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Reporter Wounded in New Orleans Violence

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Monday, May 13, 2013

3 Gunmen Open Fire on Mother's Day Procession

Justice Dept. Secretly Collects AP Reporters' Phone Records

Correspondent Randall Pinkston Leaving CBS After 33 Years

Two More Black Men, Jenkins and Bennett, Leaving NPR

Newseum Reverses Itself on Honoring Palestinians

19 News Organizations Protest Beyoncé's Photo Ban

NBC Names Ric Harris G.M. in Hartford, Conn.

Cleveland Victims Rule Out Speaking With Reporters

In New York, Waitresses for Lonely Mexicans

Short Takes

Deborah Cotton attributed violence among young black men to lack of employment opportunities, a history of oppression and diverted resources. (Video)

3 Gunmen Open Fire on Mother's Day Procession

In a video last year, Deborah Cotton talked about violence among young black men in New Orleans. "It can be addressed. We are just not rising to the occasion," she said. "That's what's heartbreaking."

On Sunday, "The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) estimated that as many as three gunmen opened fire on a Mother's Day second line procession in the Seventh Ward this afternoon, injuring 19 people, according to the latest figures provided by the NOPD," Kevin Allman wrote for Gambit, an alternative weekly.

Allman continued, "Among the injured was Gambit correspondent Deborah Cotton, who covers second line, Mardi Gras Indian and Social Aid & Pleasure Club culture for the paper under the name '[Big] Red' Cotton. Cotton was hit directly by gunfire and taken to intensive care for surgery. She is in guarded but stable condition tonight, according to doctors. This morning, Cotton had tweeted, 'A very Happy Mother's Day to all! See U at the 2nd line today w/ @TBC_BrassBand.'"

"Second-line parades are loose processions 'in which people dance down the street, often following behind a brass band,' " the Associated Press
reported. " 'They can be impromptu or planned and are sometimes described as moving block parties.' "

Jennifer Hale of WVUE-TV in New Orleans wrote Monday that Cotton "remains in critical condition."

In a blog posting, Brentin Mock described seeing Cotton in the hospital.

"Deb's tongue seemed to push its way through her teeth as she lay, still asleep, as if she was trying to say something," Mock wrote. "I tried to imagine what she attempted to say as bullets ripped through her back, perhaps running from the monster who opened fire on the Mother’s Day parade crowd.

"What kind of monster opens fire on a Mother's Day parade crowd? What kind of animal? I hate myself for thinking to ask this in these exact terms, but it's these exact terms in which I'm thinking.

"You already read the stories: Nineteen people shot; seven of them women, some of them perhaps mothers. Ten men shot. All of them have mothers. And then the kids. A 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. I thought of my own 10-year-old son, Justice, who I'm hundreds of miles away from, and how I would feel if I found out from the news that he had been shot. . . ."

Hamilton Nolan, writing for Gawker, was likewise angry.

"The shooting of nineteen innocent people, including two children, at a Mother's Day celebration in New Orleans yesterday was an act of violence only gaudy enough to hold the nation's attention momentarily," Nolan wrote. "Shortly after the bodies were cleared, the FBI said they 'have no indication the shooting was an act of terrorism. It's strictly an act of street violence in New Orleans.' At that, we were free to let our attention drift. In America, all villainy is not created equal.

"A couple of disaffected young men in search of meaning drift into radical Islam and become violent. A couple of disaffected young men in search of meaning drift into street crime and become violent. A crowd of innocent people attending the Boston marathon are maimed by flying shrapnel from homemade bombs. A crowd of innocent people attending a Mother's Day celebration in New Orleans are maimed by flying bullets. Two public events. Two terrible tragedies. One act of violence becomes a huge news story, transfixing the media's attention for months and drawing outraged proclamations from politicians and pundits. Another act of violence is dismissed as the normal way of the world and quickly forgotten. . . ."

Gregory Moore, left, co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, presents a 2012 Inves

Justice Dept. Secretly Collects AP Reporters' Phone Records

"The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a 'massive and unprecedented intrusion' into how news organizations gather the news," Mark Sherman reported Monday for the AP.

"The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming
calls or the duration of the calls.

"In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

"In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies."

The story continued, "The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States."

It added, "The May 7 story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. They and their editor, Ted Bridis, were among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government. . . ."

Apuzzo, Goldman and Sullivan were 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners for investigative reporting for stories that looked at the New York Police Department's clandestine spying on Muslim communities.

Matt Smith and Joe Johns reported Monday for CNN, "The U.S. attorney's office in Washington responded that federal investigators seek phone records from news outlets only after making 'every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means.' It did not disclose the subject of the probe. . . "

The AP added, "The Obama administration has aggressively investigated disclosures of classified information to the media and has brought six cases against people suspected of leaking classified information, more than under all previous presidents combined. . . ."

However, "Jay Carney, a White House spokesman, said the White House was not involved in the subpoena, Charlie Savage and Leslie Kaufman reported for the New York Times. " 'Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the A.P.,' he said, adding 'we are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations.' "


Correspondent Randall Pinkston Leaving CBS After 33 Years

Six weeks after correspondent Byron Pitts left CBS for ABC, citing ABC's commitment to diversity, Randall Pinkston, another African American CBS journalist, told Journal-isms on Tuesday that he is leaving the network.

Randall Pinkston In a budget-tightening shakeup in 2010, Pinkston was moved to CBS Newspath, the network's 24-hour broadcast news service for affiliates.

Pinkston messaged:

"My long distance run at CBS NEWS is about to end. I joined the company in 1980 as a correspondent for WCBS-TV. Jim Jensen, Carol Martin, Michelle Marsh, Rolland Smith, John Tesh and Vic Miles anchored the broadcasts. Chris Borgen, J.J. Gonzalez, Meredith Viera, Roseanne Colletti and Arnold Diaz were among the star reporters. I was a Mississippian — by way of Florida and Connecticut — uncertain if I could survive in the number one news market in the world. By the Grace of God, hard work and fantastic colleagues and mentors, I did more than survive, I thrived on the crazy frenetic pace of reporting on the streets of New York. What a time it was.

"Ten years after my start at WCBS-TV, Eric Ober, the president of CBS News, offered me a job in the Washington Bureau where I was assigned to the White House during the last two years of President George H. W. Bush (43).

"When his term of office ended, I became a general assignment correspondent filing stories for all of our newscasts.

"Over the next two decades, I traveled the world — covering disasters and conflicts — in Haiti, Albania, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I was the first CBS NEWS correspondent to report from Tora Bora in November 2001 — where [Osama bin Laden] was believed to be hiding. Iraq, for some years, was a frequent stop for me, before, during and after the 2003 U.S. invasion. My last assignment there was covering the execution of Saddam Hussein in December 2005.

"Over the years I also contributed reports to SUNDAY MORNING, 48 HOURS and a documentary ('Legacy of Shame'). My SUNDAY MORNING assignments included profiles with legendary Americans: photographers Howard Bingham, Arnold Newman and Gordon Parks; director-actor Mario Van Peebles; authors Walter Mosley and Tina McElroy Ansa; environmentalist Grace Thorpe: entertainer-activists Camille Cosby, Bill Cosby, Danny Glover; singer-songwriters Phoebe Snow, Ashford and Simpson, Curtis Mayfield and the amazing Mr. James Cameron, a man who survived a lynching in Indiana in the 1930s.

"For the past three years, I've been assigned to CBS NEWSPATH , the service that provides stories to our affiliates and owned an operated stations. My assignments included coverage of the final Space Shuttle launches, several of the Campaign 2012 debates, both political conventions, the second inauguration of President Obama, and the election of Pope Francis.

"No job is perfect. Every career has ups and downs and disappointments. I've encountered some rough spots. But with the support of my family and my colleagues around the world, I have always managed to find opportunities to tell good stories and do solid work. I've also tried to be a positive role models for younger colleagues, both at CBS and through NABJ, NYABJ, colleges and other venues," referring to the National Association of Black Journalists and the New York Association of Black Journalists.

"May 21st is my official exit date — exactly thirty-three years, three months and three days since my first day on the job at WCBS TV.

"Leaving here is not the end. It is, for me, a new beginning. I am not sure what I will do next, but whatever comes, I will always cherish my experiences at CBS NEWS." [Added May 14]

Two More Black Men, Jenkins and Bennett, Leaving NPR

Keith W. Jenkins, supervising senior producer for multimedia, and Geoffrey Bennett, an editor at "Weekend Edition," are leaving NPR, they confirmed separately Monday, each a black man at a network where the low number of African American men has been an issue.

Jenkins, believed to be one of two African American men in newsroom management (the other is Matt Thompson, manager of digital initiatives), is joining National Geographic for the new position of director of photography digital, a National Geographic spokeswoman confirmed.

Jenkins joined NPR in 2008 after taking a buyout at the Washington Post, where he spent 13 years, most recently as multimedia director. He messaged Journal-isms Monday, "I am excited about all of this, but am going to save official comments until the formal announcement next week...thanks for understanding."

Bennett told Journal-isms by email, "I've taken a new position in TV news as a political reporter for Time Warner Cable News. I'll be based in the D.C. bureau and will file reports for NY1 and other affiliates across the country." NY1 is based in New York.

According to a bio, "Geoffrey is a former producer and editor with NPR'’s 'News & Notes,' which broadcast from Los Angeles. Before heading West, he reported on the entertainment business for AOL Television in New York City. He began his journalism career at ABC News’ 'World News Tonight with Peter Jennings' and later joined, where he oversaw the websites of both 'World News Tonight' and the Brian Ross Investigative Unit. In 2003, he helped craft what would become Current, the TV network co-founded by Al Gore."

Bennett is believed to have been the only black male editor on the radio side of NPR. Corey Dade, hired at NPR in 2010 as a Washington-based national correspondent amid concern about the paucity of on-air African American men at the network, left NPR in March.

Newseum Reverses Itself on Honoring Palestinians

"The Newseum announced Monday that it will not honor two cameramen killed while working for Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV, reversing a Friday decision to include them on a memorial for fallen journalists following pressure from conservative media outlets and organizations supporting Israel," Michael Calderone reported Monday for the Huffington Post.

" 'Serious questions have been raised as to whether two of the individuals included on our initial list of journalists who died covering the news this past year were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities,' a Newseum spokesman said in a statement.

" 'We take the concerns raised about these two men seriously and have decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation,' the spokesman said.

"On Friday, the Newseum stood by its decision to recognize Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, two cameramen targeted and killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza this past November. Their car was reportedly labeled 'TV' in neon letters so as not to be targeted by the Israeli military.

"During a Monday morning rededication ceremony, the Newseum honored 82 other journalists who died in 2012 while pursuing the news, adding to a memorial that includes over 2200 names.

"NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who was captured and freed last year in Syria, gave the keynote address at the ceremony. He addressed the controversy over describing the Al-Aqsa employees as journalists and the difficulty, at times, in making distinctions between journalists and activists.

"I frankly agree there is a distinction and that several of the people on this list are not strictly journalists, but political activists who worked in the media," Engel said. "And just because you carry a camera and a notebook doesn't make you a journalist. A journalist has the responsibility to seek the truth no matter what it is, even if the story hurts your cause. Journalists shouldn't have causes. They should have principles and beliefs. . . ."

A fan tweeting as @Hemoverse posted this photo of Beyonce's "Mrs Carter Show" la

19 News Organizations Protest Beyoncé's Photo Ban

Nineteen news organizations have asked Beyoncé to drop her refusal to issue photo credentials for her current "Mrs. Carter Show" tour of Europe and the United States, instead urging photographers to download official photos chosen by the entertainer's staff.

"While we understand your desire to maintain control over your client's image as part of her 'public relations' we hope that you will appreciate and respect our position," the letter said. "As representatives of the world's preeminent journalism organizations, representing publications and broadcasters and their employees, we believe the public is best served by maintaining our independence rather than relying on hand-out photos of these events. We believe that removing the ban will help, not harm, your client’s image in the long run.

"Most recently the Manchester Evening News refused to use the 'official pictures' of your client's May 7, 2013 performance in Manchester, England — instead illustrating the story with the very photo you had previously objected to. Similarly, the proliferation of cellphone cameras has not stopped the audience from photographing the performance. Your ban has resulted in the posting of intentionally created prank photographs of Beyoncé that have been far more unflattering than the original ones and which have gone viral. Ending the ban is more likely to result in publication of fair, objective and mutually beneficial photographs that serve your interests and ours. . . ."

The letter was signed by Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, on behalf of the Associated Press Media Editors; Radio Television Digital News Association; American Society of News Editors; News Media Coalition; California Broadcasters Association; Newspaper Association of America; North Jersey Media Group Inc.; Los Angeles Times; National Public Radio, Inc.; Association of Alternative Newsmedia; E.W. Scripps Co.; the Daily News in New York; Picture Archive Council of America; Society of Professional Journalists; American Society of Media Photographers; WNET; the First Amendment Coalition; the Online News Association and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

NBC Names Ric Harris G.M. in Hartford, Conn.

Ric HarrisRic Harris, named vice president of sales for WVIT-TV, the NBC-owned station in Hartford, Conn., just two months ago, on Friday was named the station's general manager.

Harris, had been vice president and general manager of WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, from 2000 to 2005.

"He joined the station from Accenture, where he was Manager of Communications, Media and Technology for two-and-a-half years," a news release said. "Previously, Harris was Vice President of Digital Ad Sales for BET Interactive from 2008 to 2009, where he developed and led the multi-platform sales strategy for the network’s online, mobile and video-on-demand products. He also was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media and Strategic Marketing for NBC Owned Television Stations from 2005 to 2007. . . ."

At least 10 African Americans are television-station general managers, according to Bob Butler, vice president/broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Cleveland Victims Rule Out Speaking With Reporters

"A spokesman for Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus thanked the community and law enforcement Sunday morning, and pleaded for privacy while the women recover from years of captivity in a Cleveland home," Donna J. Miller reported Sunday for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

"The women will not be speaking publicly or with reporters while criminal proceedings against their accused captor, Ariel Castro, are ongoing, said attorney Jim Wooley, of the Jones Day law firm, who read a statement on behalf of Berry, Knight, DeJesus and their families.

"Wooley asked the public to give the women 'time, space and privacy,' and he read three short statements attributed to them. . . ."

(Credit: Ruth Prieto Arenas)

In New York, Waitresses for Lonely Mexicans

In New York, "A mural outside a Mexican restaurant reminded Ruth Prieto Arenas of her homeland. The colorful landscape, in stark contrast to the strip of plain brick tenements in Manhattan, stopped her," David Gonzalez wrote Thursday for the New York Times Lens blog, which he co-edits.

" 'It was a mural of volcanoes, which in Aztec mythology has one representing a man and the other a woman,' she said. 'It was a love story.'

"But once inside, she learned a very different, and all too common, story — of loneliness, longing and adjusting to a new home. The customers were almost all men, exhausted from long days as construction hands, deliverymen or cooks. The waitresses, who had only recently arrived in the United States, offered their company — and nothing more — for twice the normal price of a beer. . . ."

Gonzales continued, "At a time when immigration continues to stir up intense passions, some of Ms. Prieto Arenas's photographs are featured in a display accompanying 'La Ruta,' a play by the Magnum Foundation and the Working Theater that explores similar issues." The play ran until Sunday at Snug Harbor on Staten Island. . . "

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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Color of Terrorism

The Boston carnage unleashed unparalleled media coverage while the New Orleans carnage was just another saga of crime in the city. As usual the specter of race defined the optics and reaction of both horrific events. Once again the currency and value of Black life in our nation is discounted.

Two More Black Men, Jenkins and Bennett, Leaving NPR

I can't speak to NPR staffing now, but it should be pointed out that William Drummond was the first editor of Morning Edition when we launched the show in Nov. 1979, and Michael Fields served NPR News as Midwestern and Southern Editor, and also as National Desk Senior Editor. - Jay Kernis, founding producer, Morning Edition; SVP for Programming 2001 - 2008

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