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Rob King to Head ESPN.Com

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Calvin Sims Exits N.Y. Times for Ford Foundation

Former Newspaperman to Lead Top Sports Web Site

Rob King, who left the Philadelphia Inquirer for ESPN only three years ago, saying "I want to be able to take risks in my life," has been named editor-in-chief of ESPN.com, which calls itself the leading sports destination online, ESPN spokesman Paul Melvin confirmed on Wednesday.

 

 

ESPN says the site averages 18 million unique users per month and features analysis from a roster of more than 150 ESPN editors, writers, analysts, experts and contributors.

"The company made the announcement this afternoon in a conference call to employees," the sports blog "the Big Lead" reported Wednesday afternoon. The blog is put together by "three 20-something friends, one of whom was previously a sportswriter." Their headline said King was awarded "the Top Sports Media Job in the Country."

Previously a cartoonist, reporter and graphic designer, King, 45, left the Inquirer as deputy managing editor/visuals and sports after seven years there.

Outside of Web sites geared toward African Americans, the black presence in the online world is said to be scant. Only a handful attended last year's convention of the Online News Association, which is holding its eighth annual conference Oct. 17-19 in Toronto. Neal Scarbrough left ESPN last year to become editor-in-chief of AOL Sports, but others who have sought to join one of the few growth areas in the news business have sometimes been told they lacked online experience.

King went from the Inquirer to senior coordinating producer at ESPN, overseeing the "Outside the Lines" show daily and the ESPN research department from ESPN's offices in Bristol, Conn.

The bloggers said King has been overseeing NBA coverage with ESPNews, will be based in Bristol, and beat out a candidate already at the Web site.

When King left the Philadelphia paper, then-Inquirer editors Amanda Bennett and Anne Gordon said, "Anyone who knows Rob knows what powerful and honorable parents he has and anyone who knows Rob knows what he means when he says he wants to strike out in an industry that promises to challenge him in so many different ways."

His father, Colbert I. King, is a Washington Post op-ed columnist who retired in December as deputy editorial page editor, and his mother, Gwendolyn King, now retired, is a former Social Security commissioner.

"Last week, we told you King was a finalist for the gig, and although he came from behind to get the job in Rags to Riches Belmont-like fashion, the early word from everyone weâ??ve spoken to (to the newcomers wondering how the heck we know any of this stuff, itâ??s because once upon a time we wrote a few pieces for the .com, and along the way made a friend or two) is that King is universally well-liked (apparently, his predecessor was a love him or hate him type and didnâ??t appeal to all)," the sports blog said.

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NAHJ Meets in San Jose With Record Sponsorship

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists opened its 25th anniversary convention in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, with 1,300 people registered before the convention began and a record number of sponsors, Executive Director Iván Román told Journal-isms.

Román said 1,500 to 1,600 people were expected if past patterns continued.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was to be interviewed at Wednesday's opening session by a trio of journalists led by Rick Rodriguez, executive editor of the Sacramento Bee.

Like other journalist-of-color organizations, the annual convention is key to the organization's financial health. While some sponsors gave less this year and some dropped out, the number of sponsors has increased to more than 50, Román said, enabling the organization to take in an expected $810,000, exceeding last year's record $680,000. He said the convention was projected to make $350,000 for the association.

NAHJ ended 2006 with a $20,000 deficit, but was able to cover it from a surplus of about $140,000 it posted for 2005, Román said earlier this year.

Students are covering the event at http://www.nahj.org, which was to include streaming video of the Schwarzenegger interview.

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Claire Smith Leaves Philly Inquirer for ESPN

Claire Smith, assistant sports editor and baseball columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, is leaving the newspaper to join ESPN as a news editor/remote sites, traveling with on-air personnel covering live events. "The focus of my job will be to provide one more set of eyes focusing on the news, whether on the field or off," she told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

 

 

Smith, 53, has worked at the Inquirer as a general assignment columnist and assistant sports editor since 1998. She was a national baseball columnist for the New York Times and the Hartford Courant, among other roles.

"I look forward to working with editor Don Skwar, someone I've known since he was the SE at the Boston Globe. And I also look forward to working with the baseball crew, including long-time friends Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, Jayson Stark, Peter Gammons, Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney, to name but a few of the outstanding people already there," Smith said.

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Harold Reynolds Hired by Major League Baseball

"Harold Reynolds was back talking about baseball Tuesday, hired as a broadcaster by MLB.com while he pursues his lawsuit against ESPN," Ronald Blum reported Tuesday for the Associated Press.

"Reynolds sued ESPN in October, contending he was wrongly fired after a female intern complained about what he called a 'brief and innocuous' hug. He had been with the network since 1996 and had a six-year contract that his lawsuit said was worth about $1 million annually.

"'I felt like it was personal. It hurt my family. It hurt my name, and it hurt everything I've worked for 30-some years,' he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. 'I felt like I was wrongfully accused and wrongfully painted, and I wanted to right that wrong.'

"Following next month's All-Star game, Reynolds is to appear on the Web site five times each week at 2 p.m. EDT."

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Akili Ramsess Moving from San Jose to Orlando

Akili Ramsess, deputy director of photography at the San Jose Mercury News, is joining the Orlando Sentinel as executive photo editor, starting July 6.

"Akili (pronouced a-keé-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 paperâ??s Pulitzer finalist for feature photography, the California recall election," Bonita Burton, associate managing editor/visuals at the Sentinel, told the staff. The references are to the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the Society of News Design.

"Akili has also played an important role in the Mercâ??s multimedia efforts. Sheâ??s studied digital film and video production and was selected as a Knight Center fellow in UC Berkeleyâ??s competitive multimedia program. This year San Joseâ??s photo staff won 'Best Use of the Web' honors from NPPA for 'truly pushing and evolving the medium.'

"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 Timesâ?? Pulitzer-winning coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. She also shares in a Pulitzer for feature photography for the APâ??s 1992 presidential campaign."

Ramsess, 49, succeeds Ken Lyons, who took a top photo editing job at the Denver Post. "I want to get in there and ramp up the multimedia and just take that photo department to the next level of prominence and visibility," she told Journal-isms. Ramsess plans to serve as photo director of student projects at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Las Vegas this summer.

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Calvin Sims Exits N.Y. Times for Ford Foundation

Calvin Sims, reporter for the New York Times since 1985 and among its most senior African American journalists, is joining the Ford Foundation's Media, Arts and Culture Unit as program officer for its News Media portfolio.

 

 

 

He is succeeding Jon Funabiki, who was deputy director of the unit and returned to San Francisco last year after 11 years in New York. Funibiki is now a journalism professor at San Francisco State University.

"Mr. Sims has had a long and distinguished career at the Times serving as an investigative reporter and foreign correspondent during the past 20 years," an internal announcement said.

"He has over 1,400 bylines with the Times, writing on such topics as guerrilla insurgencies in Latin America, the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult in Japan, political developments on the Korean peninsula and the advent of democracy in Indonesia. Over a span of 10 years, he headed the Times' Indonesia bureau, the Buenos Aires bureau and worked as a correspondent in Tokyo."

Sims has been producing "Conversations" for the Times' Web site. They are with people his boss, Lawrie Mifflin, called some "who had insightful things to say but who aren't typically interviewed or out on the lecture circuit at the moment." Sims was also reporter and co-producer of a documentary film, "Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia," that premiered on public television in April. He starts his new job Sept. 4.

Two weeks ago, Ronald Smothers, who has been with the Times for 35 years, said he was leaving to teach at the University of Delaware.

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Reporting Teen's Case Helped to "Right a Wrong"

"Genarlow Wilson, sentenced to 10 years in prison for receiving consensual oral sex in 2003 from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, was ready to walk out of prison Monday after a judge granted his appeal," as Jeremy Redmon reported Tuesday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"For journalists, it's one of those rare cases in our profession" where "we help to right a wrong," according to Aniika Young, 30, a CNN producer who has been working the story for months.

"It's a huge onion and we peeled it back layer by layer," said Young, who joined Atlanta-based CNN two years ago after beginning her journalism career in 1999. "I had no idea what this would turn into," Young said. "I took this story home with me, going through newspaper articles, going through blogs. Those images were going through my head." The students were "trying to emulate adult behavior and doing a bad job of it. There were times I just wanted to shake Genarlow, but I realize he was just a kid who made a bad choice."

As the Journal-Constitution story explained, "Wilson was originally charged with raping a 17-year-old at a party on New Year's Eve of 2003, but he was acquitted. He was found guilty of aggravated child molestation involving the 15-year-old girl, a crime that carried a minimum 10-year prison sentence under the law at the time. Four other male youths at the party pleaded guilty to child molestation of the 15-year-old and sexual battery of the 17-year-old. A fifth pleaded guilty to false imprisonment.

"Their party was captured on a profanity-laden and sexually graphic video filmed by one of the males. The video shows Wilson having intercourse with the 17-year-old and receiving oral sex from the 15-year-old," the story continued.

However, "Matt Towery, a Republican state House member from 1993 to 1997, said Monday it was never his intent to lock up teenagers involved in consensual sex acts when he authored the law in 1995 that Wilson was convicted under — the Child Protection Act."

After Monday's ruling, Wilson "was told he must remain behind bars while authorities decide if he should be granted bond while the attorney general's office appeals the judge's ruling. . . . The twists and turns in the case sent Wilson's attorneys and family through several emotional highs and lows," the story said.

"This has been a roller coaster ride for all of us," said Young.

Maybe Voters Hoped Jefferson Would Be Indicted

"All that anyone seems to remember about the re-election of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, is that the facts of his alleged corruption already had been well-established by the time he won the race," Lolis Eric Elie wrote on Monday in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"The assumption made by outsiders is that the people of Jefferson's district didn't feel that alleged corruption was a sufficient reason not to return Jefferson to Washington.

"That is a shallow analysis.

". . . after reading my Wednesday column on the Jefferson affair, one caller reminded me that some voters may have cast their ballots for Jefferson not only knowing, but hoping that Jefferson would be indicted.

"A Jefferson victory and subsequent indictment would probably mean a new election to fill the congressman's seat. In that event, perhaps other candidates might emerge who would prove more palatable than the field that ran against Jefferson last year.

"It seems a subtle, cynical analysis. But perhaps not so cynical when you think about how many Americans routinely vote against a candidate they don't like rather than for one they do like."

Children's, Immigration Issues Win Casey Medals

"The Philadelphia Inquirer's thorough documentation of a city agency's neglect of children it was charged with protecting, Dateline NBC's compelling profile of a first-year teacher, and The Washington Post's creative use of multimedia to enrich racial dialogue were among the winning entries in the 2007 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism," the Annie E. Casey Foundation announced.

Among the winners:

  • Beth Macy of the Roanoke (Va.) Times, for "Land of Opportunity", which homed in "on Hispanic immigrants opening Mexican restaurants, working the fields, hanging drywall and filling classrooms in southwestern Virginia's Roanoke Valley."
  • Elizabeth Hamilton and Tina Brown, Hartford Courant, for "From Pain, Family," which offered "timely and rare insights into same-sex relationships forged out of painful experiences instead of biological orientation."
  • Julia O'Malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Love, in Translation," which "sensitively conveys a young woman's heavy burdens in interpreting U.S. culture and the English language for her Laotian parents."
  • Multimedia team from the Washington Post, for "Being a Black Man," a Web site that "offers users a panoply of choices including video presentations, audio narratives and opinion blogs."
  • John Diaz and Pati Poblete of the San Francisco Chronicle for editorials on foster care that convinced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to significantly increase funding for the state's foster care system
  • Douglas McGray, Los Angeles Times/West Magazine, "The Invisibles," which documents the lonely underground community of illegal immigrant students in the University of California system.

 

 

The Web version of the "Being a Black Man" series also won a Peabody award, presented at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York on June 4. Post reporter Hamil R. Harris, who was part of the Web presentation, could not help but marvel at the symbolism: "Here was an award given from the University of Georgia, a state once known for having more lynchings than any other state in the union, recognizing a story like 'Being a Black Man,'" he told Journal-isms.

"When you're talking about diversity, you do see progress, but we must [publicize] the progress to give hope to people."

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College Challenges Unflattering Bill Maxwell Pieces

Stillman College, the subject of three Sunday pieces in the St. Petersburg Times by a disappointed Bill Maxwell, who quit his job to teach journalism there, is challenging Maxwell's description of the school.

"It would be easy to write a column on the inconsistencies alone in Maxwell's series," Albert Moore, the college's director of public relations, replied in Sunday's newspaper.

"Stillman, like many HBCUs today," he continued, referring to historically black colleges and universities, "is a place where many who might not otherwise attend college can get an opportunity to earn a degree. Still, current students entering classes have average ACT scores above the mean for African-Americans. Being poor with limited opportunities for cultural exposure cannot be correlated to the inability to perform as Maxwell implies. It does require heuristic teaching rather than the teacher-as-idol approach that Maxwell employed."

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Short Takes

  • The late Sam Chu Lin, reporter at KTTV-TV in Los Angeles, Asian Week and Rafu Shimpo; the late Chinn Ho, who owned the Honolulu Star Bulletin; Bobbi Bowman, diversity director, American Society of Newspaper Editors; and Dmae Roberts, executive producer, MediaRites Productions, are receiving top awards from the Asian American Journalists Association on Aug. 4 during its convention in Miami, AAJA announced.
  • "Do all balding black guys look the same to ABC News?" Brent Baker asked Tuesday on the Newsbusters Web site. "As anchor Charles Gibson teased a Tuesday 'World News' story, about DC administrative law judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against a Korean family's Washington, DC dry cleaning establishment over losing a pair of his pants, viewers saw video of what clearly appeared to be ex-DC Mayor Marion Barry." ABC News apologized.
  • "Fox spent half as much time covering the Iraq war [as] MSNBC during the first three months of the year, and considerably less than CNN, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism," David Bauder reported Monday for the Associated Press.
  • "Anzio Williams has quite a story to tell; for a journalist, the story of a lifetime. It's a tale of lives lost and of lives saved, of reporting under the harshest of conditions, of making decisions that would imperil his staff but ultimately serve an information-starved community," Sam McManis wrote in the Sacramento Bee, referring to Hurricane Katrina. Williams, now news director at KCRA-TV in Sacramento, held the same position at WDSU-TV in New Orleans.
  • "U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate on Monday tossed out a subpoena that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales personally authorized for prosecutors in the trial of reputed Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale," the Associated Press reported from Jackson, Miss. "The subpoena sought testimony from Jerry Mitchell, a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, about an interview he conducted with Seale seven years ago."
  • The Miami Herald began a series Sunday on Afro-Latin Americans called "A Rising Voice."
  • Veteran journalist Kenneth J. Cooper, who is directing the Maynard Institute's Editing Program at the University of Nevada, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to spend the spring semester at Cairo University in Egypt. The five-month grant supports a research project to evaluate the content of four Egyptian dailies—two government-run and two privately owned; two in English and two in Arabic, he said. Cooper has a feature in the June/July issue of Heart & Soul magazine, "Black and Blue: Understanding Depression in Our Men."
  • Keith Reed, Boston Globe business reporter, has started a blog, Ways-and-means, for AOL Black Voices, mostly about financial news and personal finance. "I'm still doing blackpeoplesmoney.com, and the hope is that doing both of them creates a one-two punch for me between more celeb/newsmaker-related business stuff on AOL and more nitty-gritty questions, answers and stories about real people on blackpeoplesmoney.com," he told Journal-isms.
  • Byron McCauley has settled into a new job as executive speechwriter for the Cintas Corp., Cincinnati-based maker of business uniforms, after more than four years as an editorial board member at the Cincinnati Enquirer. McCauley, 41, who has also worked at newspapers in Shreveport, La., Little Rock, Ark., and Hattiesburg, Miss., where he was editorial page editor, said public relations work was "just something I really wanted to explore. Anybody who has a journalistic background" will find his or her skills are transferable to any number of jobs, he told Journal-isms. McCauley left the Enquirer in April but continues to teach news writing and reporting at the University of Cincinnati.
  • In Nashville, "WKRN staff member Brittney Gilbert â?? who was likely Nashville's first full-time blogger to be gainfully employed by a news outlet â?? left the station quickly Wednesday in the wake of staff changes and recent controversies," Amy Griffith reported for the Nashville City Paper on June 7. Gilbert attributed her departure to blogosphere fallout after she linked to and quoted a post that used the term "house negro" and other racial slurs in a description of Steve Gilliard, an African American blogger who died June 2.
  • In Houston, a personal blog by Isiah Carey, Fox 26 news reporter, has garnered attention around town, Andrew Guy Jr. reported in the Houston Chronicle. "'Insite' includes community announcements, party coverage and Associated Press news stories that he finds odd or interesting, like that of the death-row inmate who wants to go out with a joke. Gossip and rumors also find a home on Insite, including items he is unable to pin down for his Fox 26 reports." Also, Anthony Wilson of WTVD-TV in Raleigh/Durham, N.C., has started blogging for his station.
  • As of Tuesday, "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" has been a fixture on the Maynard Institute Web site for five years. It debuted here on June 12, 2002.

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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