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"The Source" -- of What?

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Court Hears Tawdry Portrayal of Hip-Hop Magazine

"The Source magazine -- the so-called 'Bible' of the hip-hop industry -- is more like Sodom and Gomorrah, with racy pictures on full display, porn-video viewings in the company mailroom, and locker-room lewdness at business meetings, according to a new lawsuit," Leonard Greene reported Thursday in the New York Post, as a sexual harassment trial opened.



"So hostile and sexist was the environment at the magazine that The Source's first female editor, Kimberly Osorio, was forced to leave, but not before leveling charges that she was sexually harassed, verbally abused and threatened with physical violence, Greene wrote.

"In opening arguments in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, lawyers for Osorio claimed the mag's executives ignored her harassment complaints, then fired her when she refused to rescind her accusations."

The portrait painted of life at the hip-hop magazine during the trial, which continued Friday and Monday, is likely to confirm some of the worst hip-hop stereotypes.

On the hip-hop Web site, which is covering the procedings with daily reports and blogs, Jesse Gissen and Brandi Hopper wrote Wednesday:

"Kenneth Thompson, Osorio's lawyer, was first to address the newly-selected jury. He told the court that he planned on proving that his client was indeed treated unfairly while working for the publication. Thompson said the words 'bitches' and 'sluts' were used regularly at the magazine and that on many occasions Osorio was told by her bosses to 'shut the fuck up' and 'sit the fuck down' in front of her co-workers.

Thompson continued his argument, alleging that former Source president Raymond 'Benzino' Scott "asked Osorio on several occasions who she was sleeping with, using such phrases as 'Are you fucking him, Kim? I know you're fucking him.' He then revealed to her who he had sex with, exposing his past sexual encounters with Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Trina."

On Monday, Brandi Hopper wrote on that former Source vice president of content and communications Tracii McGregor said on the stand, "There were rumors swirling that Kim had affairs with various rappers."

"Those rumors were exposed in a live broadcast on NY radio station Hot 97 when Osorio was being interviewed by correspondent Sway. 'He asked her about giving 50 Cent "brain," live on the air,' McGregor said," Hopper wrote.

Reporting the Source's defense in the New York Daily News Thursday, Thomas Zambito wrote: "The Source's attorney Mercedes Colwin said Osorio knew better than most that the hip-hop world was rife with raunchy language, profane lyrics and scantily clad women.

"'That is the world that the plaintiff chose,' Colwin told jurors. 'She had many choices and she chose to work in hip hop. . . . The Source is not Martha Stewart Living.'"

As the Source's Wikipedia entry notes, "The magazine was founded as a newsletter in 1988 by David Mays and Jon Shecter, and is now owned by Black Enterprise Incorporated. The current president of the publication is Jeremy Miller. Mays and rapper Benzino were terminated from their positions as CEO and president respectively in 2006."

[Today's Source is a different product, Slav Kandyba told Journal-isms on Tuesday. "As a contributor to the Source as of this writing, I can assure you that from my vantage point in dealing with the new executive editor Ryan Ford, the mess is in the court and not in the magazine," he said.]

Radar magazine reported last month that Mays and Scott plan to return to magazine publishing with a new title that was being described as an urban version of "In Touch."

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Atlanta Newsroom Rallies for Wounded Colleague

The newsroom of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has rallied behind a part-time page designer there who was shot in the head by intruders at his home and has bullet fragments still lodged behind his eye socket.

Khari Sampson, 35, was injured Sept. 24 when two men came to his home in Decatur, Ga., and asked to use the telephone, according to an account on WSB-TV. Once inside, one of them shot Sampson, the story said.

"We're quite shocked by this," Deidre D'Asaro, deputy editor for editing and presentation, told Journal-isms on Monday. "We took up a collection and it broke an in-house record" for contributions, raising more than $1,000, she said. "Everybody who heard about it" wanted to help, she said, even though not many people knew him. Some went to see him in the hospital.

Evelyn Ortega, the features design desk manager, to whom Sampson reports, said Sampson came back Oct. 9 for a few days. His father, Leroy Sampson, said his son owns K.J. Media, a graphic design business.

In the television report, Sampson said he wanted to meet those who did him harm, to provide "a chance for them to change their ways." Sampson graduated from Howard University and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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"60 Minutes" Skeptical of Duke Lacrosse Case

CBS' "60 Minutes" created buzz by revisiting the Duke University lacrosse team rape case Sunday night and concluding that, "based on 60 Minutes' six-month review of the case file, it appears that standard police procedures were violated and evidence disregarded—evidence that may have pointed toward the players' innocence."

The story was reported by Ed Bradley and produced by Michael Radutzky and Tanya Simon.

"For an analytical and well known program such as '60 Minutes' to come down so decisively on one side of a highly controversial case seems significant," the Duke University student newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, editorialized Monday.

". . . Although Ed Bradley and '60 Minutes' appear quite conclusive in their judgment of the case, the reality remains that the University, city and nation will have to wait until the spring for any legal processes to address the issue."

[On Tuesday, the Durham Herald-Sun, under the headline "Little new in '60 Minutes' report," said in its editorial, "There is no question DA Mike Nifong made mistakes," but added, "We're puzzled that so many people think Nifong should ignore the indictments, ignore the accuser, and walk away. Does Durham really want a prosecutor who won't stand up for an alleged victim, even if she ranks near the bottom of society? Do we really want a prosecutor who is cowed by pressure -- and this is enormous pressure -- into dropping charges he believes should be pursued?"]

ABC News reported after the "60 Minutes" telecast, "A relative of the woman who accused three Duke University lacrosse players of brutally raping her last fall told ABC News exclusively Sunday night that she believes the defense team and their clients are trying to 'break' her cousin and force her to drop out of the case."

The story was also discussed on the listserve of the National Association of Black Journalists.

"FYI, that name 'Precious' you heard Ed Bradley use during his report has an interesting origin, and I'm surprised CBS used it on the air," wrote Anthony Wilson, vice president for broadcast of the Triangle Association of Black Journalists in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

"The ABC station here in Durham's also covering the lacrosse case, and the only places I've ever seen her referred to by that name are on the station's message board, maintained online for viewer comments on the case, and some blogs critical of the way the case is being handled. The station's web staff posted this advisory:

"'IMPORTANT NOTE: It is WTVD's policy not to identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assaults.

"'Any attempt to post the Duke accuser's name or any other information that could identify her will result in the immediate banning of the offender on the first offense.'"

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Photographer Paris L. Gray a Cancer Victim at 44

"Paris L. Gray, a 12-year Courier-Post photographer known professionally for his compelling coverage of sensitive events and personally for his unique style of yellow-tinted glasses and eclectic hats, died Sunday morning after a battle with cancer," Matt Katz reported today on the Web site of the Courier-Post in Camden/Cherry Hill, N.J. "He was 44.




"The photojournalist saw his vocation as an art, and colleagues said Monday that he sought the best angle and perspective on each shot— including potent shots of funerals, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1994.

". . . Gray's strength, his love of art—and his constant desire for a big laugh—once led him to wrestle Courier-Post graphic artist Sheldon Sneed over who got to keep a display book on dreadlocks. Gray pinned the 6-foot-3-inch Sneed on the photo department floor in seconds.

"Known to jam on his guitar into the small hours of the night and wake up at the crack of dawn to teach spinning at LA Fitness in Cherry Hill, Gray's fortitude made friends think he'd beat the gastric and colon cancer. After leaving work in May for cancer treatment, he returned in August for a stint he described as one of his happiest. He fell ill again, however, and his last day at work was Sept. 9.

"The Baltimore native began his career at the Afro-American newspaper in his hometown in 1985. He was the chief photographer for The Philadelphia Tribune until 1994, when he was hired by the Courier-Post."

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Laid Off? Some Compete With Former Paper

"I've no idea whether this is going to become a trend, but it appears that journalists are striking out on their own to compete with their former newspaper employers, or even to act as arm's-length contributors. It's happening in Britain and the United States, and here are examples from both countries," Roy Greenslade wrote Friday on his media blog for the Guardian newspaper of London.

"Rick Waghorn used his redundancy pay-off from the Norwich Evening News to set up his own website to cover the city's football club. He was joined by one of the paper's advertising staff and they have attracted ads away from the paper to their site. Waghorn says his kind of niche site offers a new model for journalists who are either dismissed by newspapers or disenchanted with them. He claims his site is getting 260,000 page impressions a week. One of Waghorn's fans is the Daily Telegraph online news editor, Shane Richmond.

Similar entrepreneurial spirit spurred two reporters at a California newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News to set up their own website, VentureBeat. It covers venture capital start-ups in the Silicon Valley region and the fortunes of associated businesses, which they used to chronicle in a popular blog, SiliconBeat, as part of the Mercury News website. Although Matt Marshall and Michael Bazeley have quit their full-time jobs, they have struck a syndication deal with their former paper to run their new site in place of their old blog. It also means, of course, that Marshall and [Bazeley] will be able to benefit from their site's advertising income."

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ESPN's Jackson Responds to Whitlock Taunts

Scoop Jackson, the ESPN commentator whose feud with Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock contributed to Whitlock's dismissal from ESPN, responded to Whitlock and answered other questions in an interview Sunday with Michael Tillery of the Black Sports Network.

In a blog interview last month, Whitlock said, "Scoop is a clown. And the publishing of his fake ghetto posturing is an insult to black intelligence, and it interferes with intelligent discussion of important racial issues."

ESPN subsequently said, "These were personal attacks that went too far."

In the Sunday interview, Jackson told Tillery, "Why is this dude saying all this stuff about me in the press? I think it's disrespectful to call another brotha that, regardless of how you feel about him." He accused Whitlock of faulty reasoning and said, "I haven't done anything in my career to make his 'opinions' valid."

However, on the subject of the need for more black journalists, Jackson said he agreed with the Kansas City columnist. "This is all hypothetical of course, but if the numbers were different I don't think the witch hunt associated with Barry Bonds would have been so blatant," Jackson said. "There's just a different fairness in judging Bonds with Blacks. This is where I have to applaud someone like Jason Whitlock for standing up and saying what he truly feels. If there were more of us, I truly feel that we would have spoken out like Jason did."

Jackson was also asked about Buck O'Neil, the champion of the Negro leagues who died Oct. 6 at age 94.

"Regardless of Buck's accomplishments, Blacks should not be upset that he isn't validated through the Hall of Fame," Jackson said. "We all know what kind of player and coach he was. Let that glorious impression of us marinate in our hearts. Baseball has never done anything without force. Baseball is fine, they aren't a bad organization but I don't think I am in the minority in saying that they don't have our best interest in mind at all times. That goes with their treatment of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson—the way the Atlanta Braves treated Hank Aaron up until recently."

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Spokane Paper Agrees: Get Rid of "Squaw"

"White elected officials, such as Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie and state Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, don't get it," the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review said in an editorial Monday.

"It doesn't matter what they think the word 'squaw' means. Or if they use the word in the best manner possible when they refer to geographical place names in North Idaho. Or if they're tired of name changes. Or if the name has a debatable background. In the 21st century among American Indian tribes—including the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Kootenai of the Idaho Panhandle—the term is universally regarded as a derogatory reference to female genitalia.

". . . Two things should be done: Local elected officials whose districts include or border Indian reservations should eschew 19th-century thinking about the word "squaw" and support name changes. On the other hand, the tribes should consider their non-Indian neighbors and our collective history when searching for appropriate replacement names. It would help non-Indians accept the changes if they are able to pronounce and spell the new place names," the editorial said.

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Short Takes

  • "Saturday's mid-game brawl between the University of Miami and Florida International University claimed its first off-the-field victim Monday when Lamar Thomas, a former Miami player who cheered the fight on from a broadcasting booth and even threatened to join it, was fired from his announcing job," Barry Jackson and Glenn Garvin reported Monday night for the Miami Herald.
  • Less than two weeks after former New York Sun columnist Pranay Gupte took a job as executive editor at the Dubai-based Khaleej Times, Dylan Stableford reported Monday for FishBowl NY, Gupte is back in New York. "Last Tuesday, the Sheikh's government dismissed the chairman of the Galadari Group, Mohammed Galadari, and also the group's entire board of directors," Gupte explained. "This means, in effect, that Khaleej Times, long a relatively independent voice in Middle East journalism, immediately becomes a government organ."
  • Ralph Rivera has been named vice president and general manager of AOL Latino, responsible for its seven programming areas (news, sports, entertainment, music, auto, lifestyle, and money & empowerment), while overseeing the business strategy for the Web portal, Marketing y Medios reported last week. Rivera will continue to oversee AOL Games.
  • Ebon Dooley, 64, a renowned activist, scholar and poet, and one of the founding champions of WRFG Radio Free Georgia 89.3 FM, part of the Pacifica Radio network, died Thursday, Matthew Cardinale of Atlanta Progressive News reported on Friday. "He had been out of commission a bit in the last few months due to health complications," Cardinale wrote. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Tuesday he "died of a heart attack."]
  • "The Monica Kaufman era at WSB-TV Action News officially ended Thursday," Richard L. Eldredge wrote Saturday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "On the evening's telecasts, viewers were introduced to Monica Pearson, the veteran anchor's new professional name. More than a year ago, the newswoman married DeKalb County policeman John E. Pearson Sr."
  • "Two Boston media sources have told Media Blitz that 7NBC is set to hire Larry Ridley as its new full time sports anchor and reporter. 7NBC has been searching for a replacement for Wendi Nix, who left the station this past summer for ESPN," John Molori's Media Blitz reported on Sunday. Ridley is a sports anchor and reporter at WSVN in Miami.
  • "Cedric 'Big Ced' Thornton, an editor of The Industry Cosign Webzine who had strongly criticized The Source for its lapses in journalism ethics and general decline of the magazine, has been hired as its online editor," the FishBowlNY Web site reported on Monday.
  • ABC-TV announced Friday it had picked up a full-season order of "Ugly Betty," a "dramedy" about an average girl working at a fashion magazine that has helped the network get back in business on Thursday nights, Ben Grossman reported Friday for Broadcasting & Cable. The series was praised by Latino columnists, most recently by Cindy Rodriguez of the Denver Post.
  • Dana Canedy, assistant national editor at the New York Times, "learned yesterday that her partner, Charles King, was killed last week on duty in Iraq. Charles, a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, had been home a month ago to see their son, his first visit since Jordan's birth in March," the Times staff learned Monday in a memo from top editors.
  • The Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists Saturday inducted into its hall of fame 11 men and women who helped start the group 30 years ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Saturday. Honored were Gaynelle Evans, Donald Hammonds, Margie Hollins, Leroy Grant, Linda Lockhart, Christopher Moore, Christine Mullen, Sheila Rule, Stan Stovall, Ellen Sweets and Fred Sweets. Seven other founders of the group had already been inducted.
  • "Authorities of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland (northwest Somalia) arrested about eighteen journalists from south and central regions of Somalia on their way to participate a workshop sponsored by both WHO and UNICEF organizations," the Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reported on Saturday.
  • Seventeen of Sacramento Bee photographer Hector Amezcua's color photos make up "The Pineros: Men of the Pines," an exhibit on display in an upstairs gallery at Arte Americas in Fresno, Calif., through Nov. 12. It is the first showing outside the newspaper for the photos. The Sacramento Bee's series on "The Pineros" has won numerous awards.

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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