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Is the Pope Catholic?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

That's Easy. But Is the New Pontiff Latino?

Critical Venezuelan Coerced into Selling TV Network

Orlando Sentinel Honored for Post-Trayvon Race Series

Blacks, Latinos Found More Likely to Own Smartphones

Actress, Magazine Scored for "Redface" Getup

Police Say Detroit's Charlie LeDuff Involved in Brawl

Short Takes

"He is the first South American to ever lead the church and also the first non-E

That's Easy. But Is the New Pontiff Latino?

Is the pope Catholic? Of course. But is he Latino?

That was one of the more unexpected questions to arise from the selection Wednesday of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentine of Italian parentage, as the first pope from the Americas.

The Latino question, posed by Dennis Romero of LA Weekly, was circulated on Facebook by Mekahlo Medina, tech/social media anchor for KNBC-TV in Southern California and vice president/broadcast of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The answers were wide-ranging. "He's The Pope first. A Italian who resided in Argentina," said one.

"When it's time to discriminate against him, he's Latino. Let's not quibble," said another.

The Irish Examiner previewed a Thursday edition.

A third insisted, "He is not Latino. Latinos are U.S. Hispanics. He is Latin American or more precisely Argentinian. More Italian than Latin? Not a smart question. Argentines have a mix of many people and especially a huge mix of Italians given the wave of Italians that went there decades ago. So is he more Italian than Latin? He's Argentine."

Hugo Balta, NAHJ president, was not as insistent. He told Journal-isms, "I'm not the right person to ask the legitimacy of a person's ethnicity.

"I would concur that many Latin Americans can trace their roots to Europe, but that doesn't mean they're any less Peruvian, Colombian or Argentine," Balta said by email. He said he was excited by the choice and praised the Vatican's "sound political decision," given the number of Catholics in Latin America.

Tom Kent, a deputy managing editor and standards editor at the Associated Press, said the AP would avoid making a call on the Latino question for the time being.

"For now, I think the best thing to say is simply that he's the first pope from Latin America. We'll look to his own comments to see how he identifies himself further," Kent said by email.

The idea of the first pope from Latin America was enough for many.

The Los Angeles Times reported, "Across Southern California on Wednesday, many Catholics rejoiced that the background of the church’s new leader resembled theirs more closely than those of his European predecessors.  . . . About 70% of the Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is Latino, and it's not uncommon in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods to see signs proclaiming 'Este hogar es catolico' or 'This home is Catholic.' "

Media outlets serving Hispanics boasted that they were on top of the story.

"Univision broke in with LIVE programming at 2:06:21 p.m. ET (across all time zones) with news that white smoke arose from the Sistine Chapel," spokeswoman Monica Talan told Journal-isms by email. "Reporting LIVE from the Vatican, Network News Correspondents Maria Antonieta Collins and Pablo Monzalvo, and from Network Studios Univision News Anchor Maria Elena Salinas commented throughout the announcement that Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to become the next Pontiff.

"Since then, Collins, Monzalvo and Salinas have been on-air continuously discussing what the first South American pope means for the Hispanic community. Special coverage will air on tonight's evening and late evening edition of 'Noticiero Univision.'

Talan continued, "Additionally, we have been streaming LIVE online through the introduction of Pope Francis. Univision was the only top broadcast network to give viewers a voice via Social TV by featuring a real-time Twitter crawl with their comments throughout the entire broadcast — from what they expect from the new pope to what they hope he focuses on. The network will continue to provide updates via social media — in English and Spanish on @UniNoticias @UnivisionNews and @Univision — and complete coverage of the story throughout the day with news bulletins as well as on and

"Tomorrow, Univision will deliver coverage with Jorge Ramos direct from Rome and Maria Elena Salinas from Buenos Aires, Argentina."

Isabel Bucaram, public relations manager of CNN en Español, told Journal-isms on Wednesday evening, "We are on rolling coverage until 8 pm. Then at 9 pm Cala will have several guests who will analyze the relevance of having a Latin American Pope. At 10 PM-10:30 PM Conclusiones hosted by Gabriela Frias will be covering the topic. At 11pm, [the talk show] Aristegui and 11:30 pm Mario Gonzalez host of Perspectivas will be also covering this story.

"Tomorrow we will start at 6 AM live from Argentina and Rome with relevant coverage from Mexico and Brazil during the day. At 7 pm senior anchor Patricia Janiot will have live coverage and in-depth profile on who is Francisco I."

Among other accomplishments, Telemundo "captured reactions from LA, NYC, LA, Mexico City and particularly from Buenos Aires, Argentina, including comments from actual Pope’s parishioners," spokesman Camilo Pino said. More below.

The mainstream networks covered the papal selection more closely than they did the 2005 selection of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who assumed the name Pope Benedict XVI. "Two of the three U.S. evening news programs broadcast from Rome on Monday in anticipation of the conclave: ABC's 'World News' with Diane Sawyer and the 'CBS Evening News' with Scott Pelley," David Bauder reported for the Associated Press.

Even local stations sent reporters, such as Bruce Johnson of Washington's WUSA-TV. Johnson was among a tiny African American reporting contingent that included Lester Holt of NBC and NPR producer Jonathan Blakley.

Although Bergoglio was reported to have been a runner-up in 2005, few in the media predicted his selection, as Andrew Beaujon reported for the Poynter Institute.

That sent journalists on social media to the archives. They ferreted out such stories as one from 2005 in Spain's El Mundo, reporting that Bergoglio was considered a collaborator in the "dirty war" undertaken by Argentina's military dictatorship [Spanish] (1976-1983), in which thousands were killed.

Hugh O'Shaughnessy wrote in 2011 for Britain's Guardian newspaper, "Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions. . . ."

Reporters quickly researched the new pope's views. Andrew Kirell wrote an item Wednesday for Mediaite headlined, "Pope Francis I Is No Fan Of Homosexuality, Abortion, Contraception, And Same-Sex Adoption."

Other analysts found comfort in the cardinals' selection of a Jesuit. Sam Jones, also of the Guardian, wrote, "The archbishop of Buenos Aires is a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and has a practical approach to poverty. . . ."

When journalists-turned-clergy were asked last month what journalists should consider as the selection process began, the Rev. M. Dion Thompson, an Episcopalian, told Journal-isms by email, "my main comment about the goings on in the catholic church is whether or not they might make a bold move and elect a non-european pope." The cardinals did so. Thompson said Wednesday of Francis, "time will tell if he moves the catholic church on some its tough issues. still, an interesting choice."

A second such journalist-turned-clergy member, the Rev. Susan Smith, senior pastor at Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio, blogged that while she rejoiced at the papal selection, "in his office as pope, it seems highly unlikely that he will be able, or even allowed, to get out and mix with the very poor and forgotten Catholics of the world."

Some had seen an outside chance that an African could be named. Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson was a long shot.

The Guardian's David Smith, in Cape Town, South Africa, followed up on that sentiment, speaking with Raymond Perrier, director of the Jesuit Institute of South Africa. "While an African pope would have been interesting, the notion of an African pope ahead of a Latin American pope just wasn't plausible," Perrier told Smith. "The church has been in Latin America much longer and had the prior claim: it was 1492 versus the 1850s. Africa just didn't have the candidates. . . .

"But the fact he's a pope from the global south? That's big, that's significant."

No question, the new pope is from the global south, yes. But is he Latino? Medina said that question will remain. "We are actually putting together a panel at this year's [NAHJ] conference that will examine this very topic… What is Latino in America?" Medina told Journal-isms.

Critical Venezuelan Coerced into Selling TV Network

"The owner of the lone television network critical of the government in Venezuela said Monday he was coerced into selling the station by a hostile government," Jose de Cordoba and Ezequiel Minaya reported Monday for the Wall Street Journal. "The development raised concerns that media freedoms will be further eroded as the politically polarized country prepares for presidential elections next month.

"Guillermo Zuloaga, who owns Globovisión, a television news channel which has been a critic of late President Hugo Chávez's government, said the station became unviable after a campaign of harassment against it, including the imposition of millions of dollars in fines.

"Mr. Zuloaga said he had accepted an offer to purchase the station from Juan Domingo Cordero, an insurance broker. A price wasn't disclosed for the station, in which the government owns 20%. Mr. Cordero couldn't be reached for comment.

"Mr. Zuloaga said the station's license was unlikely to be renewed by the government when its license expires in two years.

"Globovisión is 'on the wrong side of an all-powerful government which wants to see us fail,' Mr. Zuloaga wrote. 'On the contrary, we are harassed by the institutions of the state, backed by a Supreme Court which is its accomplice and collaborates in everything that can hurt us. . . .' "

Meanwhile, the Vienna-based International Press Institute called on the Venezuelan interim government "to respect press freedom, refrain from any form of harassment of opposition media, and ensure the safety of journalists in the upcoming presidential election. The vote, to be held on April 14, will be a crucial test for the state of press freedom in post-Chávez Venezuela . . .," IPI said on Tuesday.

Orlando Sentinel winners:  From left, Martin Comas, Arelis Hernandez, Cassie Sim

Orlando Sentinel Honored for Post-Trayvon Race Series

"In the Shadow of Race," a series in the Orlando Sentinel produced last year after the slaying of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, won the Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for distinguished writing on diversity, the American Society of News Editors announced on Wednesday.

"Their multi-platform series not only tackles the history of race relations, but also delves into the complexity of ethnicity and race in order to shatter stereotypical myths. The reporters and editors accomplished this under tough conditions — a tragic shooting that went viral internationally," ASNE said, referring to staffers Martin Comas, Arelis Hernandez and Kate Santich.

The Denver Post won the distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting, and Post photographer Joe Amon won the community service photojournalism award. Amon "gained access to a story and subjects that are tough to find, let alone photograph," ASNE said. "Amon brought to light the persistent problem of drug addiction with new information about heroin and its impact on Denver."

Of the deadline news reporting honor, ASNE said, "The Denver Post produced a comprehensive yet tightly written narrative report on the tragic shootings at the multiplex in Aurora, Colo. The stories included detailed reporting and vivid writing that took readers inside the theater as the gunman methodically went after his victims. The writers sifted through a mountain of information to deliver fresh insights, telling the story in a complete and compelling manner." Answering questions from Journal-isms readers in July, Post Editor Gregory L. Moore said, "we will be covering this tragedy forever."

Phillip Morris (Credit: Eric Mull)

Phillip Morris of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland won for distinguished writing for commentary/column writing. His columns "take readers on a journey through the Cleveland area, revealing the region's authentic character — and its characters," ASNE said. "Morris effectively uses ordinary people, small examples and anecdotes to illustrate larger issues of community decay and government inaction."

Rukmini Callimachi of the Associated Press won the distinguished writing award for nondeadline writing. Callimachi "tells the story of hunger in Africa in a way you haven't read it before. This is brave, vital reporting of geopolitical news, presented with an intimate, human face," ASNE said.

Blacks, Latinos Found More Likely to Own Smartphones

"Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive," the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reported Wednesday. "One in four teens are 'cell-mostly' internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer."

Compared with non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, a greater percentage of black teens accesses the Internet mainly on cellphones, the study found, and larger percentages of black and Hispanic teens own a smartphone than the figure for white teens, Pew said.

However, more white teens use the Internet, own cellphones of any kind, own computers and own tablets.

The survey queried 802 young people ages 12-17 and their parents.

Actress, Magazine Scored for "Redface" Getup

". . . just as Blackface is never okay, Redface is never okay. Ever."

"Now I've really seen it all," Ruth Hopkins, Sisseton-Wahpeton/Mdewakanton/Hunkpapa and a columnist for Indian Country Today, wrote Tuesday for Jezebel.

"Michelle Williams is on the cover of AnOther Magazine, in apparent Redface. Michelle burst into the spotlight when she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Later, she was nominated for Oscars for her work in Blue Valentine (2010) and [My Week With] Marilyn (2011). She is now starring as Glinda The Good Witch in Oz The Great and Powerful (now in theaters).

"Dressed in a braided wig, dull beads, and turkey feathers while sporting a decidedly stoic expression, AnOther Magazine and company ups the ante by putting Michelle in a flannel shirt, jeans, and what appears to be some sort of academic or legal robe. I smell an attempt to portray reservation nobility. Are they endeavoring to capture the spirit of the American Indian Movement (AIM) circa 1973? Is this an ad for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) or the American Indian College Fund (AICF)? Nope. It's a 33 year old white actress hyping her latest Hollywood project by wearing a cheap costume designed to make her look like she's the member of another race. . . ."

In response, Rebecca Macatee and Holly Passalaqua of E! magazine reported Wednesday, the London-based magazine "noted that the image in question is one of eight featured in the magazine that present the actress as 'different imaginary characters,' going on to explain that 'all the characters in the story were inspired by multiple fashion and cultural references, characters and eras, as well as by our admiration of Ms. Williams as one of the most respected and talented actresses of her generation.'

"The statement concluded, 'While we dispute the suggestion that the image has a racist subtext in the strongest possible terms, we're mortified to think that anyone would interpret it that way.' "

Police Say Detroit's Charlie LeDuff Involved in Brawl

Charlie LeDuff"Charlie LeDuff, the WJBK-TV (Channel 2) reporter known for bizarre stunts such as eating cat food on air, showering next to Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle at a downtown gym while interviewing him and timing officers' response to a home break-in while taking a bath, has found himself the subject of a police report," Matt Helms reported Wednesday for the Detroit Free Press.

"Witnesses say LeDuff was intoxicated Sunday when he got into a brawl during Corktown's St. Patrick's Parade after urinating in public on a street near Brooklyn Street and Michigan Avenue, according to the Detroit police report. . . ."

LeDuff, who is one-eighth Native American (Ojibwa), formerly worked for the Detroit News and the New York Times, where he contributed to the prize-winning "How Race Is Lived in America" series in 2000. He recently published "Detroit: An American Autopsy."

"He is the first South American to ever lead the church and also the first non-EShort Takes

Telemundo Coverage of Selection of Pope Francis

Message from Telemundo spokesman Camilo Pino:

A few highlights from the Telemundo's coverage of the Pope's election today follow:

  • We went live from the moment the white smoke went out until 8 pm ET, including a one hour special at 7 pm ET right after "Noticiero Telemundo."

  • José Díaz-Balart, "Noticiero Telemundo" news anchor, headed the coverage direct from the Vatican together with reporters Rogelio Mora-Tagle and Vanessa Hauc. Besides presenting the news, they captured reactions from [St. Peter's Square] and interviewed subject matter experts.

  • We had Maria Celeste Arrarás at the network studios with special guests.

  • Local stations sent their own reporters (I am emailing you a release with specifics on local stations coverage).

  • We had a biographical profile of Pope Francis.

  • We captured reactions from LA, NYC, LA, Mexico City and particularly from Buenos Aires, Argentina, including comments from actual Pope's parishioners

  • We covered the official reaction from the Argentine president, Cristina Kirchner, a group of Jesuits (the Pope is a Jesuit) and a Pope relative (his cousin) in Argentina.

  • Editorially we focused on the impact of the first Latin American Pope on Hispanics in the US and Latin America.

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Is the Pope Latino?

Is the Pope Latino is a question that generates confusion to us because of the different uses of the term Latino in English and in Spanish.

In English, the term "Latino" refers to people of Latino or Hispanic descent in the United States. If the person wishes to identify him or herself as Latino once they are in the U.S., it refers to them being part of a larger ethnic group here that traces its roots to dozens of nationalities. So if you mean "is the Pope Latino" in this sense, no he is not Latino since he is not from the U.S. He is Latin American and more precisely, he is Argentine.

The confusion for some may lie in the fact that the term "latino" in Spanish, when not referring to U.S. Hispanics, can also mean Latin American or latinoamericano. In many places in Spanish, "latino" and "latinoamericano" can be synonyms. So a journalist in Latin America who says the Pope is latino is correct because he or she means he is Latin American or latinoamericano. They probably would just use the term latinoamericano. If a journalist in the U.S. reporting in Spanish calls him a latino meaning Latin American, he or she is correct. If the journalist in the U.S. calls him a Latino as in the group we consider Latinos living in the U.S., obviously he is not. He is an Argentine, the first Pope from Latin America.

The fact that his parents were Italian immigrants (as many Argentines are or were) is irrelevant for purposes of this question. He was born in Argentina and lived there all his life. He is Argentine no matter where his parents came from, similar to the children of immigrants in many countries throughout the hemisphere.

Many Latinos in the U.S. who came from another country will tell you they weren't Latino until they came to this country. That's because the term Latino here is it's own unique identity and the proper context needs to be provided to understand its meaning. The same term used in Latin America means something else. It's a term that means different things, so the answer to "Is the Pope Latino?" can be yes or no depending on the language and the context. Latino in English has one specific meaning, which does not apply to this Pope. Latino in Spanish has two different meanings, one of which does apply to this Pope.

Confusing? Not really when you think about it.



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