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Robert Ruggles Retiring as Florida A&M University Journalism Dean

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Robert Ruggles Retiring as FAMU J-Dean

Robert Ruggles is resigning as founding dean of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, one of the leading journalism schools at a historically black college, he told the faculty today. The news was first reported last night by the student newspaper, The Famuan.

Associate Dean James Hawkins was named interim dean.

Ruggles, who is white, established the first accredited journalism program at a historically black university. He started the journalism program in 1974 and became dean of the new school in 1982. The program was accredited that year.

Among the school's graduates is Kimberly Godwin, who in July left KNBC-TV Los Angeles as vice president and news director, after being one of the few African American women to hold such a position. She has just returned to the school as an adjunct professor while she works on a graduate degree, Ruggles told Journal-isms.

Ruggles, who turned 64 in July, said he will be leaving the campus on Sept. 29, choosing this moment because "we have a $4 million deficit" on the school's new journalism building and "I'm out of gas." He's raised $4.5 million to $5 million, he said, and "someone else needs to come in" to finish the job. "My students deserve this building like nobody else," he said.

Moreover, Ruggles said he was concerned about the university's move to become the first historically black institution to play Division I-A football, saying that in his experience -- he came from the University of Oklahoma -- such a status siphons money from academics.

It was apparent that Ruggles and the university administration were at odds over funding for the journalism building and that that might have prompted Ruggles' retirement. Herbert Bailey, the university provost's assistant in budget and fiscal affairs, said Ruggles was frustrated about his budget in a recent conversation.

When Ruggles came to FAMU in 1974, its future was uncertain. When he was asked what the school needed, he said he submitted a 19-page memo, single-spaced.

"I came here because I saw a challenge," he said. "I had an opportunity to start something from scratch and not to [deal with] somebody else's mistakes. I came here with my eyes wide open. I knew there were major cultural differences, but I think by and large I've managed to get along with everybody. I'm pretty impatient, no matter what color you are, if they don't do their jobs or do it sloppily."

His legacy will include, Ruggles told Journal-isms, raising at least $15 million for the school, developing good scholarship and faculty development programs, "thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation," having both parts of the school -- journalism and graphic arts -- accredited, garnering a national reputation, constructing the building, and attracting "a damn good faculty." In 1997, the school received a $3 million grant -- the largest private gift in the school's history -- from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the new building.

Ruggles estimated that 11,000 to 12,000 students have gone through the journalism school, and said 550 are there now. In 1999, Ruggles was named The Freedom Forum Journalism Administrator of the Year.

Bob Johnson Scolds Cable Over "Benign Neglect"

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, says the cable industry "treats black-oriented programming with benign neglect. They really don't believe it is a revenue driver. Most of the programming decision-makers don't identify with it. They feel they have a black subscriber base without any programming that appeals to them."

In a q-and-a with Broadcasting & Cable, Johnson said that, "for example, four or five years back, I wanted to create a black family channel. We developed a program model, proposed several types of structures, a C-SPAN- type -- joint ownership with the industry and BET -- or another where [operators] would share in the upside revenue after we recouped programming costs. We got it endorsed by every civil rights and social organization you could imagine. And we got absolutely no takers for the concept."

Johnson continued: "The cable industry ought to put dollars behind BET and TV One. There should be a black pay cable channel right alongside HBO and Showtime. It would stimulate the production of black feature films; films could be placed theatrically, then put on the pay service and then sold into syndication and later on cable.

"It is not a matter of lack of demand on the part of black subscribers. It is the gatekeepers who are denying access in many cases to these kinds of opportunities."

Rodgers: A Channel Black Adults Can Call Their Own

Meanwhile, Business Week's David Liss talked with Johnathan Rodgers, CEO of TV One, the Radio One-Comcast cable venture that Rodgers says is targeting an older African American demographic than does BET:

"If you look at HBO, blacks comprise 13% of the general U.S. population, yet comprise 20% of the HBO network's subscribers. African Americans appreciate high-quality television," Rodgers says. "Yet, in the 50 years since television became a commercial force in this country, African-American adults have never had a destination point or a TV channel they can call their own."

Macon Sports Anchor Faces Charges in Fatal Crash

Macon, Ga., television sports anchor Ken Jones faces criminal charges in an Aug. 17 head-on collision that killed a woman, the Macon Telegraph reports.

Jones, 29, who works for WMAZ-TV, was expected to turn himself in Thursday at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center, Bibb County sheriff's Lt. Wayne Ennis said Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

"Jones faces charges of felony vehicular homicide and DUI in the wreck that killed 48-year-old Ida Kathleen Buchhamer of Macon.

"Test results show that Jones' blood-alcohol level was 0.18, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, Ennis said. Officials are still waiting on test results to see if Jones had any drugs in his system at the time of the accident, said Ennis," the paper reported.

According to the bio on the station's Web site, Jones, originally from the Philadelphia area, attended the University of Maryland and worked at WUSA-TV in Washington and the CTV cable station in Prince George's County, Md., before joining the Macon station on Jan. 2.

Native Columnist's Debut Hits Piece on Black Indians

McAuliffe's Redlines, "a weekly look at Native American 'hed'lines" made its debut this week on the Reznetnews.org Web site with a critique of an opinion column by New York Times editorial writer Brent Staples on black Indians.

The author is Denny McAuliffe, Osage, project director of reznet, which features "newz and viewz by Native American students," and who teaches at the University of Montana School of Journalism.

McAuliffe argues that Staples' analysis was incomplete, and goes on to look at pieces in Washington Technology, the New York Daily News, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and San Francisco Chronicle.

Zimbabwe Court Grants Paper an OK to Publish . . .

"Zimbabwe's beleaguered Daily News newspaper has won a court victory allowing it to resume publishing, after police twice raided its offices and confiscated equipment," reports the U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks, carried on allafrica.com

"The Zimbabwe High Court on Thursday granted an order sought by the Daily News, the country's sole independent daily newspaper, barring police from seizing equipment and giving it permission to continue operating while its registration was being processed."

It was the latest development in the crackdown on the news media by President Robert Mugabe. "On Friday last week, heavily armed riot police and security details from the Law and Order Section and the Central Intelligence Organisation occupied the eight-storey building housing the newspaper's offices in central Harare, as well as the newspaper's printing factory in the industrial area of the city," the report continued.

"More than 100 computers were seized from the newspaper's offices on Tuesday as police continued their crackdown."

. . . As Zimbabwean Edits Campus Paper in N.C.

"What is being reported in the papers is just a fraction" of what is happening in his home country, says Lovemore Masakadza, who introduced himself this week to students at North Carolina Central University in Durham as editor of The Campus Echo.

The news media, restricted in their movements, cannot report the repression taking place in much of the country, he told Journal-isms. Masakadza, left Zimbabwe in 2000 because of the "political problems" there, and chose to study journalism at a historically black college in the States because "I thought I would feel at home; I would find a lot of things in common." He says he hasn't been disappointed.

A junior, Masakadza says that writing about Zimbabwe doesn't fit in with his role at the paper, although he is glad to discuss the subject. And he says he wants to go back home, but not until circumstances change.

Study Finds Gay Stereotypes in Catholic Coverage

"An examination of more than 1,300 newspaper reports on the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has revealed the coverage reinforced inaccurate and misleading stereotypes of homosexual men as child abusers, a new study by a homosexual advocacy group says," reports the Cybercast News Service.

"The linking of homosexuality and child sexual abuse in stories by Boston Globe reporters during 2002 was not necessarily intentional, said psychologists Dr. Glenda Russell and Nancy Kelly, authors of 'Subtle Stereotyping: The Media, Homosexuality and the Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal.'

"However, 'Linkages don't have to be intentional to be harmful,'" Russell, a senior researcher with the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, said in a release.

Read the report (PDF)

Marquette's Rose Richard Honored for Diversity

Rose Richard, assistant dean at the College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, was honored today with the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship "in recognition of an educator's outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism."

The award was presented by the National Conference of Editorial Writers at its annual convention in Providence, R.I. It comes with an honorarium of $1,000.

As NCEW Diversity Committee chair, this columnist chaired the panel that recommended Richard, who has been at Marquette for 21 years. In one testimonial, Matthew Johnson, executive director of the Strive Media Institute wrote: "Each year, 20 to 30 black students are enrolled in the college's journalism and broadcast journalism sequences. Rose tries to know all of them. While the college has occasionally had black adjunct instructors, until last year, Rose was the college's only full-time black administrator or faculty member.

"She had directed the college's urban journalism workshop for high school students for 15 of the program's total 17 years." Added Eugene Kane, columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association, "Rose is considered the journalistic 'momma' for a legion of young black writers and editors."

Past winners include James Hawkins of Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa of Howard University (1992); Ben Holman of the 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 of Penn State (2001) and Cheryl Smith, adjunct professor at Paul Quinn College (2002).

Spanish-Language Daily to Debut in San Diego

Healy Media Inc., led by Mexican publisher Jose Santiago Healy, intends to launch a Spanish-language daily next month, reports KNSD-TV, the NBC station in San Diego, Calif.

"Diario Latino, which will be based in Chula Vista, will circulate Monday through Friday and target Hispanic readers in San Diego and southern San Diego County, the newspaper said. Plans call for an average of 32 tabloid-size pages, 30 percent in full color. The newsstand price will be 25 cents .

"Diario Latino's editorial department will be led by Alejandro Maciel, a journalist formerly with the Orange County Excelsior, Diario La Prensa, of New York, People en Espanol and the San Diego weekly El Latino."

Fernandez Named GM of Chicago Telemundo Station

Eduardo (Ed) Fernandez has been named vice president and general manager for Telemundo's WSNS, Channel 44 in Chicago, the network announces.

"Fernandez has almost 20 years of broadcast experience. He has been VP and General Manager of WXMI, FOX Channel 17 in Grand Rapids, Michigan since May 1999 where he was responsible for all station operations," the announcement said.

Chicago Investors Buy La Raza Newspaper

"In the latest development in Chicago's competitive Spanish-language newspaper market, a Hispanic-owned venture capital fund bought a controlling stake in Chicago's biggest Spanish-language weekly, La Raza, just days after the Chicago Tribune relaunched its 10-year-old free weekly Exito as a paid daily called Hoy," reports Mark Fitzgerald in Editor & Publisher.

New Spanish-Language TV Station Based in Miami

Starting Sept. 29, Florida will have a new Spanish-language television station, WDLP-TV22, reports Daisy Pareja on the Breves site of tvspy.com

Its on-air line-up "includes high-profile journalists like Marí¡ Elvira Salazar, Father Alberto Cutie, Ricardo Brown and Guillermo Descalzi. This becomes South Florida's sixth commercial channel broadcasting in Spanish. The new station will air in channel 55 in the Miami-Dade and Monroe counties and its headquarters will be in Miami initially reaching 1.2 million households in three counties," she reports.

Joe Duke Named CBS Director of Recruitment

Joe Duke, director of marketing at CBS Newspath, the CBS news service, since November 1998, has been named director of recruitment for CBS News.

In a news release, Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president, news coverage, said that Duke, who is white, will "work with senior management to identify and recruit top broadcast journalists for positions at CBS News. He also will work with CBS affiliates through CBS Newspath, the Network's 24-hour news service, as an assistant director of news.

?Joe has an uncanny ability to find strong journalists who are also distinctive broadcasters," said McGinnis. "It's no surprise that many of the reporters he recruited as a big-market news director and later as an executive at CBS Newspath are now working on network broadcasts. Joe's new mandate is to recruit the best and brightest journalists to CBS News, while keeping a constant eye towards further diversification of our staff."

Cash Prizes Offered in Headline-Writing Contest

"Copy editors can compete for a share of $1,200 in cash to be awarded to the winners of the headline-writing contest sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society," the society announces.

"ACES has sponsored a headline contest for several years, but this is the first time that cash prizes have been offered.

"Also for the first time this year, copy editors who are not members of ACES will be allowed to enter the contest." More details on the ACES Web site.

Al Neuharth Media Center Dedicated Next Week

The Freedom Forum will dedicate the state-of-the-art Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota with two days of public events Wednesday, Sept. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 25, the university announces.

"The refurbished building is the new home to all of USD's media and journalism organizations as well as South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the Native American Journalists Association and the Freedom Forum's journalism and scholarship programs. All events are free and open to the public."

The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information.

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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