Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Publisher Told to Oust Occupy From His Lawn

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raymond H. Boone Scoffs at Citation From Richmond, Va.

Photo Editor Akili Ramsess Laid Off at Orlando Sentinel

A Parallel With the Pilgrims

How Many Are Pointing Out Mitt Romney's Deceit?

South African Bill Severely Constricts Press Freedom

At Least 17 Journalists Assaulted in Egyptian Protests

Conference Spurs Idea of Journalists as Tech Entrepreneurs

Black Women Getting Their Due as Market Force

Short Takes

Top half of Nov. 17-19 front page refers to Occupy protesters as "special guests."

Raymond H. Boone Scoffs at Citation From Richmond, Va.

"A newspaper publisher who is allowing Occupy Richmond protesters to camp in his yard next door to the mayor's house was slapped Tuesday with a zoning-violation notice," Reed Williams reported Tuesday for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.

But Raymond H. Boone, editor and publisher of the Richmond Free Press, an African American weekly, told Journal-isms, speaking of the notice, "It's vague, it's contradictory, it's counterproductive" and that he "will not put the brakes on."

In fact, Boone said, he plans to have Thanksgiving dinner on his lawn with the protesters, whom he calls his "special guests."

Williams' story continued, "The notice to Raymond H. Boone and his wife, Jean, says the property is being used for purposes that are not expressly permitted in the single-family residential zoning district.

"The notice Raymond H. Boonerequests immediate correction of the violation. 'Cease the unlawful use and occupancy of the property,' the notice states. 'In addition, remove the temporary sanitary facilities from the property.'

"City officials did not immediately respond to questions seeking an explanation of specifically how the property is in violation. The notice gives Boone 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The appeal must indicate grounds for the appeal and include a filing fee of $250."

The 30-day window prompted Boone to scoff at the notice. "It's not specific in terms of what the violations are. It gives a sense of urgency, but I have 30 days before it goes into effect." He said he did not expect that the Occupy protesters planned to stay that long, but "this gives me the incentive to keep the 30 days and go beyond."

He added that 35 to 40 protesters were on his lawn Wednesday and that some left for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Boone has compared the Occupy demonstrations to the civil rights movement, saying they put a needed spotlight on economic justice. "We need to wake up and know that we are not powerless," he said. "Money is not the only resource in politics." The others are numbers, that is votes, and "cerebral power."

Tammy D. Hawley, press secretary for Mayor Dwight C. Jones, said the action was taken by city zoning officials and was prompted by complaints from neighbors in the Brookbury subdivision in South Richmond, the Times-Dispatch said.

" 'The mayor did not initiate this action, so the mayor did not take a "low road," ' Hawley said in an email Tuesday night."

While interviewing at the Orlando Sentinel in 2007, Akili Ramsess, bottom right, spent 10 hours with Sentinel photographer Gary Green shooting the Orlando Magic playoffs, just for fun. (Credit: Orlando Sentinel) 

Photo Editor Akili Ramsess Laid Off at Orlando Sentinel

Akili RamsessA layoff of 16 newsroom employees last week at the Orlando Sentinel included Akili Ramsess, executive photo editor and the last middle manager of color at the newspaper, Ramsess confirmed on Tuesday.

Also affected were Latina reporters Christine Show and Jeannette Rivera-Lyles, according to newsroom sources.

"It was a blessing in disguise as it's given me the opportunity to relocate back to my home in Atlanta and enjoy a much needed respite with my family," Ramsess said by email.

Ramsess, then deputy director of photography at the San Jose Mercury News, was brought to the Sentinel in 2007 amid high praise,

"Akili (pronounced [a-KEE-lee]) brings a wealth of experience as a photojournalism visionary and multimedia pioneer. During her eight years in San Jose, she directed work that won the highest honors from NPPA, POYi and SND. In 2004, she was an editor on the paper's Pulitzer finalist for feature photography, the California recall election," Bonita Burton, associate managing editor/visuals at the Sentinel, told the staff at the time. The references are to the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the Society of News Design.

". . . Prior to San Jose, Akili was a photo editor with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for four years, which included the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. Before Atlanta, she was interim director of photography at the Valley edition of the Los Angeles Times, where she led the photo staff in the Times' Pulitzer-winning coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. She also shares in a Pulitzer for feature photography for the AP's 1992 presidential campaign."

Mark Russell, a black journalist who is the Sentinel's editor, referred questions to the company's spokeswoman, Lisa Jacobsen, with a caution that the newspaper does not comment on personnel matters. "The Sentinel remains committed to diversity in its staff and in our coverage," he said. "Our diversity enriches our coverage and makes the Sentinel a stronger news organization." Jacobsen did not respond to an email request.

Ramsess told Journal-isms, "As to my new direction, in the last few years I have been very involved in digital multimedia producing and will be looking for other opportunities in that area. In the meantime, I will be working on developing my own multimedia photography, video editing and production company, Eye of RAmsess. I will also continue my participation with NABJ's Visual Task Force and photography team leader for its Student Project," a reference to the National Association of Black Journalists.

A Parallel With the Pilgrims

The New Yorker's current cover." 'Too often in politics, very complex subjects are being turned into sound bites, so it’s easy to take them apart,' says Christoph Niemann, this week’s cover artist," Mina Kaneko and Françoise Mouly wrote Monday for the New Yorker.

"In 'Promised Land,' he says, 'I draw a parallel between current immigrants and early settlers — the hope is that it will provide context, to help keep things in perspective. Cartoonists, not politicians, should be the ones who condense political discussions into simple images.









Mitt Romney, left, and Jon Huntsman at Tuesday's GOP presidential debate in Washington. (Credit: CNN)

How Many Are Pointing Out Mitt Romney's Deceit?

"Huffington Post reporter Jon Ward did what reporters should do when covering political campaign ads," Peter Hart wrote Tuesday for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. "He told readers, at the top of his story, that the new Mitt Romney ad was based on a lie:

" 'The 60-second Romney ad quoted [President] Obama as saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." '

"It sounds like Obama is talking about his own chances in 2012. But it's actually a clip of Obama mocking his 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), for not wanting to talk about the economy in the final stretch of that election. McCain's response to the collapse of the financial sector in the fall of 2008 is widely cited as a contributing factor to his loss.

"That's a pretty astounding bit of deception. It's good that Ward is doing this, because when I read about the Romney ad in this morning's New York Times, I saw a headline that read, 'Romney Heats Up Campaign in New Hampshire With an Ad Attacking Obama.' . . . "

The Associated Press reported Wednesday, "Romney told reporters in Des Moines his campaign distributed the ad with a press release noting the words were originally from Obama's opponent.

" 'There was no hidden effort on the part of our campaign. It was instead to point out that what's sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander,' Romney said, after addressing more than 300 employees of a downtown insurance company. 'This ad points out, now, guess what, it's your turn. The same lines used on John McCain are now going to be used on you, which is that this economy is going to be your albatross.' "

South African Bill Severely Constricts Press Freedom

"South Africa's parliament has approved a contentious bill to protect state secrets that will severely constrict press freedom," Roy Greenslade wrote Wednesday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"It will hamper the ability of journalists to report on any information that the Johannesburg government deems to be secret.

"The legislation, which requires further steps before it becomes law, would make it a crime — punishable by lengthy prison terms — to disseminate anything that any state agency regards as classified.

"Critics argue that the Protection of State Information Bill is a throwback to the apartheid regime's harsh anti-press freedom regime.

"It has been widely opposed, with many street protests . . .

"The Mail & Guardian, an influential weekly, has illustrated the dangers to freedom of expression by publishing a story with much of the text blacked out.

"Opponents of the measure, who include white conservatives, black nationalists, church leaders, business chiefs and two Nobel laureates — Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nadine Gordimer — believe it will stifle exposure of government corruption.

"A third Nobel prize winner, Nelson Mandela, is thought to be less than delighted with the ANC government's decision too."

At Least 17 Journalists Assaulted in Egyptian Protests

"Clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have led to at least 17 assaults on the press over the past couple of days, including a shooting, detentions, and a beating by unidentified security personnel while in custody," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.

[On Thursday, Jon Jensen of Global Post reported, "A prominent Egyptian-American news commentator and activist described her detention by police following the clashes near Tahrir Square this week, saying she was beaten and sexually assaulted by security forces.

["Mona Eltahawy, a New York-based columnist and public speaker, alerted her followers on Twitter Thursday that she had been arrested by Egyptian police."

[She tweeted Thursday morning, "My left arm and right hand are broken acc to xrays."]

". . . Since Saturday, Cairo's Tahrir Square has been occupied by protesters demanding an end to military rule. They were met by security forces firing live and rubber ammunition, deploying tear gas bombs, and assaulting scores of people, according to news reports. As of Monday, at least 33 people had been killed and thousands injured as a result of the clashes, several news outlets reported."

Reporters Without Borders, another press-freedom group, is compiling a partial list of attacks and abuses against journalists.

Conference Spurs Idea of Journalists as Tech Entrepreneurs

Soledad O'Brien caused a stir this month when she reported the fourth installment in CNN's “Black in America" series, "The New Promised Land — Silicon Valley,” which explored the proposition that while African Americans are big tech consumers, few have been able to develop viable technology businesses.

As if on cue, Ki Mae Heussner of AdWeek wrote this week that "an increasing number of journalists have stopped fantasizing and are becoming a part of the stories they used to cover," that is, becoming part of startups.

But of the five examples cited, none is African American or Hispanic. One, Rafat Ali, who launched paidContent in 2002, is of Asian background.

Mike Green, a Medford, Ore.-based black journalist who has been urging Mike Greenothers to become tech entrepreneurs, says there is more to the story.

"There’s nothing like success to attract more success," Green wrote Tuesday on, discussing the America21 Project he co-founded.

"The America21 Project produced three successful events in rapid succession preceding its unprecedented gathering of angels and entrepreneurs at Rutgers University in mid-November.

"Silicon Valley in California and Long Island, New York served as coast-to-coast bookends on Nov. 3 and 9 respectively — surrounding the meeting of 70 local leaders in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 4, who came together at the University of Portland to discuss the establishment of a local Urban Innovation Roundtable. The UIR is slated to convene in 2012 for the purpose of implementing strategies focused on developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and job growth in disconnected sectors of Portland."

Some of those who participated at Rutgers "were immediately requested by investors to engage in private discussions regarding funding. Additionally, some were also picked up to participate in Early Stage East," a Dec. 14 event in Baltimore at which entrepreneurs can pitch ideas to venture capitalists, Green told Journal-isms by email.

He added, "Although CNN is focused on the lack of Blacks in the angel and venture capital space (and a new report just came out produced by the NVCA [National Venture Capital Association]), the issue isn't merely . . . a lack of Black representation in the risk capital space. The deeper issue is the space is foreign to Black journalists and therefore not covered to any appreciable degree, which keeps Black folks in a state of perpetual ignorance regarding the space that is responsible for virtually all job growth and wealth creation in the nation.

"I advocate for a gathering of journalists. We've had our gathering of angels. That proved successful. I'm hopeful we can repeat that success with journalists."

Black Women Getting Their Due as Market Force

"So much media attention rightly has been focused on the growth and influence of the Hispanic marketplace, given the results of the 2010 U.S. Census. But that’s no reason for cable programmers, marketers and advertisers to sleep on the still-emerging African-American community," R. Thomas Umstead wrote Tuesday for Multichannel News.

"While its population growth hasn’t been as explosive as that of the Hispanic community, cable programmers and advertisers shouldn’t ignore some 43 million African-Americans who, as a group, watch more than 40% more television than anyone else in America and are projected to have a collective buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s new website highlighting research on African-American viewers,

". . . At the forefront of the community is arguably its lifeblood, African-American women. As this week’s cover story outlines, the demographic is just now getting the 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' that Aretha Franklin sang about from cable networks and advertisers who are recognizing the collective value of the demo and its overall influence in the black community.

"Ratings for some of the top reality and scripted shows on BET, TV One, VH1 and Bravo are driven by African-American women, who watch twice as much TV in a given week than their Hispanic female counterparts and 25% more than white female viewers."

Short Takes

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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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