Surge in Blacks Using Broadband
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Updated August 14
"Over the last year, the broadband-adoption gap between blacks and whites has been cut nearly in half," according to a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Broadband is generally defined as high-speed Internet access.
"Broadband adoption by African Americans now stands at 56%, up from 46% at a similar point in 2009," the study said. "That works out to a 22% year-over-year growth rate, well above the national average and by far the highest growth rate of any major demographic group."
The increase has implications for media targeting African Americans, black-owned and otherwise.
In a piece Friday on theRoot.com, Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., owners of Ebony and Jet magazine, told E.R. Shipp, "Today, outlets are charged with deciding which form of technology best suits the story. For instance, black consumers can now receive stories via iPads, satellite radio and the Web in addition to traditional print."
Johnson Rice said her major challenge is "to stay relevant on the newsstands while establishing a timely and engaging presence on the Web."
Shipp noted that "in that arena, her company faces competition from The Root, the Grio, Black America Web and AOL's Black Voices, among others" and that "Jet recently rolled out a jazzed-up print edition and a digital version called MyJet247.com."
BET Networks has partnered with the National Urban League, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, HealthCentral, Kaplan Ventures, MedHelp.org, One Economy Corporation and Tutor.com in a proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration for a grant under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, Ann Brown reported in June for the Network Journal. That effort is a part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus package.
"Under the proposal, BET wants to increase the adoption of broadband technology amongst African-Americans through its National Sustainable Broadband Adoption Project," Brown wrote.
African Americans are consuming cell-phone technology in large numbers as well.
Pew reported last month that 64 percent of African Americans surveyed in May said they access the Internet over their laptop or mobile phone, an increase from 57 percent who said they did in 2009.
Overall, according to the new study, released Wednesday, "After several consecutive years of modest but consistent growth, broadband adoption slowed dramatically in 2010. "Two-thirds of American adults (66%) currently use a high-speed internet connection at home, a figure that is not statistically different from what the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found at a similar point in 2009, when 63% of Americans were broadband adopters."
In addition, "By a 53%-to-41% margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Contrary to what some might suspect, non-internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections. . . .
Mark Hachman added on PCMag.com:
"When asked why African-Americans reported such a large jump," Aaron Smith, research specialist with Pew. "said that Pew's research didn't examine the reason. 'But we've been picking up on it for a couple of years now; not necessarily with broadband, but with higher levels of engagement with the Internet in general,' he said.
"Pew began noticing higher levels of engagement within the African-American community since the 2008 election, Smith said; since blacks hadn't embraced broadband as quickly as whites, the lower baseline allowed a more dramatic increase, he added."
- William Reed, syndicated: Broadband Access Needed for African Americans' Advancement (March 9)
A year after Pacifica Radio ousted the general manager of its Washington outlet, WPFW-FM, Pacifica officials this week dismissed the interim general manager and interim program director. But during a meeting Saturday called to discuss the resulting turmoil, the program director, Bob Daughtry, was reinstated, according to participants in the meeting at the "jazz and justice" station.
"The latest carnage at the progressive jazz-and-politics station: Station Manager Grigsby Hubbard and Program Director Bob Daughtry were both given the axe yesterday during the D.C. visit of Pacifica Foundation Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt," Michael Schaffer and Erin Petty reported late Friday for the Washington City Paper.
" 'We needed a slightly different direction,' Engelhardt said. She declined to elaborate, calling the management changes . . . an HR matter.
"But in classic lefty-radio form, the firings have inspired the station's volunteer-dominated and famously independent-minded corps of programmers to organize meetings, examine by-laws, and otherwise protest the national network's meddling in the affairs of the local station, which is located one story down from Washington City Paper in Adams Morgan."
At a two-hour meeting Saturday with about 40 programmers, paid staff and local station board members, participants told Journal-isms, Engelhardt acknowledged she had "recommended" that business manager Robert West, whom she had named interim general manager, fire Daughtry, a former general manager at Pacifica's WBAI in New York.
But when West asked whether he could rehire Daughtry, since Daughtry's status was actually West's to decide, Engelhardt said yes. West then reinstated his program director.
"This is a victory for WPFW, for the programmers of WPFW," Daughtry told Journal-isms. "Pacifica comes in and makes changes without notification, and that was one of the big issues there today.
"We're often not given any notice. We don't even find out after the fact." He said he still did not know why Englehardt recommended he be fired. "I waived my right to any personal privacy," so that could be explained. "Even then, it was not clear to any of us the reasons for my dismissal," Daughtry said.
"This is not the first time Daughtry has been a casualty of Pacifica's [feisty] internal politics," the City Paper wrote. "In 2002, while serving as acting general manager at WBAI in New York, he was terminated during a Pacifica board meeting that was broadcast live on all five of the network's stations."
A year ago, General Manager Ron Pinchback was let go in similar fashion, with all concerned refusing to discuss the reasons, saying it was a personnel issue. Hubbard, one of the founders of the station, was then named interim manager, praised for his "decades of managerial experience in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors."
Hubbard said in a state-of-the-station report in January, "As the second decade of the 21st century begins, WPFW appears to be on the road to recovery."
Daughtry said he would be speaking with others at the station to discuss its direction in light of the weekend events.
"Jazz and justice" is a reference to the station's "progressive" format. Jazz is a major part of its music programming, although it plays world music, zydeco, oldies, Latin music, blues and other genres, and its talk programs revolve around issues of social justice. Most staffers are volunteers and the station refuses corporate donations, relying on listener support. [Added Aug. 14]
"An Associated Press-Univision poll finds many English-speaking Hispanics turn frequently to Spanish-language TV and radio, drawn by a cultural connection and some concerns that English-language media portray them negatively," Hope Yen and Ileana Morales reported Thursday for the Associated Press.
In an e-mail, Univision added, "Ninety-percent of Spanish-dominant Hispanics watch some Spanish-language TV and 75 percent listen to Spanish-language radio each day.
"Among English-dominant Hispanics, nearly 4 in 10 said they consume either Spanish-language television or radio.
" 'The Univision-AP Poll on Media Consumption confirms that Hispanics who speak English and Spanish continue to choose Spanish-language TV and radio for culturally relevant content they can‚Äôt get anywhere else,' said Ceril Shagrin, executive vice president, Audience Measurement Innovation and Analytics for Univision Communications Inc. 'Today‚Äôs findings reaffirm that Spanish-language media reaches 80 percent of all Hispanics in the U.S.'
"On the interactive front, 57 percent of Spanish-dominant Hispanics have Internet access at home, of which 90 percent access Spanish-language sites.
"The survey also found that English-speaking Hispanics are somewhat skeptical of English-language news and programs. Nearly 35 percent said English media portrayed Hispanics mostly in a negative way, nearly three times more than those who said it was mostly positive, and 50 percent said English media was neutral."
The AP story said, "The media consumption of Hispanics is drawing attention as businesses and political groups battle for their loyalty. Hispanics now represent 16 percent of the U.S. population, a number projected to grow to about 30 percent by 2050."
"I suspect that the TBD racial/ethnic diversity is closer to (though still not matching) the diversity of the community than most metro news organizations," said Steve Buttry, TBD's director of community engagement.
TBD, the new website promising hyperlocal coverage of the ethnically diverse Washington metropolitan area, launched this week promising diversity through its network of more than 130 local blogs and websites.
As Tanzina Vega reported in the New York Times, "Allbritton Communications started its local news Web site, TBD.com, on Monday, creating a multimedia platform for news in the Washington D.C. area that can draw on the work of two television stations, 127 local bloggers and community sites and a staff of producers, reporters and editors.
"The site already has a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare and plans to make significant investments to better use such tools. It will also use geocoding technology to help offer readers content specific to their location. The site hopes to engage readers in helping to report or complete articles by encouraging them to send in tips and leads to reporters. Users can download an Android mobile app and will soon have access to one for the iPhone."
While white men and women dominate the website's leadership ‚Äî including General Manager Jim Brady, formerly executive editor of washingtonpost.com, and Editor Erik Wemple, formerly editor of Washington City Paper ‚Äî Steve Buttry, director of community engagement, said there is diversity:
"Our TBD leadership includes a Latina (TV news director) as well as an Asian-American (senior director, product management, the first person Jim Brady hired for TBD, long before it had a name) and an African American (assistant news director)," he said by e-mail. "I haven‚Äôt run the numbers, but I suspect that the TBD racial/ethnic diversity is closer to (though still not matching) the diversity of the community than most metro news organizations." The news director is Malissa Reyes; the senior director, product management is Bageshri Ghate and the assistant news director is Yolanda Massey. Buttry describes himself as a longtime friend of the Maynard Institute who led sessions at the Maynard Media Academy at Harvard in March. He added that Reyes' father is Filipino.
Among the website's 12 reporters are arts reporter Sarah Godfrey and sports reporter Mike Jones, who are African American, and Elahe Izadi, who is Iranian-American.
Jeff Sonderman holds the position of senior community host. "I'm part of a six-person team of people who work on community engagement projects and social media," he said by e-mail. "Our site is very open to listening to the community and featuring content from blogs and other news site in the community. Much of what we do involves building those relationships and giving the users ways to contribute to the conversation and content.
"I am not a person of color, but we certainly have a very diverse newsroom here. I haven't done a survey or anything, but we have a strong balance of women and men, of many races and backgrounds, including white, black, Asian, Indian, Persian, etc. Beyond just skin color, we also have a diverse mix of personalities and views.
"Also, I think it's very important for you to consider that because TBD operates very differently than other media organizations, the diversity of our own staff is not the only consideration. Much of the news content you find on TBD.com is not produced by TBD staff. TBD works with a network of more than 130 local blogs and websites to feature their content on TBD.com.
"Those bloggers are also a very diverse group, both in their personal background and what they write about. . . . This network gives us realistic, balanced community life coverage of some majority-black neighborhoods of DC where the traditional media usually just covers shootings and fires. And we are always open to including new bloggers and viewpoints in that mix. We also aggregate from hundreds of other nonmember sites to make sure we find the broadest sample of local news possible."
As reported last month, the site planned to launch without copy editors. "Faced with a choice between hiring copy editors or reporters, though, we went with the latter," Wemple said.
- Mark Potts, Recovering Journalist: Here's Why New Local Startup TBD.com Is So Important
Patch, AOL's entry in the hyperlocal website sweepstakes, is looking for local and regional editors as it plans to spend $50 million to expand Patch nationally to hundreds of sites by the end of the year.
"It‚Äôs an ambitious and risky strategy, given that AOL is entering the local news business without the reporting muscle of a major news operation," Johnny Diaz wrote last week in the Boston Globe. "Patch officials say they believe they can cover these communities with a low-cost model: Each site has one full-time editor who also writes and shoots video.
" 'Our goal is to fill any voids in information that is critical to living life in these communities, and provide a platform for local journalists, residents, and organizations to share important information,‚Äô said Patch president Warren Webster."
A pitch on the Patch site reads: "Are you a passionate and entrepreneurial online journalist? Want to be part of a dynamic and innovative team of journalists, engineers, designers and business pros who are creating a bold new solution for our industry? Do you think that traditional news media just don't get it anymore? Would you like to run your own local news Web site, where you'll tap the multimedia and social media skills you've mastered to transform community journalism and connect with communities? If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, keep reading ‚Ä¶
"We're Patch.com, a start-up that's radically reinventing community journalism. We launched in February 2009 and we currently operate more than 50 local news sites in towns with populations under 70,000 and now we're expanding again!"
- Mark Fitzgerald, Editor & Publisher: McHyperlocal: A Plan to Franchise Community News
Dr. Laura Schlessinger told a black caller complaining about use of the n-word, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race." She later apologized. (Video)
"Dr. Laura Schlessinger has followed up the N-word with the S-word," Aliyah Shahid reported Friday in the New York Daily News.
"The talk radio host says she's sorry for repeatedly using the N-word several times during an on-air conversation with a caller [who] she said was being 'hypersensitive' to racism.
"In an apology issued on her website, Schlessinger said she was trying to make a philosophical point, but was wrong and soon after the talk realized she had made a 'horrible mistake.'
"The red-faced doc said she was so mortified that she pulled herself off of the air at the end of the hour."
The episode generated discussions on several talk shows, among them CNN's "Rick's List," where Don Lemon was guest host on Friday With Lemon were Al Vivian, a diversity consultant based in Atlanta, and Buck Davis, described as a diversity and inclusion expert.
- Chris Black Beats: Dr. Laura Dance Remix (video)
- Cord Jefferson, theRoot.com: What Dr. Laura Said Wasn't Racist
- Ronda Racha Penrice, theGrio.com: Dr. Laura's n-word rant reflects trend of intolerance
In the News category, none were of color. They were (figures are per year):
Matt Lauer (NBC's "Today") $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira ("Today") $11 million
Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000
President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act on July 29. 'When one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes, that is an assault on our national conscience; it is an affront to our shared humanity; it is something that we cannot allow to continue,' he said. (audio and video)
"The general public was shocked to learn of the high rates of sexual assault against Indian women," Mary Annette Pember wrote Thursday for DailyYonder.com. "The news hit the headlines in 2007 after Amnesty International published their Maze of Injustice Report: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women in the U.S. The Report found that 1 in 3 Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes. This represents the highest rate of sexual assault for any ethnicity in this country."
Pember was praising President Obama's signing of the Tribal Law and Order Act on July 29.
"An emotional Lisa Marie Iyotte of the Rosebud Sioux tribe introduced President Obama at the bill signing ceremony. Iyotte works at the Sicangu Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, where she speaks on behalf of victimized Indian and Alaska Native women. She is also a sexual assault survivor who never saw her perpetrator brought to justice. Federal authorities declined to prosecute the crime or even interview her. (Her perpetrator was eventually arrested and convicted for assaulting another victim.) She said she is hopeful that the TLOA will prevent cases like hers from happening again.
". . . I and all the Indian women I know want to know, however, who those other two women are who haven‚Äôt been assaulted ‚Äî because we‚Äôve never met them. The truth is that it‚Äôs been open season on Indian women for a very, very long time.
"It took far too long for the U.S. to notice or care. I‚Äôm not ungrateful but am profoundly sad for the pain we have endured in silence for so many generations. Indian women have not talked about sexual assault, not even to each other. We haven‚Äôt gone to the police or even the hospital unless absolutely necessary. We have found neither justice nor healing through the justice system, only more shame, blame and disappointment. Our families have often not supported us. So we showered and went on, until now."
Among those in the media who focused attention on the issue was Laura Sullivan, who won several awards for her stories on NPR.
- Editorial, the Oklahoman, Oklahoma City: New federal law aims to help tribes, law enforcement
- Lisa Marie Iyotte, Marcus Levings and Brian Bull with Michel Martin on NPR's "Tell Me More": New Legislation Intended To Make Reservations Safer
"Sree Sreenivasan, a professor of digital media and dean of student affairs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is the recipient of the 2010 Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship. The award, given in recognition of an educator‚Äôs outstanding efforts to encourage students of color in the field of journalism, will be presented at the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW) annual convention in Dallas, Texas, which will be held September 22-25," the NCEW announced.
"Sreenivasan, the first South Asian and the first from a graduate school to receive the honor, is best known for his work in co-founding SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, in March 1994. . . .
"Sree‚Äôs job as dean of student affairs means that he plays a pivotal role in helping minority students at the J-school. . . .
"That means actively seeking out minorities, bringing them to Columbia, ensuring they succeed, helping them get good jobs and following their careers. Sree takes personal interest in all of this and has formalized many aspects of minority support that were done in an ad hoc basis ‚Äî including appointing a multicultural affairs coordinator who supervises the Journalism School‚Äôs Asian American Journalists Association, Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and South Asian Journalists Association chapters. The J-school has among the highest percentage of minority students at Columbia."
- Skeletal remains found Monday were identified as those of Mitrice Richardson, a 24-year-old African American woman with emotional challenges, columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote. "She was held and then released alone by Los Angeles County Sheriff‚Äôs from the station in the early morning hours of Sept. 17, 2009. She then disappeared." She received public attention because of "the willingness of the victim‚Äôs family and friends to go public and keep pressure on authorities to take the murder or disappearance seriously. Richardson‚Äôs family put constant public pressure on the sheriff‚Äôs department to pursue every lead and possibility in trying to find Richardson. This made the media take note, especially mindful of the popularly dubbed 'missing white woman syndrome,' " Hutchinson wrote.
- "Ratings-troubled CNN is revisiting perhaps its finest journalistic moments on cable television marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a month‚Äôs worth of special programming," Dylan Stableford wrote for thewrap.com. "CNN will roll out special coverage across all platforms that will chronicle how communities, people and businesses have changed over the past five years and how far the region has come in their rebuilding efforts."
- "Hearst's Good Housekeeping, the magazine with the most noticeable pro-chores bias, today announced it had hired Veronica Chambers as deputy editor of brand extensions," Mike Taylor reported Thursday for Fishbowl NY. "She'll be working on the magazine's TV specials and digital products, and also editing. She starts Sept. 15. Before joining Good Housekeeping, Chambers was features director at Glamour. She has also worked at TheRoot.com, Savoy magazine and Newsweek," as well as the New York Times.
- "Pioneering journalists from Hawaii were recognized by the Asian American Journalists Association for their efforts to diversify newsrooms across the country," the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Tuesday. "Annie Nakao, who was born and raised in Hawaii, received the organization's top Lifetime Achievement Award, and at least 19 journalists with Hawaii ties were added to an inaugural list of 106 Asian-American journalism pioneers at the AAJA national convention last week."
- "After reading through the documents issued first by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and the Statement of Alleged Violation from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has a stronger case to make in her defense than the pity-party pol from Harlem," Jonathan Capehart wrote Wednesday for the Washington Post, referring to Harlem's Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. "Frankly, I‚Äôm hard pressed to see what she did that put her outside the norm of constituent services."
- "Carlos Hernandez Gomez, the celebrated Chicago political reporter who died last January, will be permanently remembered by the city he loved with an honorary street named for him," Robert Feder wrote Thursday on his website. "A stretch of Racine Avenue between Grand and Ogden will be designated 'Carlos Hernandez Gomez Way' on Aug. 27, which would have been Gomez‚Äôs 37th birthday."
- "He was the gentle one in the newsroom, the one who took the time to hear the stories others didn't: from co-workers, the community and friends he nurtured for decades," Lynda V. Mapes wrote Wednesday in the Seattle Times. "Charles E. Brown, a Seattle Times journalist for more than 40 years and local gospel radio-show host, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 62.
- Highlights of the "Ebony Education Roundtable," which took place on Wednesday, are to be shown on MSNBC‚Äôs ‚ÄúMaking the Grade‚Äù on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Eastern time. The segment will be hosted by MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall and actor/activist Hill Harper.
- Marchelle Payne-Gassaway, assistant dean of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and executive director of the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association, is one of four people laid off at the college, the Diamondback, the student newspaper, reported. "In her role at the journalism college, Payne-Gassaway ushered many freshman and transfer students into the college. She scared freshmen straight in introductory classes and has advised and guided the Maryland Association of Black Journalists," an editorial said.
- Halle Berry is the first black woman to appear on Vogue's September cover since Naomi Campbell in 1989, New York magazine reported. Berry said, "What that means for a woman of color and what that means in the fashion world, what that means to pop culture, there was no way I could say, 'No, I'm not going to be on the biggest issue of the year.' "
- Sam Fulwood III of the Center for American Progress discussed a piece by black conservative columnist Walter Williams last week. Williams' questionable facts were examined last month in this space. "Whatever truth exists in this media-saturated world is rarely revealed by allowing warring sides ‚Äî liberals to the left and conservatives to the right ‚Äî equal space and time to duke it out in public, each armed with competing sets of lies. All that does is confuse the public and makes it virtually impossible for average citizens to be informed. Our democracy depends on a free press, well, one free enough to boldly separate hard-to-swallow truth from the palatable fiction," Fulwood wrote.
- "Four days after threatening to slug a reporter, DeKalb County school board vice chairwoman Zepora Roberts issued an apology," Megan Matteucci reported Tuesday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Roberts‚Äô apology came the same day The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the Organization of DeKalb Educators ‚Äî the district‚Äôs largest teachers‚Äô union ‚Äî wanted Roberts to resign, saying she is a bad example for children. On Friday, Roberts threatened to slug a CBS Atlanta reporter," Wendy Salzman, "during an interview about the board member‚Äôs two daughters working for the school system."
- "Jake Hess, an American freelance journalist who writes for Inter Press Service (IPS), was arrested on 11 August in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, and is currently being held at the headquarters of the city‚Äôs anti-terrorist unit," Reporters Without Borders wrote on Friday. "Accused of links with the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KSK), a new organisation that is alleged to be an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Hess could be deported or placed in pre-trial detention today."
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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