Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Racial Gap Persists for Journalism Grads

Send by email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Job Market Found to Be Tougher for Those of Color

The job market recovery that began two years ago for graduates of U.S. journalism and mass communication programs seems to have stalled, according to the University of Georgia's James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

And once again, "Students who are members of minority groups also had a harder time finding a job," according to Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center.

"Data from the Cox Center's Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates found that journalism and mass communication graduates in 2006 were no more likely to have a job offer when they finished their studies than graduates a year earlier—and no more likely to have landed a full-time job by the end of October approximately five months after leaving the university," Becker said in a news release.

The percentage for minorities who landed communications jobs remained at 66.6 percent in 2006, as it was in 2005. For non-minorities, it was 75.8 percent in 2006, compared with 76.9 percent in 2005.

Becker, a professor of journalism in UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, told Journal-isms:

"Minority graduates have had a more difficult time finding a job every year but one since 1992. Since 2001, the single year during that time when minority graduates did not have a more difficult time finding a full-time job than nonminority graduates, the gap has persisted. Both groups had experienced improvements in the job market a year ago, and this year, both groups witnessed the flattening of that improvement.

"The persistence of this gap is one of the very troubling characteristics of the journalism and mass communication labor market."

In 2002, Becker and three colleagues wrote an article for the Freedom Forum that said, "The problem is that many minority graduates do not get job offers, and many of those who do get offers decide not to take them. For whatever reasons — and there probably are many — the job market is not functioning efficiently enough to produce the kind of diversity industry leaders say they want and many — including us — feel is crucial if the media in this country are to serve their communities and the larger society."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

J-School Chiefs Overwhelmingly White, Male

"The people who run the nation's journalism and mass communication schools are overwhelmingly white, and two-thirds of them are male — even though about two-thirds of JMC students today are female," the University of Maryland said on Tuesday.

"Those findings come from a new survey of JMC administrators by Thomas Kunkel, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Kunkel is the new president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, and his study was released by ASJMC at its annual meeting over the weekend in Washington."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Whites in the Minority in One in 10 U.S. Counties

"Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties. And that increased diversity, fueled by immigration and higher birth rates among blacks and Hispanics, is straining race relations and sparking a backlash against immigrants in many communities," Stephen Ohlemacher reported for Marketing y Medios on Thursday.

"'There's some culture shock,' said Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based research agency. 'But I think there is a momentum building, and it is going to continue.'

"As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation's 3,141 counties, according to figures the Census Bureau released today. Non-Hispanic whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.



Writer Says Rutgers Player "Has a Very Good Case"

Rutgers University basketball player Kia Vaughn, who is suing ousted radio host Don Imus for defamation of character, "has a very good case," at least according to Jeff Lippman, who covers women's basketball for, a CBS company.

"For those wondering why Vaughn waited more than four months to claim defamation of character against the radio host, Vaughn's attorney, Richard B. Ancowitz, said, '[The lawsuit] has taken a little while to prepare. In fact, four months is really pretty quick. It is well within the statute of limitations,'" Lippman wrote.

"The truth is, Vaughn has a very good case.

"Vaughn is a public figure. In a defamation of character suit, in this case slander on Imus' radio show, the plaintiff must prove the hurtful remarks were made with 'actual malice.'

"Actual malice, in a legal sense, means that Vaughn must prove that Imus' remarks were known by Imus at the time he said them to be false, or that they were made with reckless disregard as to truth.

"Don Imus knew the statements he made were false — or more specifically, knew there was little to no truth behind them — and he disregarded that notion when he decided to make the comments anyway.

"In that sense, it seems that actual malice can be proven against Imus. Because as Vaughn and her teammates were called 'nappy headed hos,' and with the word 'ho' being a slang term for prostitute, Vaughn has a case, saying at a news conference after the comments were made, 'Unless they've given "ho" a whole new definition, that's not what I am.'

"However, the defense can challenge the prosecution's claims of actual malice by pointing out that it was clear that Imus was only joking, using the false information for comedic satire. And most who are familiar with his show realize that much of what Imus says trades a certain element of truth for comedic purposes. . .

"But shouldn't anything said on 'Imus in the Morning' be taken as comedic satire? That is for a jury to decide."

Meanwhile, media writers speculated on where Imus would land next and how much he received in his settlement with CBS, which broadcast his show on WFAN Radio in New York before his April ouster.

"Some sources put him in the air chair at Sirius, the satellite network," Linton Weeks wrote in the Washington Post. "It is run by Mel Karmazin, Imus's former boss at Infinity Broadcasting — predecessor of CBS Radio. That's where Imus made a name — and millions of dollars — for himself. At the National Press Club last month, Karmazin said he wouldn't talk to Imus about a job as long as he was under contract to somebody else, according to Tom Taylor of the online newsletter Taylor on Radio-Info.

"Some say Imus might go to WABC, owned by Citadel Broadcasting. That makes sense: Citadel is headed by Farid Suleman, who for years was chief financial officer at Infinity and Karmazin's assistant. 'He signed Imus's checks,' Taylor says.

"The New York radio station features airwave warriors such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Rich Ramirez Stabbing Death Ruled Suicide

"The death of former Mercury News journalist Rich Ramirez has been ruled a suicide, authorities said Tuesday," Brandon Bailey reported for the San Jose Mercury News.

"The ruling follows investigations by both police and the Alameda County coroner's office.

"Ramirez, 44, was discovered in his Livermore back yard June 20 with a fatal knife wound to the midsection. His wife and co-workers said he had been under stress and was despondent over personal issues."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Ah Jook Leong Ku, First Asian American AP Reporter



"Ah Jook Leong Ku was a groundbreaking young reporter in the 1940s, covering life in China and the government of President Chiang Kai-Shek for the Associated Press, Mary Adamski reported Friday for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. She died Aug. 6 at age 97.

"She was the first Asian-American reporter for the wire service and the first Asian-American female writer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

"But she was best known for her later decades as a feisty advocate for freedom of information and journalism standards. Ku was a founding member of the Honolulu Community-Media Council and served for 25 years as its unpaid administrative secretary."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Diane Lewis, Boston Globe Reporter, Dies at 54



Diane Lewis, a reporter at the Boston Globe for 26 years, died Tuesday night at a Bronx, N.Y., hospital after a two-year battle with lung cancer, according to Globe colleagues. She was 54.

"Diane refused to give in to her illness, even returning to work for many months," Shirley Leung wrote to the newsroom. "She juggled reporting on workplace and labor issues as she went and back forth for treatments . . .

"Many of us last saw her in June at a Globe lunch in her honor. She was in good spirits as we toasted her many bylines and accomplishments. Diane was most proud of her college-age daughter, [Karina], a senior studying fashion at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Diane raised her as a single mother, and before she passed away, Diane was able to summon the energy to give one last lecture to Kareena about making sure she stood up for herself in this world."

Lewis, a native of East Orange, N.J., and a 1978 graduate of the Maynard Institute's Summer Program for Minority Journalists, came to the Globe in 1981 and covered mental health, then the city of Cambridge, Mass., and she worked on special projects before reporting on workplace and labor issues. She was co-writer of a five-part series on the arts in Boston, "Fine Arts: A World Without Color," and co-authored a three-part series on the 350th anniversary of African Americans in Massachusetts.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Eliot Church of Roxbury, 56 Dale St., Roxbury, Mass.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Univision Grabs 8 Democrats for Debate

Univision Communications Inc., has secured eight Democratic presidential candidates for a candidates forum to be held Sept. 9 at the University of Miami in Coral Cables, Fla., the company announced on Wednesday.



Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., fresh from breaking ground as a Vibe magazine cover subject, has become the first politician to be on the cover of GQ since presidential running mates Bill Clinton and Al Gore appeared in November 1992, GQ announced.

GQ correspondent Ryan Lizza reports on Obama's campaign trail life and the successes and challenges he's experienced as a presidential candidate in 2007, the publication said.

The Univision forum is to "focus exclusively on the issues of particular interest to the Hispanic community, which comprises the fastest growing segment of the U.S. electorate. The events will be broadcast in primetime on the most significant Spanish-language media outlets in the country - Univision's television, radio and online platforms," the company said. It plans a "a seamless simultaneous Spanish translation."

Participating will be Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Obama; former senators John Edwards of North Carolina and Mike Gravel of Alaska, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Univision said.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Sportswriter Invokes Race in Changing Quote



"Several readers of an early edition of the July 28 Sports section noticed different versions of the same quote from Redskins running back Clinton Portis in a story by Howard Bryant and a column by Mike Wise," Deborah Howell, Washington Post ombudsman, wrote on Sunday.

"In Bryant's story, Portis said: 'I don't know how anybody feels. I don't know how anybody's thinking. I don't know what anyone else is going through. The only thing I know is what's going on in Clinton Portis's life.' Wise quoted him as saying: 'I don't know how nobody feel, I don't know what nobody think, I don't know what nobody doing, the only thing I know is what's going on in Clinton Portis's life.'

"The Post's policy couldn't be clearer: 'When we put a source's words inside quotation marks, those exact words should have been uttered in precisely that form.'

"Bryant, who just left The Post for ESPN, thinks the policy is wrong. 'For me, having covered athletes for 15 years, I've always felt conscious and uncomfortable about the differences in class, background and race — I'm an African American — and in terms of the people who are doing the speaking and the people who are doing the writing. I really don't like to make people look stupid, especially when I understand what they're saying."

"What Bryant did is common among sports journalists, said Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, assistant managing editor for sports. 'Sportswriters have been making minor grammatical fixes to athlete's quotes forever. The meaning of what the athlete is saying is not altered, just the grammar. It's rooted in the belief that you shouldn't embarrass someone whose command of grammar is weak. We have told our writers to run quotes verbatim or paraphrase when the grammar is horrific, but some old habits die hard. We will try to do better.'

"What if television or a tape recording should catch a quote that Bryant changed? 'I don't really worry about it,' Bryant said. 'I am totally convinced — along racial, class and cultural lines — that when it comes to white players from the South, reporters instinctively clean up their language. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, in his own way, can sound as inarticulate as Portis in terms of perfect grammar, so I clean up his language to not embarrass him. I also do it with athletes. What's fair is fair.'"

". . . My view: Quotes should not be changed," Howell wrote.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Anchor Gets 25 to 39 Months After Fatal Crash




Winston-Salem, N.C., television anchor Tolly Carr was sentenced Monday to 25 to 39 months in prison for a fatal drunken-driving wreck in March. Carr, 32, had pleaded guilty to felony death by vehicle, felony serious injury by vehicle and driving while impaired, Dan Galindo and Michelle Johnson reported Tuesday in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Carr has spent the past four months in the Forsyth County Jail.

"I should be the one who's dead. I shouldn't be the one who's here breathing the air in the courtroom. I feel like the worst person in the world right now," Carr said in court.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

3 Women of Color on New "Today" Hour

"NBC News has set Sept. 10 as the debut for the fourth hour of 'Today,' a long-planned expansion of its market-leading ayem franchise," Michael Learmonth wrote. Tuesday for Variety, using Variety-speak.

"The fourth hour of the show, which will be carried at 10 or 11 a.m. by 90% of NBC stations, will be staffed by 'Today' news anchor Ann Curry, national correspondent Natalie Morales and correspondent Hoda Kotb. Hour will be produced by 'Today' senior producer Amy Rosenblum."

"The women who will serve as hosts of that final hour . . . are all women of color," Eric Deggans noted Tuesday on his St. Petersburg Times blog Morales is Puerto Rican and Brazilian. Curry's father was an American of predominantly French and Scots-Irish descent who met her Japanese mother during the post-World War II U.S. occupation of Japan. Kotb is Egyptian-American.

"This is important because these jobs turn out to be a farm team for the show, allowing the network to develop its younger talent so they aren't caught flatfooted when somebody like, say, Campbell Brown or Katie Couric decides to take their talents elsewhere."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Short Takes

  • "Viacom has pledged $1 million in cash and more than $500,000 in media value to support the construction of a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.." Willa Robertson reported Tuesday for Variety. "Viacom's donation brings the Memorial Foundation's total to $82 million of the $100 million needed to build the tribute to the slain civil rights leader."
  • In Atlanta, "WSB-TV Channel 2 reporter JaQuitta Williams underwent breast cancer surgery Wednesday morning and doctors reported there is no sign of cancer in her lymph nodes," the station reported . "JaQuitta has decided to share the details of her illness and treatment in hopes of helping other women. She'll be writing a special blog right here on during her recovery."
  • "'Good Morning America' co-host Robin Roberts returned to work yesterday and delivered an emotional thanks to her colleagues and fans following breast-cancer surgery more than a week ago," Richard Huff reported in the New York Daily News on Monday night. "'The reaction has been just overwhelming and has been so comforting,' Roberts said." She had surgery Aug. 3.
  • A trial is scheduled for Sept. 24 in the killing of U.S. Army Ranger Michael McQueen, 22, who served three tours in Afghanistan, his father, Mike McQueen, Associated Press bureau chief for Louisiana and Mississippi, told Journal-isms. Young McQueen was fatally shot in September in his Gaithersburg, Md., apartment. His roommate, Gary James Smith, 24, McQueen's former sergeant, has been charged with first-degree murder.
  • "A decade ago, the list of the top 10 TV shows favored by African-American viewers and the list of top shows among all viewers shared only one program: Monday Night Football," David Zurawik reported Sunday in the Baltimore Sun. "But this year, for the first time in a generation, the polls on shows favored by white and black audiences are strikingly similar, in agreement on eight of the top 10. Never in the 20 years that the data from Nielsen Media Research has been systematically compared based on race has such a convergence between black and white TV tastes emerged."
  • "Hearst Magazines said it will launch on Aug. 29, a service-oriented site that will be aimed at 15-year-old Latina teens who are planning their quinceañeras, a traditional, sweet-16-like celebration common to much of Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic community," Mike Shields reported on Friday for MediaWeek.
  • "Two weeks after accusing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its parent company of libeling her in news articles and editorials, the former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney has withdrawn a lawsuit against the newspaper," the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
  • The Baltimore Afro-American celebrated 115 years in circulation on Aug. 13. John J. Oliver Jr., the paper's CEO, talked about the paper's history, its future and the role of the black press on National Public Radio's "Tell Me More."
  • In Kenya, "Journalists this morning took to Nairobi streets to protest against a proposed law that requires them to name secret news sources. Media professionals marched with their mouths gagged in an effort to show that requiring that they reveal identities of [anonymous] sources would be tantamount to muzzling the Press," Mike Mwaniki reported on Wednesday in the Nation newspaper in Nairobi. An editorial explained, "Why the Media Protested."
  • "The head of the United Nations body mandated to protect press freedom today voiced grave concern at the growing violence against the media in Somalia following the murder of two journalists and the injuring of a third," the U.N. News Service reported on Tuesday.

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.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact and tell us who you are.

About Richard Prince

View previous columns.



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.