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The Source Magazine, Kicked Out

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Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Hip-Hop Publication Evicted from N.Y. Digs

"The Source, the embattled hip-hop magazine, is apparently now a magazine without an office after it was forced out of its latest digs on West 23rd Street," Keith J. Kelly reported today in the New York Post.

"The Source is accused of not paying $156,000 in back rent to Forbes Inc., which subleased the office space that was originally used by its Forbes.com, as Media Ink reported back on Oct. 28.

"The dispute was revealed in court papers filed by lender Textron Financial Corp., which is trying to force The Source into receivership after it claimed the media company defaulted on an $18 million loan.

"'They were supposed to voluntarily leave by the close of business Tuesday, or they would be evicted on Thursday,' said a Forbes spokeswoman yesterday. 'The [marshals] would have gone in on Dec. 8, per a court order,' she said.

Forbes spokeswoman Monie Begley confirmed for Journal-isms today that Forbes evicted the hip-hip magazine.

"A Source insider said it was moving to new space at 77 Broadway, but the site was not going to be available for at least another month, essentially leaving the mag homeless," Kelly continued.

"Source CEO David Mays and its president and sometime rap artist Ray 'Benzino' Scott ordered all staffers to work from home."

As reported last week, a Village Voice cover story by Aina Hunter, "The Source Under Fire: Here's Your Guide to the Lawsuits, Criminal Charges, and Beefs," catalogs the magazine's troubles.

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Globe Editor "Worked Very Hard" to Keep Diversity

Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, said tonight the paper "worked very hard" to minimize the impact of the staff downsizing on newsroom diversity, and that he was sorry to be losing National Editor Kenneth J. Cooper, who is "certainly a valued member of this editorial staff" whom he enjoyed working with.

Cooper is the paper's highest African American line editor.

"Fifty percent of our hires this year were minorities, 21 percent were African American," he told Journal-isms. "The reality is, if we'd gone to layoffs, the impact on our diversity here would have been drastic." Under Newspaper Guild rules, he said, those with the least seniority would have gone first. He said the paper hired 24 newsroom professionals this year, meaning five were African American.

The New York Times Co., parent company of the Globe, announced Sept. 20 that it planned to undertake staff reductions that would affect approximately 500 employees, about 4 percent of its total workforce.

In the newsroom, the Globe accepted the applications of 36 employees for buyouts, eliminating the need for layoffs, Baron said. Of the 36, "three are minorities": Renee Graham, who writes about pop culture, Tatsha Robertson, New York bureau chief, and Tito Stevens, a sports copy editor. Contrary to a list circulated Nov. 21 and reported in this space then, Shirley Jobe of the Living section did not take the buyout, he said.

The paper did eliminate Cooper's department, however. Cooper said Monday that he had been offered other jobs at the Globe, but really wanted the op-ed columnist's position being vacated by Tom Oliphant. However, Cooper said he was told the paper was not going to replace Oliphant. Baron confirmed that account.

Baron also challenged as inaccurate a quote in Monday's column that "the Boston Globe, for now, will be without a black person physically at our news meetings who is a department head who actually runs reporters."

He mentioned Ann Scales, deputy living editor, and Reginald Myers, graphics editor, as meeting participants. He said by e-mail that Joe Williams of the Washington bureau "will be participating in our news meetings via speaker phone because all national coverage, including washington coverage, will be run from there."

Baron also said Sang Foon Rhee, city editor, Fiona Luis, assistant managing editor for features, Kim Chapin-Campbell, deputy director of photography, participate. All are Asian American.

Other journalists said the issue was power. "It's still not the AMEs and DMEs," one said privately, speaking of the lack of black journalists at a level that includes assistant managing editors and above – seven deputy managing editors, the editorial page editor and deputy, the managing editor, the executive editor and the editor. As for the 50 percent figure for this year's new hires, "The point is not who was hired, but for what jobs," this person said.

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Vargas Remembers Being Called "Lousy Anchor"

The day after she was named new co-anchor of ABC-TV's "World News Tonight," Elizabeth Vargas was applauded by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and she recalled in interviews those who said she would never make it as an anchor.

"'This is never a job that I set my sights on,' Vargas recalled Tuesday," Phil Rosenthal wrote in the Chicago Tribune. "'I worked in three local news markets and in every single one of them, they said: 'You're a lousy anchor. We would love to renew your contract and have you be our lead reporter here, but we're not going to have you anchor.'"

Vargas worked in in Reno and Phoenix before starting in Chicago at WBBM-TV in the early 1990s, Rosenthal wrote.

News of her appointment dominated the Web site of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "Kudos to Ms. Vargas for all the hard work that's gotten her this far," said Iván Román, NAHJ's executive director, on the site. "Talented journalists always represent us well and it's wonderful to have a Hispanic woman in one of the most visible news positions in the country. We congratulate Elizabeth and we congratulate ABC News for recognizing her talent and taking this step."

Though not a member of NAHJ, Vargas, raised by a Puerto Rican father and Irish-American mother, called herself a "minority" in a story Tuesday, but stressed, "It's important to have a woman be successful in this role."

The Columbia Missourian noted that Vargas attended the University of Missouri from 1980 to 1984, earning a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, and quoted Dave Dugan, a former MU journalism professor who served as an adviser to students, saying, "I've never seen somebody with so much energy. She was skipping and always moving. She never walked."

Philadelphia Inquirer television columnist Gail Shister interviewed Connie Chung, "whose forced partnership with CBS's Dan Rather went down in flames a decade ago."

Because Vargas, 43, and Bob Woodruff, 44, are starting out together, they have better odds to succeed, Chung, 59, told Shister.

"She and Bob have the opportunity to kick off a coanchor team equally, and with equality, as a real partnership. . . . It's very difficult to join a work in progress," Chung said in Shister's column.

On Tuesday, Jacques Steinberg and Bill Carter of the New York Times were among those reporting that the naming of Vargas and Woodruff came "only after the network failed to reach agreement with one of its biggest stars, Charles Gibson of 'Good Morning America.'"

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First Piece from SAJA Project on Tsunami Aftermath

If people worry that the public has forgotten about the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which landed at the end of August, imagine what the victims of the tsunami, which roiled the Indian Ocean states nearly a year ago, must think.

The South Asian Journalists Association anticipated the short attention span. It announced it would fund up to $10,000 this year for reporting fellowships to support in-depth reporting projects on the aftermath of the tsunami. Winners were announced in August.

The first piece to be published, filed from Tharangambadi, India, by Ken Moritsugu, has been posted. A link is provided on the SAJA Web site to one of a number of Knight Ridder Web sites that published it.

"Nearly a year after the tsunami raced across the Indian Ocean, bringing devastation to 13 countries and killing an estimated 225,000 people, international aid agencies have learned a bitter lesson: Not everyone can be helped equally," wrote Moritsugu, a Knight Ridder special correspondent.

"What's happened here also has happened elsewhere: Those who already were relatively well off are doing better with assistance from international donors, while those who were struggling before the tsunami often still are struggling."

Sandeep Junnarkar, who teaches online journalism as a visiting professor at Indiana University and SAJA spokesman for the project, said the organization awarded $1,800 to Moritsugu, which supplemented his Knight Ridder income. Next will come photographs from Ami Vitale, and visual journalism from documentarians Jonathan Jones and Jigar Mehta. A writing/photography project by Adrian Fisk and Michael McPhate fell through when they could not get visas to the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The National Association of Black Journalists announced this month it is funding an NABJ Gulf Coast Fellowship, in which five NABJ members will receive funding up to $2,500 to report and prepare print, broadcast, multimedia, video and audio pieces that "tell the stories of black people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

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Lawyer Sees Break in Mumia Abu-Jamal Case

"Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued the most important decision affecting my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, since the lower federal court ruling in December 2001," attorney Robert R. Bryan wrote in an e-mail Tuesday, posted today on The Black World Today Web site, among others.

"An order was issued this morning that the court will accept for review the following issues, all of which are of enormous constitutional significance and go to the very essence of Mumia's right to a fair trial due process of law, and equal protection of the law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution," he said.

Abu-Jamal, a former president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists who was working as a taxi driver, was convicted of killing a policeman in 1982. His case has been a rallying point for death-penalty opponents and those who say he deserves a new trial.

"The case is now on the fast track, as I have been predicting," Bryan said in his note.

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Debate Over Stanley Tookie Williams Heats Up

Condemned inmate Stanley Tookie Williams was preparing for a private clemency meeting before California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday as news media coverage and commentary escalated.

"Williams, 51, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison early Tuesday for four robbery-related murders committed in Whittier and Los Angeles in 1979," the Bay City News Service wrote today.

"Julie Soderlund, deputy press secretary to Schwarzenegger, said the governor is expected to decide on the clemency request sometime between Friday and Monday."

"Celebrities from Snoop Dogg – a former Crip – to M*A*S*H's Mike Farrell to Jamie Foxx have spoken out in favor of clemency. Hundreds of supporters including the Rev. Jesse Jackson have turned out for rallies at the prison, and a round-the-clock vigil is scheduled to begin Dec. 4," People magazine writes this week.

"Williams, 51, has steadfastly maintained his innocence since being arrested for the murders. His lawyers have made numerous unsuccessful appeals, alleging tainted witnesses and withheld evidence and complaining that there were no blacks on the jury that convicted him. But investigators are confident they have their man: A number of witnesses placed him at the crime scenes, and a shotgun shell found at one murder scene came from a gun Williams owned.

"Not only do many of Williams's supporters believe he's innocent, they also insist the ex-gangbanger has redeemed himself. In 1996 he released Tookie Speaks Out Against Gang Violence, a series of children's books denouncing the thug life, then donated all proceeds to antigang efforts," the People article says.

"If we were interested in justice, we'd give Williams a new trial, not on the propriety of his murder conviction, but on the conviction of his heart," Desiree Cooper, a columnist at the Detroit Free Press, said in an essay today on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." "It's strange how we have this elaborate system of criminal justice to decide guilt or innocence. Yet, when it comes to the life or death question of clemency, we hand the decision back to a single person – the governor – to look into his heart and decide whether Williams has truly been redeemed."

The involvement of Snoop Dogg in the movement to spare Williams caused Erin Aubry Kaplan, the first African American staff op-ed columnist at the Los Angeles Times in recent years, to ruminate on whether Snoop Dogg is a "missing link of black leadership."

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Ford to Pull Ads from Gay Publications

"Ford Motor Co. said Monday that its Jaguar and Land Rover brands will stop advertising in magazines that cater to gay and lesbian people, but the automaker denied that it struck a secret deal with a conservative Christian group to pull its ads to avert a boycott," Michael Ellis and Kortney Stringer reported Tuesday in the Detroit Free Press.

Ford's denial came only hours after 17 gay and lesbian groups said they expect to meet with Ford this week to discuss a rumored confidential agreement between Ford and the 2-million-member American Family Association to halt advertising.

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Pranksters Sound Air Horn in Reporter's Ear

"An Opie & Anthony fan took the radio duo's 'Assault on the Media' contest literally when he sounded an air horn in the ear of WABC-7 reporter Anthony Johnson during a live broadcast Tuesday morning in Ocean Township," N.J., Alan Sepinwall reported today in the Newark Star-Ledger.

"Johnson was at a Hess station on Route 35 shortly after 7 a.m., reporting on the snowfall, when a man carrying an Opie & Anthony bumper sticker lunged into frame. WABC, like most TV news operations, has a policy against televising attention-seeking stunts, so the sound cut out and the camera spun away before viewers got a chance to see or hear the air horn go off."

In May, Arthur Chi'en was canned by WCBS-TV after he shouted the F-word at two meddlers who horned in on his live shot with a sign promoting the same shock jocks, Opie & Anthony, as the New York Daily News reported then.

Chi'en landed in August at WB11/WPIX "News at 10."

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Short Takes

  • "Looking to draw attention to the latest round of newspaper job cuts, members of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org showed up to Credit Suisse First Boston's annual Global Media Conference in New York today with what it said was 45,000 signatures on a petition protesting the Tribune Co.'s latest cost-cutting initiative," Jennifer Saba reported today in Editor & Publisher.
  • At the same conference, the first question for Craig Dubow, Gannett's president and CEO, following the presentation concerned the company's interest in acquiring suddenly up for grabs Knight Ridder. "Dubow answered: 'We are taking a hard look at it,' but declined to elaborate," Editor & Publisher's Jennifer Saba reported separately.
  • "John Lavine will be the new dean of the Medill School of Journalism," the school announced today. Lavine succeeds current Dean Loren Ghiglione. Lavine, founding director of Northwesternâ??s Media Management Center, starts Jan. 9.
  • Ken Garcia, San Francisco Chronicle columnist who told readers Oct. 7 he was taking a buyout after 13 years there, is becoming at columnist at the San Francisco Examiner, the Examiner announced Tuesday.
  • "I am not [implying] that the people who earn minority internships are unqualified for the positions. Nor am I saying that minority journalists aren't as good as white journalists. There are good and bad journalists of all races and genders," Doug Manners, a white college junior seeking a journalism internship, wrote today in the Quinnipiac Chronicle, student newspaper at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. "My point is that nobody should be denied an employment opportunity exclusively based on race or gender, and minority internships overlook white students because of their race."
  • "An important message got lost in the media coverage of the Millions More Movement," Lewis W. Diuguid wrote Friday in the Kansas City Star. "But the men at the Jefferson City Correctional Center drove it home for me during their recent program on the topic. Just because they are in prison doesn't mean they must accept being left out of the national effort to improve the black community."
  • "Next week it really will be the end for Sir Trevor McDonald when he presents his final edition of ITV's main evening news programme," the Guardian of London wrote today. "Four decades of TV news history will come to a close when the veteran presenter signs off from the ITV1 bulletin for the last time on Thursday December 15. . . .Sir Trevor became ITN's first black journalist when he joined from the BBC World Service in 1973." However, McDonald will remain on the air as host of new shows and current affairs series, the British Web site Digital Spy reported on Nov. 29.
  • "The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by news that Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaac was returned to jail just two days after being released in mid-November," the committee said today. "Isaac is one of 15 Eritrean journalists who have been jailed incommunicado and without charge or forced into extended military service following a September 2001 clampdown that shut down the country's private press."

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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