, New York; Vikki Porter, director, Knight Digital Media Center, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Los Angeles; Mark Russell, editor, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel; George Stanley, managing editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The candidates will vie for five three-year terms.
- In an internal memo sent out Wednesday to Time Inc. employees, Paul Caine, executive vice president and chief revenue officer of Time Inc., informed employees that Lucía Ballas-Traynor , publisher of People en Español, will be leaving Time Inc., at the end of April "to pursue a strategic consultancy in the Hispanic marketplace, Portada magazine reported on Thursday.
- CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien will have a quarterly column in Latina magazine highlighting social and cultural issues affecting Latinos, the magazine announced, Veronica Villafañe reported on her Media Moves site on Wednesday.
- Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, a commentator who filed a "lawsuit in federal court, which the city quickly settled" after he had been stopped by the police, wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday that he filed suit "for the thousands of black men in Philadelphia and other cities around the country who are victims of repressive (and illegal) law-enforcement policies like Mayor [Michael] Nutter's "Stop and Frisk" program, which trades our constitutional rights for the illusion of public (read: white) safety." On theLoop21.com, Charles D. Ellison asked, "How "Authentic" is Marc Lamont Hill's Run-in With Philadelphia Police?"
- The University of Missouri "is one step closer to requiring students to take a diversity course," Andrea Braxton wrote Thursday for the Columbia Missourian. "The Faculty Council voted 19-1 to add a diversity intensive course to the list of general education requirements, but the proposal still has a long way to go."
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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