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Reader Rep Tony Marcano Creating Buzz at Bee

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Sunday, September 28, 2003

Reader Rep Tony Marcano Creating Buzz at Bee

Tony Marcano, who was named the Sacramento Bee's reader advocate, or public liaison, in May, has been catching it.

"Free Daniel Weintraub! He's caught in the grip of the killer Bee! That was the general tenor of the deluge of e-mail I received after I disclosed in last week's column that [political columnist] Weintraub's Weblog on sacbee.com is now subject to editing," Marcano wrote in his Sunday column.

"Most of the responses, taking their cue from a 'Free Weintraub' campaign on the Web, shared several key words. Censorship. Muzzle. Shame. Cowards. Many took me to task for failing to explicitly denounce The Bee's decision and described me as an apologist for censors."

Adding to the mix for this journalist of color, a 1985 graduate of the Maynard Institute's Summer Program for Minority Journalists, is that "Many readers were also extremely critical of The Bee for, in their words, caving in to the Legislative Latino Caucus, which wrote to Publisher Janis Besler Heaphy to complain about criticisms of the caucus and of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in Weintraub's Sept. 1 blog."

In fact, Marcano wrote on Sunday, "The Bee began reviewing Weintraub's blog before the caucus complained to [Publisher Janis Besler] Heaphy."

"A lot of people have a misconception of my role here," Marcano told Journal-isms. The reader representative doesn't make decisions. "A lot of people blamed me for this, when if I hadn't said anything [about the policy], nobody would have known."

Among those adding their two cents on the to-edit-or-not-to-edit issue are Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, writing in his own blog, and Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times, in his print column.

The reaction is "just part of the job," Marcano said.

Carole Simpson, ABC in Contract Negotiations

ABC News' Carole Simpson, who came to the network from NBC in 1982, is in contract negotiations that will decide what role she will play at the network, assuming the talks are successful.

"Carole is terrific and we look forward to quickly concluding negotiations," ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told Journal-isms. But the talks are continuing, and thus it has not been determined whether Simpson will continue to anchor "World News Sunday," as she has since 1997, or undertake some other role. Her contract is up in January, as the New York Daily News reported.

Howard U. School Renamed for John H. Johnson

"Howard University formally renamed its School of Communications after John H. Johnson, legendary founder of Johnson Publishing Co., which produces Ebony and Jet magazines," writes Kerry-Ann Hamilton on the Black College Wire.

"Johnson, who donated $4 million to the school, was presented Sept. 26 with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the university?s annual convocation.

"Also honored at the ceremony was Earl G. Graves, publisher of Black Enterprise magazine and an authority on black business development. He was given the Citation of Achievement Award," the story continued.

In another development, Johnson was ranked the "greatest minority entrepreneur or businessperson in American history" by 58 experts polled by Baylor University and the Center for the American Idea. The group included management scholars, business historians and economic historians. Johnson did not make the list of the top 10 entrepreneurs overall, however, nor did any other person of color. The top three in that category were Henry Ford, Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller.

Still, Johnson said, "I am delighted to be named among the greatest entrepreneurs in American history and specifically selected the Greatest Minority Entrepreneur in this study. I live by the words, ?Failure Is A Word I Don?t Accept? and when I started the company in 1942 I was determined to succeed and help improve the lives of others. I want to be known as someone who pioneered in a new field and persevered,? according to Baylor's announcement.

The winners are to be honored Tuesday in Dallas.

L.A.'s Pete Moraga, NAHJ Hall of Famer, Dies at 77

"Pete Moraga,, veteran Los Angeles newsman for KNX radio and KMEX television who worked to improve the image of Latinos through the news media, has died. He was 77," reports Myrna Oliver in the Los Angeles Times.

"Moraga died Saturday at his retirement home in Mesa, Ariz., after collapsing of a suspected heart attack or stroke, said his daughter-in-law, Martha Moraga.

"Inducted into the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame in 2001, Moraga was credited with making important strides in preserving Latino culture while providing practical and timely information and commentary in Spanish and English.

"'We have come out of the period when it was necessary to lose identity of our language and culture,' he told The Times in 1984, recalling that he had been spanked as a child in Arizona for speaking Spanish on his school grounds. 'Of course, it is necessary to learn English to survive in the United States, but we don't have to eradicate our own culture at the same time. Basically now there is no way we would want to forget our past,'" Oliver continued in her obituary.

China's Ding Wang Dies, Led Media Revolution

"Ding Wang, the legendary editor of the China Business Times, has died of cancer, aged 77, in Beijing," reports the South China Morning Post.

"In 1989, after four decades working as a senior editor of national newspapers, Ding decided the mainland needed a non-government newspaper to focus on economic news, emerging entrepreneurs, business and industry. He found sponsorship from the Chinese Federation of Industry and Commerce and started the paper on a shoestring after borrowing 250,000 yuan [$30,334 U.S.].

"He started the paper after the crackdown on the student-led democracy movement and recruited 20 young reporters who were dissatisfied with the restricted atmosphere at work. During most of his tenure, Ding was the only person on staff older than 40.

"In four years, he built a dynamic trend-setting paper and recruited a generation of talented journalists who later became industry leaders running their own publications. More than 20 editors of some of the country's most influential publications and CEOs of media companies cut their teeth at the Times, including Hu Shuli, managing editor of Caijing magazine, Yang Daming, editor-in-chief of Business Post, and Wang Changlin, president of Beijing Enlight Production.

"Hu said the Times was a landmark publication on the mainland as it introduced objectivity and independence.

"Ding shunned lengthy, boring reports and favoured lively writing that was easy to read.

"Unlike some mainland editors, he would not put Communist Party or government leaders on the front page unless the news was important," the story continued.

Phil Fernandez Named ME in Asheville, N.C.

Phil Fernandez, an editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the past four years, has been named managing editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina, starting there Oct. 27, the Gannett Co. reports.

"He replaces Julie Martin, who left the newspaper in August for family reasons," the company said.

"Fernandez joined the Atlanta newspaper in 1999 after 20 years in journalism at newspapers in Indiana and Florida.

"In Atlanta, he held a variety of roles, including editor of its two weekly technology sections, the business section and ajc.com. He also headed two county bureaus.

"From 1990 to 1999, he worked at The Orlando Sentinel. Among his jobs was county editor in charge of local news operations in Osceolo County. He developed and launched several sections aimed at Hispanic readers and suburban readers," the announcement said.

WCBS-TV May Team With Spanish-Language WXTV

News executives at New York's WCBS-TV and WXTV-TV "are in discussions to formalize a behind-the-scenes working agreement by which the two stations' news divisions will work together on some stories and share resources in covering others," Richard Huff reports in the New York Daily News.

"The relationship, which already exists on a lesser scale, could help to expose Hispanic viewers to Ch.2, while giving Ch.41 access to more news-gathering options.

"Ch. 41 is the most-watched Spanish-language station in the city . . . Conversely, Ch. 2 is the least-watched station among Hispanic viewers at 6 and 11 p.m.

"It's unclear whether the deal will lead to anchors or correspondents from one station appearing on the other, though it can't be ruled out. For instance, bilingual Ch.2 correspondents Mario Bosquez or Pablo Guzman could easily file reports for both stations -- if necessary," Huff wrote.

Uzbekistan Reduces Sentence for Gay Journalist

"An Uzbek appeals court reduced the sentence Thursday of a gay journalist convicted of having homosexual sex to four years from 5 1/2 years in a case that has drawn international criticism from human rights groups," the Associated Press reports.

"Ruslan Sharipov was convicted last month of having homosexual sex -- illegal in Uzbekistan under laws still on the books from Soviet times -- and also of having sex with minors and attracting minors to anti-social activity.

"At his trial, Sharipov maintained his innocence, but then abruptly pleaded guilty and dismissed his lawyers. In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he alleged that he had been tortured into confessing his guilt and that police forced him to write a suicide note and threatened to kill him if he fought the charges.

"The Sharipov case has drawn the attention of international media and human rights groups who say authorities brought the charges because of the journalist's criticism of the government."

No Rampant Plagiarism in Blair's College Days

"A review of articles written by disgraced reporter Jayson Blair for a student-staffed news agency run by the University of Maryland has found repeated errors and several sources who dispute remarks attributed to them," writes David Folkenflik in the Baltimore Sun.

"But it did not uncover any of the rampant plagiarism or fabrication found in at least three dozen stories he later wrote for The New York Times. The university's Philip Merrill College of Journalism commissioned the study of Blair's work in the wake of the scandal at the Times that cost him his job last spring and, ultimately, cost the newspaper's two top editors their jobs as well."

Capital News Service story

Story Asks, "Can 'Black' Name Hold Back a Child?"

"Minorities of all kinds have wrestled with whether to celebrate their culture by giving their children distinctive names, or help them 'blend in' with a name that won't stick out. Thousands of Jews have changed their names, hoping to improve their economic prospects in the face of discrimination, as have Asians and other minorities," writes Justin Pope, an economics writer in the Associated Press Boston bureau.

"Blacks, however, have chosen increasingly distinctive names over the past century, with the trend accelerating during the 1960s.

"Researchers who have looked at Census records have found that 100 years ago, the 20 most popular names were largely the same for blacks and whites; now only a handful are among the most popular with both groups. Names like DeShawn and Shanice are almost exclusively black, while whites, whose names have also become increasingly distinctive, favored names like Cody and Caitlin.

"Two recent papers from the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research draw somewhat different conclusions about whether a black name is a burden. One, an analysis of the 16 million births in California between 1960 and 2000, claims it has no significant effect on how someone's life turns out.

"The other suggests a black-sounding name remains an impediment to getting a job."

Pope, who told Journal-isms that he doesn't think his own name is distinctive one way or the other, but "could be a little bit white," has been in the business four years and said he didn't think journalists would be as affected by the name issue because "people are judged on your clips," though diversity remains a huge issue. But he said the finding of unconscious bias among even well-meaning employers should give everyone pause.

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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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