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OWN Debuts to Robust Ratings

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Winfrey's Network No. 3 on Cable in Saturday Premiere

Newspaper Industry Escapes Distinction of Having No Black Sports Editors

Ceaser Williams, Journalist and Mentor, Dies at 61

Gay Ugandans Win Case Against Paper Urging "Hang Them"

"Fox News Sunday" Takes Sides on Health Care Language

Chuck D. Says Rap Sites, Blogs Mimic New York Post

African American Film Critics Vote for "The Social Network"

Short Takes

 

In Sunday's premiere of OWN's 'Oprah Presents Master Class,' Diane Sawyer recounted an interview she held nearly 20 years ago with Saddam Hussein, then president of Iraq. (Video).

Winfrey's Network No. 3 on Cable in Saturday Premiere

"OWN, the new cable network from Oprah Winfrey, got off to an impressive start over the weekend," Scott Collins reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times.

"For its Saturday premiere, OWN was the No. 3 cable network among women age 25 to 54 during the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. hours, behind only ESPN and USA.

"At 8 p.m., the first episode of 'Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes' — featuring outtakes from Winfrey's swan song as a daytime syndicated TV host — delivered 1.2 million total viewers, according to early figures from the Nielsen Co. Another episode at 9 p.m. also delivered 1.2 million viewers. That's an especially robust figure, given that Saturday viewing levels are seldom high and that it was New Year's Day.

"However, the following night, OWN faced tougher sledding. The premiere of 'Ask Oprah's All Stars' — in which Winfrey favorites Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Suze Orman answered viewer questions — delivered 968,000 total viewers. 'Master Class,' a celebrity bio program at 10 p.m., premiered to even flatter numbers: 602,000 total.

". . . OWN, which took over the channel position formerly occupied by Discovery Health, is currently available in 67% of U.S. homes."

"OWN plans to announce ratings for its entire launch weekend on Tuesday," Jon Lafayette reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.

"The network is positioned on [channels] previously home to Discovery Health, which averaged about 252,000 viewers in primetime last year."

Winfrey plans a spring finale for her syndicated daytime talk show, the Associated Press has reported.

Papers Escape Distinction of Having No Black Sports Editors

Larry GrahamWere it not for the 50,500-circulation Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, the departure of Garry D. Howard from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would have left the newspaper industry with no African Americans editing a sports section at a mainstream daily newspaper.

The Observer spared the newspaper industry that dubious distinction.

"I just arrived in Fayetteville earlier today and my first day at The Observer is next Tuesday," Larry Graham messaged Journal-isms on Monday. Graham, 35, replaced Todd Adams, college sports editor for the Tribune Co.'s Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toby Carrig reported Dec. 10 in the online newsletter of the Associated Press Sports Editors. Howard, meanwhile, started work Monday as editor-in-chief at the Sporting News.

"Graham had been assistant sports editor at ThisWeek Community Newspapers in Columbus, Ohio, since August 2009, and previously worked as preps copy editor and page designer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sports editor at the Lima News, assistant sports editor at the Oshkosh (Wis.) Northwestern, sports reporter at the Lee's Summit Journal and preps reporter at the Kansas City Star," Carrig wrote.

"Graham said he has met with members of the staff to discuss strengthening the Observer brand and building the relationship between the print and online editions.

" 'We all seem on the same page when it comes to how we can morph the Observer sports section into a multimedia entity, instead of just a newspaper and website,' Graham said. 'We hope to transform the print edition and the online edition into more of a symbiotic relationship to better position ourselves for whatever happens over the course of the next five to 10 years.' "

The departing Adams endorsed the Observer in a message on Sportsjournalists.com as the paper was seeking applicants. "I just want to go on record saying that, in my opinion, this was a GREAT place to work. It's a family-owned paper, which means the ownership still very much cares about the product, and resources are still available to make it top notch," Adams wrote, adding a few caveats.

Ceaser Williams, Journalist and Mentor, Dies at 61

Ceaser Williams, a writer and editor at several newspapers who helped found the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists and taught on the faculty of the Maynard Institute's Editing Program for Minority Journalists, among other mentoring activities, died Dec. 21 at age 61, according to a death notice in the Kansas City Star.

Ceaser WilliamsHe died of a pulmonary embolism at an Independence, Mo., hospital, his wife of 20 years, Mara Rose Williams, a Kansas City Star reporter, told Journal-isms. The Star did not publish a news obituary, but she expected that a staff-written "tribute" would be appear in time.

"He spent a life in journalism, early on as a writer and later as an editor at several major newspapers, including the Buffalo Evening News, The Philadelphia [Inquirer], Newsday, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution and two stints as an editor at The Kansas City Star," the death notice said.

"Having spent the early part of a 30 plus year career as a music reviewer, he became a lover of genres from Celtic to opera and jazz to hip hop, with a particular affection for classic R&B. During his time in Atlanta, he also taught journalism at Clark Atlanta University. And was the author of 'From The Water,' a collection of stories he wrote about the deadly 1994 flood in South Georgia. When he left the newsroom, Ceaser went on to teach briefly in the Kansas City Public School District and later taught journalism at William Chrisman High School in Independence."

He "often said his goal in life was to do his part to 'preserve the beauty of the English language, one young mind at a time.'

". . . He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., where as president of his freshman class he attended the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. He often spoke of having had the privilege of attending both King's funeral and the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the African nation of Ghana and an advocate of the Pan-African movement. During his college days, Ceaser traveled extensively through West Africa and Europe. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Buffalo."

According to the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists, "His oldest son, Trey, who is in his first year of college, was a graduate and scholarship winner in the KCABJ student journalism academy."

The family asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the National Association of Black Journalists, 1100 Knight Hall, College Park, Md. 20742.

 

Sheila Hope Mugisha, a lesbian who was named in an article in the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone urging readers to hang homosexuals, says neighbors attacked her with stones after the article was published. (Credit: Sudarsan Raghavan/ Washington Post) (Video).

Gay Ugandans Win Case Against Paper Urging "Hang Them"

"A group of Ugandans identified as homosexual in a newspaper article headlined 'Hang Them' have won damages and a court injunction ordering the paper not to repeat the exercise, human rights groups said today," Peter Walker reported Monday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"A high court judge ruled that the story in the Rolling Stone newspaper, which printed addresses and photographs of some of the 100 people it named as 'Uganda's top homos,' violated their constitutional rights to privacy and safety. The court awarded the three plaintiffs in whose names the case was launched just over £400 each [about $620] in damages, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda said in a statement.

"Rights groups warned that the article in October in the new, small-circulation weekly title put the lives of gay people in danger, saying that at least one woman named in the story had been forced to leave her home after neighbours pelted it with stones.

"The front page of Rolling Stone, started by journalism graduates from Makerere University in Kampala, claimed that the country's homosexual community aimed to 'recruit 1,000,000 children by 2012', and that parents 'face heart-breaks [sic] as homos raids schools'. Inside, a headline read: 'Hang them; They are after our kids!!'

"It was published shortly before the first anniversary of the introduction to Uganda's parliament of a controversial anti-homosexuality bill calling for the death penalty for those convicted of repeated same-sex relations. Inspired at least in part by a group of US evangelicals with close links to Uganda, the bill stalled after an international outcry, though it has not been scrapped."

Giles Muhame, the managing editor of the Rolling Stone, is set to appeal the ruling, Britain's Independent reported on Monday.

"Fox News Sunday" Takes Sides on Health Care Language

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, a former ABC News correspondent and the son of veteran Mike Wallace, has steadfastly maintained that he is "fair and balanced" and shouldn't be judged by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox News' opinion-mongers.

But there he was on Sunday, initiating a discussion with the news roundtable by saying, "Let's start with health care reform. Section 1233 of the Obamacare law would have mandated government payments for end-of-life counseling. . . . your thoughts, Mara, about the end-of-life counseling as a part of being paid for in meetings between doctors and patients, voluntary, as a regulation when they had to drop it out of the Obamacare law?" The reference was to Mara Liasson.

As noted in this space after the November election, Republicans were lining up on the Sunday talk shows to define as "Obamacare" the health-care legislation they say they would repeal. To the journalists' credit, they resisted the spin, except in quoting Republicans.

But this week on "Fox News Sunday," even Liasson, whose day job is reporting for NPR, joined in, even as she rejected the conservative rhetoric: "Yes. I think this was one of the great kind of myths about Obamacare, that this is the famous death panels, what conservatives called death panels."

It was a different story on CNN. Ed Henry was subbing for Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" when Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, used the term.

"Now I notice you just used the word 'Obamacare.' That's not exactly a nonpartisan look at what the health care reform is," Henry told Issa. "That's what partisans call it when they want to attack it. They call it 'Obamacare.' "

In the print world, Edward Schumacher-Matos, ombudsman of the Miami Herald, took his paper to task in October for including the word in a headline, though he called it an honest mistake.

"What the issue does point out is the power of headlines, the dangers we all face over being politically manipulated by word usage and the inexact science of deciding when a term has entered the popular lexicon and is acceptable," Schumacher-Matos wrote.

Chuck D. (Credit: publicenemy.com)

Chuck D. Says Rap Sites, Blogs Mimic New York Post

Chuck D., a founder of Public Enemy, often described as a seminal but conscious rap group, let loose with an open letter to Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur of AllHipHop.com and Davey D of DaveyD.com, published Monday, that took to task the hip-hop media and other targets.

He wrote from South Africa, where the group is touring:

"HIP-HOP NEWS spreads like any other mainstream NEWS in America. The garbage that's unfit to print has now floated on websites and blogs like sh*t. For example a rapper working in the community gets obscured while if that same rapper robbed a gas station he'd get top coverage and be label a 'rapper' while getting his upcoming or current music somewhat put on blast, regardless of its quality which of course is subjective like any other art. RAP sites and blogs are mimicking the New York POST.

"This is not mere complaint, this is truth and its coming down on Americans like rain without a raincoat with cats screaming how they ain't wet. This is real. The other night upon finishing groundbreaking concert performances in Johannesburg we followed a special free concert in Soweto. To make a point that our agenda was to 'show' and encourage the Hip-Hop community to be comfortable in its mind and skin without chasing valueless Amerikkkan values.

"Never have so many been pimped by so few."

The African-American Film Critics Association prepared this video summary of its annual awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Honoree Melvin Van Peebles is at right. (Video)

African American Film Critics Vote for "The Social Network"

The African-American Film Critics Association voted "The Social Network," based on the story of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, the best picture of 2010 and presented its annual honors on Dec. 13 at the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles. Also cited were filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; film legend Lena Horne, who died last year; and veteran film journalist Roger Ebert. Winners were:

  • Best Feature Film: "The Social Network," directed by David Fincher

  • Best Documentary: "Waiting for Superman," directed by Davis Guggenheim

  • Best Actress: Halle Berry, "Frankie and Alice"

  • Best Actor: Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"

  • Best Supporting Actress: Kimberly Elise, "For Colored Girls"

  • Best Supporting Actor: Michael Ealy, "For Colored Girls"

  • Best Director: Christopher Nolan, "Inception"

  • Best Foreign Film: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

  • Best Screenplay: "Night Catches Us" by Tanya Hamilton

  • Best Original Song: "Four Women" composed by Nina Simone [The fim features a "new twist of 'Four Women,' a cover of the Nina Simone original of the same title, which features Nina herself, her daughter Simone, Laura Izibor and Ledisi," in the words of the New York Amsterdam News. The original was released in 1966. "AAFCA's criteria is for this category considers any original song that appears in a movie," association president Gil Robertson said.]

  • Special Achievement: Lena Horne, Roger Ebert and Melvin Van Peebles

Top Ten Films of 2010:

  • 1. "The Social Network"

  • 2. "The King’s Speech"

  • 3. "Inception"

  • 4. "Black Swan"

  • 5. "Night Catches Us"

  • 6. "The Fighter"

  • 7. "Frankie and Alice"

  • 8. "Blood Done Sign My Name"

  • 9. "Get Low"

  • 10. "For Colored Girls"

Short Takes

  • The St. Louis Beacon, a nonprofit news organization covering the St. Louis region and publishing primarily online, has received $1.25 million from the St. Louis-based Danforth Foundation, the newspaper announced on Monday. The Beacon's staff of 21 includes analyst Linda Lockhart and former opinion writer Bob Joiner, both veterans of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and both black journalists, according to Nicole Hollway, its general manager who is herself African American. Dr. Kira Banks, a columnist of color, exclusively writes on race issues. "Additionally, last year we did a yearlong series on race in partnership with the Missouri History Museum (articles, videos, live events, in person discussions). This year we're partnering with them again to do the same on class," she told Journal-isms.

  • Comcast has "amplified" its public interest commitments in the still pending Comcast/NBCU deal, according to a filing at the FCC, according to John Eggerton, reporting last week for Broadcasting & Cable. ". . . Comcast's 'amplifications' include providing high-speed Internet service to low-income households for $9.95 per month, with no install or modem fees."

  • Fanchon Stinger "Earlier this year, we talked a lot about Detroit businessman Rayford Jackson, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery charges," the Detroit News "Celebrities" column reported on Friday. "He was in a romantic relationship with former Fox 2 news anchor Fanchon Stinger at the time the Synagro mess was happening. Rayf refused to cooperate with the authorities by telling all on his cohorts and is currently serving a five-year sentence in an upstate New York facility. Stinger landed a job as an anchor at Fox 59 WXIN in Indianapolis, and married Kevin Kaczmarek in September at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. Remember when she cried the blues to Diana Lewis on Channel 7, citing Rayford as controlling and abusive? Stinger does motivational seminars now. One of her topics: 'How to deal with relationship aggression, bullying and mean-spirited behavior.' Guess she'd know … "

  • "She may have been at home convalescing for two months, but tonight Sue Simmons is really home," Jerry Barmash wrote Monday for FishbowlNY. "The veteran anchor is back on WNBC with Chuck Scarborough at 11 p.m. She missed the last eight weeks due to back surgery. In a taped segment airing on a Christmas weekend newscast, Scarborough visited his longtime professional partner. Simmons, after some minor prodding, showed the scar on the back of her neck. Scarborough and Simmons, both 67, are, by far, the longest tenured on-air team in New York–together since 1980."

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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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announcement

Hello, Richard: Just want you to see if you can place this announcement on your site: Veteran journalists, Alvin Peabody and Kate S. Peabody, and Harrison "Black Baby" Jiedueh, all of Liberia, West Africa, have launched a new African online website site, thediasporationvoice. It is specializes in original reporting on politics, entertainment, health and sports, as well as insightful news analyses. It is based in Pensacola, Florida, and targets Africans on the continent and abroad, as well as friends of Africa. Alvin and Kate Peabody are former reporters for the Gainesville Times and the Pensacola News Journal, both Gannett-owned newspapers. Alvin also worked for Gannett News Service, the Washington Informer and Miami Times newspapers. Jiedueh is known for his work for the Daily Observer, one of the prominent news outlets in Liberia. "We hope to be a must-read for Africans and friends of Africa everywhere," said Alvin Peabody, who is editor-iin-chief of the new online site.

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