Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Boston Globe's Wesley Morris Wins Pulitzer for Criticism

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

AP, Philadelphia Inquirer, Manning Marable Honored

Latino Magazines, Ebony Buck Slump in Magazine Ads

Obama: Americans Have Links to Colombia, Africa, Asia

CBS Says Atlanta Correspondent Broke Trayvon Story

Orlando Sentinel to Compete for National Eyeballs

Anchor Is "Unofficial Asian-American Ambassador"

Nominate a J-Educator Who Has Helped Diversity

Short Takes

Boston Globe critics Ty Burr, left, and Wesley Morris review "For Colored Girls." Morris said, "It’s too much — too much screaming, too much crying, too much preaching, too much reaching, too much healing, too much feeling, and, by the time a man dangles two small black children from an apartment window, it’s too much too-much." (Video)  

AP, Philadelphia Inquirer, Manning Marable Honored

Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, one of the few film critics of color at a daily newspaper, won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism on Monday.

Morris won "for his smart, inventive film criticism, distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office," the Pulitzer board said.

The gold medal for public service went to the Philadelphia Inquirer "for its exploration of pervasive violence in the city’s schools, using powerful print narratives and videos to illuminate crimes committed by children against children and to stir reforms to improve safety for teachers and students." 

Co-winners in the investigative category were journalists for the Associated Press "for their spotlighting of the New York Police Department’s clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities, resulting in congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering."

In the non-journalism categories, the late Manning Marable won in the history competition for his controversial biography of Malcolm X, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention."

Marable, a noted African American historian at Columbia University, died in March 2011, three days before his long-awaited biography was published. He was 60.

The book, the product of 10 years, touched on a subject the news media have been loathe to investigate: the true identity of Malcolm X's killer. But that was overshadowed by brief sections dealing with alleged infidelity on the part of at least one parent and Malcolm's encounter with an older white man during Malcolm's earlier days as a street hustler.

The family objected to those passages, and Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, walked off NPR's "Tell Me More" when asked about them. Other Malcolm followers agreed that those sections were poorly supported.

More than 30 African American scholars have collaborated on a book responding to Marable's.

However, the Pulitzer board called the book "a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and tragic."

Another African American among the non-journalism winners was Tracy K. Smith of Brooklyn, N.Y., who won in the poetry category. She was honored on her 40th birthday, Erica Pearson reported for the Daily News in New York.

Before joining the Globe, Morris "wrote film reviews and essays for the San Francisco Examiner, and later at the San Francisco Chronicle. He also wrote for and edited the Culture section for Student.Com, a website for college students.

"He graduated from Yale University in 1997 and grew up in Philadelphia," according to his Globe bio.

"Morris, 36, who joined the Globe staff in 2002, won the prize for a range of movie reviews and essays published in 2011," Joseph P. Kahn wrote for the Globe.

"Among the pieces submitted with his nomination were reviews of 'The Help,' 'Drive,' 'Water for Elephants,' and 'Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.' His essays included two written upon the deaths of Oscar-winning director Sidney Lumet and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

" 'Wesley's writing can be playful, and it can be explosive,' " said Globe editor Martin Baron. 'Always, there’s a boiling energy, informed by seemingly boundless knowledge. In one review after the next he helps us see the world in ways that might not come naturally. All of us at the Globe are immensely proud that Wesley has received our profession’s highest honor.' "  

". . . 'It's a huge honor,' Morris said Monday afternoon. Awards, he added, 'are not something you think about when you're doing your job.' "

Also nominated as finalists in the criticism category were Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post for his ambitious and insightful cultural criticism, taking on topical events from the uprisings in Egypt to the dedication of the Ground Zero memorial, causing readers to reflect on the world around them; and Tobi Tobias for work appearing on," the Pulitzer board said.

The Inquirer said its seven-part series, "Assault on Learning," "revealed that violence in city schools was widespread and underreported, with 30,000 serious incidents over the last five school years. Those findings were later corroborated by a Philadelphia School District blue-ribbon panel on safety, spurred an overhaul of incident reporting in the district, and prompted the hiring of a state-funded safe-schools advocate.

". . . The idea for the series, which ran March 27-April 2, 2011, emerged after racial violence erupted among students at South Philadelphia High School in December 2009.

". . . Reporters John Sullivan, Susan Snyder, Kristen A. Graham, Dylan Purcell, and Jeff Gammage spent a year examining violence in Philadelphia public schools, conducting more than 300 interviews with teachers, administrators, students and their families, district officials, police officers, court officials, and school-violence experts," Mike Armstrong wrote for the Inquirer. 

The Inquirer's only African American photographer, Ron Tarver, was also on the team.  

The Associated Press wrote of its winning series, "The NYPD stories revealed that the department had become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, sending undercover officers into minority neighborhoods, student groups and houses of worship, though there was no indication they harbored criminals or terrorists.

"In documenting the extent of the NYPD's undercover operations, conducted with the advice and guidance of the CIA, the AP team’s stories ignited ongoing debate in the halls of government, in the ethnic communities, on editorial pages and across the Web.

" 'We’re especially gratified by this award, which recognizes the deep digging of our reporters on a story of vital interest,' said AP President and CEO Tom Curley. 'The AP series has set off a healthy, important and timely debate on what tactics government can or should use to prevent another terrorist attack on the United States.' "

For international reporting, Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times won for his "vivid reports, often at personal peril, on famine and conflict in East Africa, a neglected but increasingly strategic part of the world," the Pulitzer jury said.

The journalism winners: Public Service — The Philadelphia Inquirer 

Breaking News Reporting — The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News staff 

Investigative Reporting — Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of the Associated Press and Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times  

Explanatory Reporting — David Kocieniewski of the New York Times

Local Reporting — Sara Ganim and members of the Patriot-News staff, Harrisburg, Pa.

National Reporting — David Wood of the Huffington Post 

International Reporting — Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times

Feature Writing — Eli Sanders of the Stranger, a Seattle weekly

Commentary — Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune

Criticism — Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe 

Editorial Writing — no award

Editorial Cartooning — Matt Wuerker of Politico

Breaking News Photography — Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse 

Feature Photography — Craig F. Walker of the Denver Post

Latino Magazines, Ebony Buck Slump in Magazine Ads

Magazines targeting Latinos — Ser Padres, Siempre Mujer, Latina, People en Español — and the venerable Ebony magazine defied an advertising slump that gripped the magazine business for the first three months of 2012, according to figures released on Monday.

"According to the latest report from industry authority Publishers’ Information Bureau, ad pages for the consumer magazine sector were down 8.2 percent in first quarter 2012 when compared to the same period in 2011—36,868.25 pages to 33,827.7 pages," Folio: reported.

"Clearly the Hispanic category is continuing its momentum from 2011, where it saw 17% gains," Lauren Michaels, co-president and publisher at Latina Media Ventures, told Journal-isms Monday by email.

"The trend continues into the 1st quarter of 2012, where the Hispanic print category is up 19%. One of the factors creating these gains is that this is the first full planning cycle after the April 2011 Census results. The whole category is feeling the positive impact of those numbers."

Speaking of Latina magazine, she continued, "Latina has seen a very positive 26% increase in the 1st quarter. Some of Latina's most important gains year to date are in the categories of beauty, retail and food. Overall, we have seen both a deepening commitment from marketers already in the space, as well as new advertisers either coming in for the first time, or back in the Hispanic market with renewed and refreshed commitments."

Latina's income from advertising dollars rose 26.2 percent over the same period last year, and advertising pages increased 25.8 percent.

Ser Padres and Siempre Mujer, Spanish-language publications produced by Meredith Corp., which publishes Better Homes and Gardens and other mainstream magazines, rose 55.6 percent and 45.1 percent, respectively, in ad dollars. Ad pages were up 24.6 percent and 26.2 percent, respectively.

Enedina Vega, vice president and publisher of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, attributed the increase to "the growing awareness among advertisers about the importance of the Hispanic market," as she has previously.

Ebony rose 28.2 percent in ad dollars and 19.2 percent in ad pages. Its sister publication, Jet, rose 9.2 percent in ad dollars and 7.4 percent in ad pages.  Stephen Barr, Johnson Publishing Co. senior vice president/group publishing, disclosed on Tuesday that Jet had moved from weekly to every two weeks as 2012 began and said by email this about the advertising increase:

"EBONY's 1st quarter sales increases are a result to an increase in new business from the European Luxury Automotive, Beverages/Spirits, Beauty, Entertainment, Tourism and Packaged Goods categories.  Clients include: BMW, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, STARZ Channel, L'Oreal Prestige, Smirnoff Flavored Vodka, USVI, smartwater, EOS and Wrigley.

"JET became a bi-weekly in 2012. As compared to last year, we've seen an increase in SOM [share of market] for the 1st quarter with fewer issues.  Jet will continue to evolve in 2012 with a forthcoming new aesthetic design, edit features and unique content."

Essence, Black Enterprise and O: The Oprah Magazine did not fare as well. Essence declined 15.6 percent in ad dollars and 14.9 percent in ad pages; Black Enterprise fell 6.9 percent in ad dollars and 7.8 percent in ad pages; and O, The Oprah Magazine declined 22 percent in advertising dollars and 24.1 percent in ad pages. [Updated April 17]

Sebastian Salgado  left, leader of the San Basilio de Palenque community of desc

Obama: Americans Have Links to Colombia, Africa, Asia

President Obama is often accused of skirting questions of race, yet he was asked about the issue again in an interview Sunday with Enrique Acevedo, new co-anchor of Univision’s late evening newscast "Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna." This time, he linked the question to his trip to Colombia for a hemispheric summit, the occasion for the interview.

Acevedo asked, ". . . Why is it that half a century after the civil rights movement and after the American people elected their first African American president do I have to stand today here in front of you and ask you about racial tensions in the U.S.? And of course, I'm referring to the Trayvon Martin case."

Obama replied:

"Well, I think we all understand that issues of race are deeply embedded in the history of this country. Sometimes that history has been tragic, slavery, Jim Crow, but also more recent examples of anti-immigrant sentiment, and you know, I think what I always tell people is that, you know, my election alone is not going to completely transform attitudes because this has to do with hearts and not just minds. It has to do with attitudes, not just laws.

"On the other hand, I think we have to take heart from the fact that things have changed profoundly since I was born, and you know, when you see the next generation, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and their friends, their attitudes are more enlightened than the attitudes of my generation. So with each successive generation there are going to be misunderstandings; there are going to be tensions; there's going to be tragedy sometimes, and what's important for us to do is to look at it honestly, look at it squarely, but then move forward.

"And that's part of the reason why issues like immigration reform are so important. We're a nation of laws, but we're also a nation of immigrants. We draw strength from our diversity. The fact that I can talk to you as president of the United States; you're a major television anchor, both of us having backgrounds that 20, 30 years ago wouldn't have existed in these positions. Well, that tells a story of American progress and American strength because what it means is we have connections to Colombia and Latin America and Africa and Asia, and that's part of our influence around the world, is that we're not just one type of people. We're one people, but we come from many places, and we need to build on that strength in order to win the future."

After the summit, Obama joined his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, in Cartagena, Colombia, to hand over land titles to descendants of the country's runaway African slaves.

Representatives of some 1,000 Afro-Colombian families were to receive ownership titles to more than 8,200 acres of ancestral land they occupy, Agence France-Presse reported.

Mark Strassmann's first story on the Trayvon Martin killing aired on CBS-TV March 8. (Video)

CBS Says Atlanta Correspondent Broke Trayvon Story

CBS News is crediting Mark Strassmann, its correspondent in Atlanta, with breaking the story of the Trayvon Martin killing, a distinction others have similarly claimed.

Strassmann's story appeared on CBS "This Morning" on March 8, the same day that Trymaine Lee wrote about Martin for HuffPost BlackVoices, and the less-visible Clutch magazine and Black Youth Project ran pieces that gained less attention. (The Black Youth Project linked to a March 7 Reuters report on the Yahoo site; Clutch linked to a Feb. 27 report from WOFL-TV, the Orlando area Fox station.)

On CBS-TV's "Face the Nation" Sunday, host Bob Schieffer said:

"From time to time with our new expanded format, we're going to bring in the reporters who break big stories. And we begin that today, I'm proud to say, with a CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann of our Atlanta bureau. He ran across the story in Florida in early March. It had actually happened in February that he thought deserved more than just local attention than it was getting. And he brought it to the attention of 'CBS This Morning.' "

Asked what caused him to notice the story, Strassmann said, "It just sat there as a sort of a local Orlando story. It was the shooting of a teenager on a rainy Sunday night. And we get a phone call about 10 days after it happened from a guy who was aligned with the family, who was a contact of ours, he is the producer Chris St. Peters in our Atlanta bureau and I. He said please take a look at this. And he described it to us. And so we — we set up a conference call with Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, and attorney Ben Crump. They walked us through the facts of the case, asked for the police report, contacted the Sanford Police Department. And essentially this was just a story that was crying out for a second look. And we came along and gave it one."

Orlando Sentinel to Compete for National Eyeballs

"The Orlando Sentinel’s Twitter account for the Trayvon Martin case is up and running," Brian Stelter reported Sunday for the New York Times. "So, too, is its topics page, with links to all the newspaper's articles about Mr. Martin and the man who shot and killed him, George Zimmerman, as well as video clips of its reporters talking about the case on television. A Facebook page will go online on Monday. And a Web video series might be next.

"For The Sentinel, the story is local; the shooting of Mr. Martin happened in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. But the newspaper senses an opportunity to reach a national and even international audience with online coverage. It is competing with all manner of national media, which have seized on the story with a ferocity that has already drawn comparisons to the Casey Anthony trial and, years before it, that of O.J. Simpson."

In another development Monday, news media attorneys asked that the case file be unsealed, Rene Stutzman reported for the Orlando Sentinel.  

Mark O'Mara, lawyer for shooter George Zimmerman, "and attorneys for the state last week agreed that they wanted paperwork in the file kept secret. That also includes all the evidence that the state will, in the next few days and weeks, provide Zimmerman's attorney.

"Two sets of media attorneys on Monday filed motions, saying Zimmerman had not shown a need to seal the case.

"One was filed by Tribune Co., the owner of the Orlando Sentinel, and WFTV-Channel 9.

". . . The other was filed on behalf of The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Tampa Bay Times, The Florida Times-Union, CNN, NBC and several others. several broadcasters and other publishing companies as well as The First Amendment Foundation, a non-profit group in Tallahassee." 

Anchor Is "Unofficial Asian-American Ambassador"

"It's hard to keep up with Shannon Hori," Johnny Diaz reported Saturday for the South Florida SunSentinel.

"Whether she's traveling to Japan to see recovery efforts from last year's tsunami disaster, or attending an April lunch presented by the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami, the WFOR-Ch. 4 lead news anchor has become an unofficial Asian-American ambassador in South Florida.

"On camera, she is the Fort Lauderdale-Miami TV market's first and only Asian-American primary TV news anchor, and one of the few nationwide in top TV markets. Off-camera, the third-generation Japanese-American shares stories about her bicultural upbringing at local and national events.

". . . Hori's ascension to the main anchor chair reflects South Florida's changing demographics and the expanding presence of Asian-Americans in broadcast. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are among the largest Asian hubs in Florida. The number of Asians in Broward County grew by 6 percent to 56,795 people in 2010 from 2000, according to the U.S. Census. The number of Asians in Palm Beach also increased, and they represent 2.4 percent of the county, or about 31,100 people according to the census."

Nominate a J-Educator Who Has Helped Diversity

The Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually grants a Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship — actually an award — "in recognition of an educator's outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism." The educator should be at the college level.

Nominations, which are now being accepted for the 2012 award, should consist of a statement about why you believe your nominee is deserving.

The final selection will be made by the NCEW Foundation board and announced in time for the Sept. 20-22 convention in Orlando, when the presentation will be made.

Since 2000, an honorarium of $1,000 has been awarded the recipient, to be used to "further work in progress or begin a new project."

Past winners include James Hawkins, Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa, Howard University (1992); Ben Holman, University of Maryland (1996); Linda Jones, Roosevelt University, Chicago (1998); Ramon Chavez, University of Colorado, Boulder (1999); Erna Smith of San Francisco State (2000); Joseph Selden, Penn State (2001); Cheryl Smith, Paul Quinn College (2002); Rose Richard, Marquette University (2003); Leara D. Rhodes, University of Georgia (2004); Denny McAuliffe, University of Montana (2005); Pearl Stewart, Black College Wire (2006); Valerie White, Florida A&M University (2007); Phillip Dixon, Howard University (2008); Bruce DePyssler, North Carolina Central University (2009); Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University (2010); and Yvonne Latty, New York University, 2011.

Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, AOJ Diversity Committee chair, richardprince (at) The deadline is May 18.

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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Diversity in Business Journalism


Will Sutton’s plan is a great one for getting more people of color into business journalism – and it could work at any HBCU.

 Business journalism has been very good to me these 30 years – and I hope a new generation of journalists will have many such experiences.

From tearing up the Section Front of “Business Day” at The New York Times to lead with a third-edition story on a plunge in the Nikkei average on the Tokyo Stock Market, to creating Monday Business sections at the Philadelphia Daily News and at to discussing how local Black businesses weren’t benefitting from the NAACP’s national convention in Milwaukee – I can’t be more thankful for my enriching forays into in business journalism.

Here’s to another generation of journalists having such gratifying experiences – and here’s hoping the industry steps up to train, develop and employ these future storytellers. It can’t afford not to.


Pulitzer Award for Criticism.

They give awards for criticism? I been criticising people for years. lol. That makes two blacks who won the big P for criticising "For Colored Girls" and a colored man (Malcolm X) respectively.

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