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Roland Martin Out at CNN

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pundit Says New Boss "Wants His Own Peeps"

Pundit Says New Boss "Wants His Own Peeps"

Roland Martin told his Twitter followers Tuesday that his last day as a CNN commentator will be April 6, ending speculation about his fate under new CNN President Jeff Zucker.

"Roland I am really missing not hearing your view point on @CNN," a Twitter follower wrote. Martin replied, "Sorry. Can't book myself. My last day at @cnn is April 6."

Responding to a tweeter's question about why he is leaving the network, Martin explained that the "new boss wants his own peeps," referring to Zucker and the recent wave of changes at the network.

Roland Martin

Martin sent this message to Journal-isms:

"My agents notified me that they had been informed that at the conclusion of the two month extension granted in February, my last day at CNN would be April 6.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my little over six years there. There are many folks I will miss dearly, especially wonderful colleagues like Josanne Lopez, Soledad O'Brien, Ali Velshi, and so many bookers and producers.

"But I also miss the folks I tried to speak for and represent the most when I was on the air: the men and the women who worked on the crew; the security guards; and even the janitorial workers. Those were the people I most spoke for; those were the people who would cheer me on as I walked down the streets, in the grocery store; and at airports.

"I have had the likes of Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, and others in sports and entertainment thank me for being an unwavering and unapologetic voice of truth, and unwilling to back down when someone needed to stand up.

"Before I signed with CNN, I sat in the lobby of 1 Time Warner Center and said, 'God, if it's your will to be here, then so be it.' I said the same these last two months.

"I've worked hard to ensure that my voice wasn't heard in one place. I will continue with my show on TV One, a network I was with before CNN; will continue my daily segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show; and will continue my nationally syndicated column.

"In my final days at CNN when I'm on the air, I will to do as the Tuskegee Airmen did, fight to the last hour, last minute, last second, for what is right. And I will do that as long as there is breath in my body."

CNN has increasingly turned to Van Jones, former Obama administration "green czar," as its African American male commentator during special events.

A CNN spokeswoman said that Donna Brazile has re-signed her contract with the network and named these other commentators of color: Jones, Ana Navarro, Charles Blow and Cornell Belcher.

Public Notices Skimpier News Reports

March 18, 2013

Nearly One-Third in Survey Report Deserting News Outlet

. . . "Difficult Year at Best" for African American Media

Film on Latino Immigration Seeking National TV Audience

CNN Criticized for Steubenville Rape Coverage

Philadelphia Magazine Editor Faces Critics at Forum

Some Blacks Make Self-Defense Case for Guns

Columnist Says Fix Is In: Affirmative Action for Whites

Pundits Differ Over Crackdown on Sugary Soft Drinks

Three Hired at CNN

Short Takes

Credit: Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism

Nearly One-Third in Survey Report Deserting News Outlet

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Monday documented "a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands.

"And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to."

"The State of the News Media 2013 — An Annual Report on American Journalism" continued, "At the same time, newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media. They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.

"So far, this trend has emerged most clearly in the political sphere, particularly with the biggest story of 2012 — the presidential election.

"A Pew Research Center analysis revealed that campaign reporters were acting primarily as megaphones, rather than as investigators, of the assertions put forward by the candidates and other political partisans. That meant more direct relaying of assertions made by the campaigns and less reporting by journalists to interpret and contextualize them. . . ."

The report identified six major trends:

  • "The effects of a decade of newsroom cutbacks are real – and the public is taking notice.

  • "The news industry continues to lose out on the bulk of new digital advertising.

  • "The long-dormant sponsorship ad category is seeing sharp growth.

  • "The growth of paid digital content experiments may have a significant impact on both news revenue and content.

  • "While the first and hardest-hit industry, newspapers, remains in the spotlight, local TV finds itself newly vulnerable.

  • "Hearing about things in the news from friends and family, whether via social media or actual word of mouth, leads to deeper news consumption."

. . . "Difficult Year at Best" for African American Media

"The story about how African American-oriented news media coped last year was a difficult one at best," Emily Guskin, Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz reported in a section of "The State of American Media."

They said in "African American: A Year of Turmoil and Opportunity":

"In the newspaper sector, many historic African American publications both lost circulation and struggled to find advertising revenue. The Chicago Defender, for example, declined in circulation and laid off two editors because of reduced advertising.

"On television, a platform African Americans turn to for news at even greater rates than Americans over all, news continues to fight for a place in African American programming.

"While several new channels geared toward African Americans emerged in 2012, only one of them planned any news content. Still, BET, the most popular channel geared toward a black audience, gave a news talk show yet another try and TV One, another channel aimed at African Americans, partnered with NBC in coverage of the 2012 presidential election.

"In radio, African American voices became even scarcer in 2012. Black-owned radio stations continued to wither in number and several programs hosted by major African American personalities went off the air. The year also witnessed the consolidation of two of the largest black radio networks," referring to Radio One, Inc.'s consolidation of its Syndication One Urban programming line-up with Reach Media, Inc.

"As traditional media become more difficult to maintain, the digital world offered some hope. African American-oriented websites continue to develop, and survey data suggest, moreover, that African Americans are more likely than web users over all to access social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

"The handful of African American magazines that carry at least some news had different stories to tell in 2012. One of the most popular, Ebony, enjoyed a solid rebound after years of decreasing circulation, but other magazines did not fare nearly as well. . . ."

An immigrant march as seen in the Peter Getzels and Eduardo López documentary “H

Film on Latino Immigration Seeking National TV Audience

The makers of "Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America," a documentary about the reasons behind Latino immigration to the U.S. mainland, are seeking a television network outlet even as the film wends its way around the country in movie theaters, one of the principals told Journal-isms on Monday.

"We decided to do the theatrical release first to generate buzz," Wendy Thompson-Marquez, a co-producer of the film, said. "We are currently reaching out to several networks in hopes to get some carriage."

"Harvest of Empire," based on a 1999 book by Juan Gonzalez, columnist for the Daily News in New York, co-host of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" and founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, tells the story of migration to the mainland United States from Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Gonzalez serves as the film's narrator. The documentary makes liberal use of news footage from the past few decades in making the case that U.S. intervention in each jurisdiction created the conditions that caused residents to emigrate.

It is a useful primer, especially for journalists, and such reporters as Maria Hinojosa, Gonzalez and Geraldo Rivera are among the participants.

The movie's current tour, which began March 1 in Phoenix, opens in San Diego on March 22; in Denver April 6; Chicago, April 19; Houston, May 3; and Philadelphia on a date to date to be determined. It began a run in Washington on Friday, through March 28, and has played in New York; Santa Fe, N.M.; San Francisco; and Berkeley, Calif.

" 'Harvest of Empire' has a journalistic pedigree and a punch that comes from political advocacy," Rachel Saltz wrote last September in the New York Times.

CNN Criticized for Steubenville Rape Coverage

"CNN's coverage of the verdict in the Steubenville rape case appeared to be curiously weighted on Sunday, focusing on the effect the guilty verdict would have on the lives of the now-convicted rapists and their families, rather than that of the victim and her family," Kia Makarechi reported for the Huffington Post.

 Trent Mays, top, and Ma'lik Richmond, were found guilty. Poet and essayist Ishm

"Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were accused of raping a severely intoxicated 16-year-old West Virginia girl who also attends the Ohio school. Thousands of text messages introduced in the case presented a picture of teens swapping graphic stories about the assault.

"In a Sunday afternoon segment, anchor Fredricka Whitfield followed the straight news of the guilty verdict (which she described as rape occurring 'after a night of heavy partying') by showing the rapists' parents' weeping in court. Footage of Richmond, his mother and father offering emotional appeals to the victim's family dominated the segment.

"Whitfield threw the story to reporter Poppy Harlow, but not before reiterating that Mays and Richmond's 'family members tried their hardest to plead for some forgiveness from the victim's family, as well as from the judge. . . .' "

Philadelphia Magazine Editor Faces Critics at Forum

"Philadelphia Magazine editor Tom McGrath and Robert Huber, author of the controversial 'Being White in Philly' cover story, faced their critics at a forum Monday night at the National Constitution Center," Robert Moran reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sixx King of Philadelphia addresses the panel Monday that discussed Philadelphia"McGrath opened by saying he was sorry to anybody who was hurt by the article because that was not his intent, but he did not regret publishing the story.

"Huber told the packed auditorium of about 200 that the purpose of the article was to explore 'how white people relate to black people in the inner city, or don't relate to them.'

"In his piece, Huber wrote: 'We need to bridge the conversational divide so that there are no longer two private dialogues in Philadelphia — white people talking to other whites, and black people to blacks — but a city in which it is okay to speak openly about race."

"The cover story, however, was criticized for dwelling on negative experiences that whites had with blacks that often fit into racial stereotypes.

"In a scathing letter, Mayor [Michael] Nutter last week requested that the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission consider whether the magazine and Huber deserve to be rebuked for the article.

"Nutter said Huber ignored positive anecdotes 'to feed his own misguided perception' that African Americans are 'lazy, shiftless, irresponsible, and largely criminal.'

"McGrath served as a moderator for a panel that included Huber, journalists Solomon Jones and Christopher Norris, People's Emergency Center president Farah Jimenez, and University of Pennsylvania lecturer Walter Palmer, who teaches about racism and social change."

The story added, "When Editor Tom McGrath was questioned about his staff's lack of diversity, he replied: 'I'm committed to having a more diverse staff' and 'I am committed to do something.' "

Some Blacks Make Self-Defense Case for Guns

"While African-Americans on either side of the debate agree gun violence is a scourge in the inner-city, they disagree on another vital fact: whether gun control hurts more than it helps," Claire Gordon wrote Monday for HuffPost BlackVoices.

Gordon quoted Yale University sociology professor Elijah Anderson, "These black people living in these hyper-ghettos feel like they're on their own." Anderson is author of the classic "Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City" and has spent most of his adult life studying these communities.

" 'To protect yourself from criminals, to protect your daughter, to protect your son, you have to show this person in no uncertain terms that if the police don't deal with you, I'll deal with you. I'll kick your ass,' he told The Huffington Post. 'This is a decent person who goes to church. An old lady who's 65 years old, who has a gun.'

"For many black gun rights activists, policies that disarm minorities eerily echo old racist claims that blacks were unfit for citizenship. Throughout the country's history, it's been harder for minorities to get their hands on firearms. . . ."

Columnist Says Fix Is In: Affirmative Action for Whites

Emil Guillermo

"Waiting for the Supreme Court ruling in Fisher? Forget it. The fix is in," Emil Guillermo wrote Monday on his blog for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "Affirmative Action for Whites is coming as more colleges use class to trump race in college admissions.

"Didn't you read the front page of the New York Times on Sunday?

"The right column front is always where editors place 'the big story,' and there on the right column was the story on the new report that is likely to redefine affirmative action as it's practiced now — regardless of what the Supreme Court does on the Fisher case.

"The headline, 'Better Colleges Failing to Lure Poorer Strivers,' (that's the slightly different headline in my national edition), and its subhead, 'Qualified but Unaware; Study Says Most Don't Apply Despite Skills, Hurting Diversity,' isn't exactly as earth shattering as, say, 'Budget issues solved; GOP comes to its senses; World Peace next."

"But you'd understand it to be front page news, if they just gave the news to us straight: 'Influential report to become new justification for affirmative action — for white people.'

"That's a big deal.

"The comprehensive national study by two longtime Harvard and Stanford researchers analyzed everyone who took the SAT recently.

"What they found was that only 34 percent of low-income students (defined as students from families with incomes under $41,472) attended the country's 238 most selective colleges.

"Meanwhile, 78 percent of students from families earning more than $120,776, attended the best schools. . . . "

Pundits Differ Over Crackdown on Sugary Soft Drinks

"As obesity and diabetes batter African-American and Latino communities, advocacy groups should be a fortress against the efforts by soda companies to defeat legislation to tax or place limits on their products," Derrick Z. Jackson wrote Saturday for the Boston Globe. "Instead, too many of them are allies of the soda industry.

"The most recent example was this week, when a New York state judge struck down the 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks about to go into effect in New York City. Joining the beverage industry in opposing the law was the New York state chapter of the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, a Northeast coalition of community service agencies.

"The organizations said the law discriminated against small-business owners of color. They did have a small point because regulatory limits exempted supermarkets and convenience stores. But if civil rights groups were truly concerned about obesity, they would have appealed to convenience stores to voluntarily join the ban. . . ."

Other columnists of color disagreed. Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote in the Miami Herald that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban was "the very definition of liberalism run amok, a good idea (people should limit their intake of sugary soft drinks) driven headlong into the weeds of overkill, over regulation and basic preposterousness. The resemblance to conservative extremism and its resort to unwieldy laws to govern behaviors it disapproves (did someone say transvaginal ultrasound?), is doubtless unintended, but no less real even so. . . ."

Three Hired at CNN

Pamela Brown, left, George Howell and Alina Machado have joined CNN as correspondents, the network announced Monday. "Brown will report primarily for CNN's new morning program and will be based in New York. Howell will report for the network and will be based out of Chicago. Machado will report for CNN, CNN en Español and CNN Latino, and will be based in Atlanta." (Credit: CNN)

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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Philadelphia Magazine/The only black person in the room

Kudos to Adrienne Simpson for her forthright and incisive dissection of Philadelphia Magazine ("The Only Black Person In The Room") and it's utter failure in its foray into exploring race and race-relations in the City of Philadelphia ("Being White In Philadelphia"). Too bad she's not on their editorial staff.

With their current track record for hiring and retaining people of color, I doubt she'll be with their marketing staff much longer.

Roland Martin Out at CNN

For Zucker having both Martin & Van Jones is 2 black men too many. Jones isn't Zucker's "peeps" either, I'm sure he's aware of that, but the rest of us will see before long.

CNN needs swift changes top to bottom

CNN needs major overhaul. They have lost all credibility. Even the network's entertainment value suffers. It is no longer the place to turn first. Beyond Martin, Anderson Cooper and especially Piers Morgan kills all interest in the network. Network news has regained it's viewership as CNN slept through many stories. Clean house and clean it quick.


"CNN has increasingly turned to Van Jones, former Obama administration "green czar," as its African American male commentator during special events."

We need to stop considering one person as the "african american voice." We are of many opinions just like the rest of society. They put us in a box and darn if we don't close the lid. Break free.

CPAC Activism reaps benefits

I was a rare sight @ CPAC the prime conservative confab of the year in National Harbor, MD. My inquiries into the absence of Blacks at the convention contributed to the announcement by the RNC to implement a 10 million dollar out reach campaign to include more Blacks into the GOP.

My firm looks forward to our continued role in this crucial objective to expand the demographics and platforms of the GOP with Black Americans as significant components of the GOP.

RNC officials can contact us @

Plane Ideas
Washington DC
Attention: Outreach Department

Black media ignore coverage of economics at their peril

The chart presented above, regarding changes in media coverage from 2005 to 2012, shows a substantial increase in business news. Every election the American people proclaim the economy as the top issue of concern. Yet, despite the evidence, Black media continue to largely ignore this issue. Or, perhaps some publishers and editors believe "business" news means coverage of the stock market. I would point them to Techcrunch, Mashable, Venturebeat, PEhub and other successful business media that have risen to meteoric success over the past decade.

The readers of Black media lack insightful empowering information on what's happening in their local innovation ecosystems. And if you're scratching your head after that last sentence, you're demonstrating exactly why Black media is plummeting. They are becoming increasingly irrelevant in a knowledge-based, tech-driven innovation economy where multi-tasking savvy audiences want information that empowers them, not merely entertains them. Black media should take heed (if they want to survive).

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