Is There a Next Page for Ebony?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
After 64 Years, an Iconic Magazine Hits the Ropes"Four years ago, at the funeral of Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson, then-Sen. Barack Obama remembered the man who almost single-handedly built the economic foundation for black-audience periodicals," this columnist wrote¬†Monday on theRoot.com.
"Through his magazines, Obama told¬†the more than 2,000 mourners, 'he shared . . . news, large and small, that had been ignored for so long.'
"Tavis Smiley also spoke about the legendary Johnson. 'It never occurred to me to sell,' Smiley recalled Johnson saying to him. And although the founder had died, Smiley rejoiced that Johnson Publishing Co. was 'still No. 1, and still 100 percent black-owned.'
"It may not be for much longer. Newsweek reported recently that John Johnson's daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, the chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing, is seeking a buyer, investor or buyout firm to take over Ebony. (Newsweek said it's unclear whether the company's other properties, including Jet, would be part of a possible sale.) Now it falls to publishers, academics and journalists to debate what went wrong with the company, which was founded in 1945, and what the future holds. (To add to publishing industry woes, it was announced¬†last week that the print version of West Coast-based music publication URB magazine was going on hiatus.)
"Many industry watchers say they are disappointed with the lack of innovation at the company, failure to invest more in Ebonyjet.com, and in general, the absence of strong and nimble leadership needed to keep pace with the 21st century." (continued . . .)
- Todd Boyd, theRoot.com: Farewell, Ebony. You Earned Your Retirement.
- Stephanie Clifford, New York Times: Cond?© Nast Closes Gourmet and 3 Other Magazines
- Jason Fell, Folio: URB Magazine Goes on Hiatus
- Dr. Boyce Watkins, thegrio.com:¬†Can Ebony survive? 5 questions for black media in the digital age
Chauncey Bailey Project Wins 2 Online News AwardsThe Chauncey Bailey Project, a collaboration of more than two dozen reporters, photographers and editors that investigated the death of the Oakland Post editor, won two awards at the Online News Association annual conference in San Francisco, ONA announced¬†on Saturday.
It won the Knight Award for Public Service, which is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the award for "Investigative Journalism, Small Site."
They are just the latest awards¬†collected by a project suggested on the Journal-isms message boards by Kenneth J. Cooper shortly after the Aug. 2, 2007, assassination of Bailey on an Oakland street in broad daylight.
The ONA said, "This entry required work within the community and led directly to the indictment of two men, an investigation of the Oakland Police Department and the resignation of the Chief of Police. The reporting is good and relentless under what were obviously and literally dangerous circumstances. The reporters didn't shy away from exposing both criminals and police. The Chauncey Bailey Project is absolutely exemplary ‚Äî a type of investigation that we wish more organizations could pursue. Its role is necessary, the reporting great."
A winner¬†in the "Breaking News, Small Site" category was "Massacre on Front Street" by Pressconnects.com/ the Press & Sun-Bulletin, in Binghamton, N.Y.
"This was clearly a huge story and they pounced on it. The interactive graphics showed what happened where and when. They did this very important story justice ‚Äî as thorough as you could expect under the circumstances," the ONA said.
As the ONA met in San Francisco, major awards went to "a collection of linking tools that enables journalists to complement their original reporting, a hyperlocal site covering a Seattle neighborhood and a small site that covers a big city."
The conference "sold out with over 750 attendees. We actually did a little more than break even on it," Jane McDonnell, ONA executive director, told Journal-isms. "We're thrilled that so many happy journalists showed up and our membership is growing."
- Anna Bloom, Online News Association: ONA Winners a Memorable Group
Citizens Missing in Coverage of Economy, Study Finds"Citizens may be the primary victims of the economic downturn, but they are not the primary actors in the public depiction of it. Instead, a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression has been covered in the media largely from the top down, told primarily from the perspective of the Obama administration and big business, with coverage reflecting the concerns of institutions more than the lives of everyday Americans," the Pew Research Center reported¬†on Monday.
"Media coverage of the economy has also largely centered on two cities, and focused on a relatively small number of major story lines.
"An analysis of a larger array of media using new 'meme tracker' technology developed at Cornell University also finds that phrases and ideas that reverberated most in the coverage came early on, mostly from government, particularly from the president and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and that few Republicans in Congress articulated any memes that got much traction.
"What's more, as the story moved away from Washington ‚Äî and the news about the economy seemed to improve ‚Äî the amount of coverage of the economy dropped off substantially."
- DeWayne Wickham blog: A ground-level view of economic recovery
Covers of ESPN: The Magazine featuring athletes Serena Williams and Dwight Howard were unveiled Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." The issue goes on sale Friday.
ESPN's "Body Issue" Is "Journalistically Driven""Do athletes need to be nude these days in order to sell sports magazines on the newsstand?" Vanessa Voltolina asked¬†last week in Folio magazine.
"ESPN The Magazine‚Äôs first 'Body Issue' will hit newsstands on October 9, featuring more than 30 male and female athletes posing nude or semi-nude. Already, it‚Äôs raised some eyebrows ‚Äî enough, in fact, that the magazine decided to host a media conference call this afternoon.
"On hand during the call were editor-in-chief Gary Belsky, editorial director and general manger Gary Hoenig, executive editor Sue Hovey, as well as USA Softball‚Äôs Jessica Mendoza, one of the issue‚Äôs athlete-models. The editors said the issue was meant as a 'photographic and journalistically-driven' exploration of the athletic form. (This issue's six covers, featuring a different athlete on each, will be kept under wraps until next week, the company said.)
"Content, they said, will include an essay about how athletes use sex and physicality to sell themselves, an article focused on the creation of realistic video game avatars (with vendor EA and athlete Kobe Bryant) and a story based on the staff's participation in an ACL repair surgery. And, of course, plenty of male and female athletes baring it all."
CNN's "Latino in America" Series Airs Oct. 21, 22CNN will extend its acclaimed ' . . . in America' series of documentaries with a two-night, four-hour event, 'Latino in America,' this October," CNN announced.
"Reported by anchor and special correspondent Soledad O‚ÄôBrien, the ambitious documentary initiative examines the growing diversity of America, revealing insight into a changing nation on the eve of the U.S. census that is expected to officially confirm that Latino Americans are the largest minority group within the country.
"Two, two-hour documentaries will air at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET and PT and simulcast in English on CNN/U.S. and in Spanish on CNN en Espa?±ol on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22; CNN International will also broadcast the series (date and time to be announced). 'Latino in America' was filmed in high definition.
‚Äú'As the face of America changes profoundly, CNN continues to demonstrate that we are the only cable news network dedicated to delivering a diversity of opinions and coverage,' said Jon Klein, president CNN/U.S. 'This landmark series will showcase dramatic personal stories from across the sweep of Latino-American society, and move the dialogue well beyond limited partisan discussions of immigration.'"
Media Begin "Surge" in Afghanistan Coverage"Oct. 7 marks the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and with the White House facing critical choices on troop augmentation, news organizations have begun their own surge in coverage," Marisa Guthrie wrote¬†Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.
"For cash-strapped networks emerging from intense multi-year coverage of the Iraq war, Afghanistan is a minefield of risk, not the least because news personnel have been repeatedly kidnapped by the Taliban and their civilian cohorts.
‚Äú'Baghdad was a civil war and it was very easy to get caught in the middle of that,' says NBC News' Richard Engel during a phone call from Kabul. 'Here, it's an insurrection. You can't just get into a car and drive up to Kunar province. You probably wouldn't come back. It would be a one-way trip.'"Indeed, reporters are increasingly getting caught in the crossfire. An Associated Press reporter lost a foot in an IED attack in August, the same month that CBS News Radio correspondent Cami McCormick was seriously injured during an attack in Logar province that killed an American soldier.
" . . . But with violence escalating and the debate over troop deployments figuring to be another litmus test for the Obama presidency, ramped-up coverage is compulsory. Networks still must send their own correspondents ‚Äî and occasionally their star anchor ‚Äî to maintain credibility."
Meanwhile, MSNBC announced¬†last week that, "Coinciding with the 8th anniversary of the launch of the war in Afghanistan and amidst a growing policy debate, MSNBC will premiere 'Tip of the Spear,' a one-hour special documentary on Sunday, October 11th at 8 PM ET.
"MSNBC's 'Tip of the Spear' documentary offers a powerful yet intimate look at the lives of soldiers at the front lines responsible for carrying out US policy. The documentary is based on Richard Engel's 'NBC Nightly News' series of the same name, which received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast and for Best Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast, a Peabody Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Continuing Coverage."
- Arnold Garcia Jr., Austin (Texas) American-Statesman: Strategy, emotions over Afghanistan get more conflicted
- Bob Herbert, New York Times: The Hard and Bitter Truth
- Bob Herbert, New York Times:¬†Fed Up With War
- Ruben Navarrette, San Diego Union-Tribune: Obama at war with his general
- Ruben Navarrette, San Diego Union-Tribune: Obama and fear of victory
- Bob Ray Sanders, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram: Afghan war has no win and no way out
- DeWayne Wickham, USA Today:¬†Obama changes tenor of U.S. foreign policy
Reporter's Tales of Racism Set France on Edge"When Lylia Kateb's French manager introduced her recently to the big boss, he added reassuringly: 'But don't worry, she's a decent person.' Despite being an Arab, was the implication," Emma Charlton wrote¬†Sunday for Agence France-Presse.
"Lylia's tale of the slights faced as a young French woman of North African descent ‚Äî even as a trained engineer ‚Äî was one of hundreds of accounts of everyday racism mailed in to Le Monde newspaper last week.
"In the year that Barack Obama was sworn in as US president, Aziz Medjeber told of having to change his name to the more French-sounding Laurent before he could find a job in Paris.
"Pregnant with her first child, Lylia admitted she was worried about giving him an Arab-sounding name.
"The spark for the outpouring of real-life stories was an article by Le Monde reporter Mustapha Kessous, who told of his own experience of prejudice.
"Being turned away from a club or fancy restaurant, stopped and searched by the police, told the job or apartment is already taken or having to put up with a racist joke: for many in France his story struck a powerful chord.
"Within hours of publication the article drew 200 comments and was shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Facebook, where users were spotted changing their profile names to 'Mustapha' in sympathy, according to Le Monde.
"'Mustapha Kessous is every one of us,' ran an op-ed piece the following day as TV and radio debates raged about the hard truths of racism in modern France.
"For days the 30-year-old journalist's name was the most searched-for term on the French Internet and one week on his story was the second most commented in the site's history with 464 support messages."
African Americans, Latinos Like Mobile DevicesFrom the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, which reported Friday on ‚ÄúInforming Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age":
"Between the end of 2007 and early 2009, roughly 48 percent of African Americans and 47 percent of English-speaking Latinos accessed the Internet via a mobile device as opposed to 32 percent of the general population. As reported in 2009 by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, African Americans on any given day are 70 percent more likely to access the Internet on a handheld than white Americans."
- Migdalia Figueroa, vice president of content at WSCV-TV Telemundo 51 in Miami, has been promoted to vice president of content for the Telemundo Station Group, NBC, owner of Spanish-language Telemundo, announced¬†on Monday. "In this role, Figueroa will oversee, coordinate and facilitate the development of content across all of Telemundo's stations including local news, Acceso Total, specials and other features. In addition, she will work to spearhead efforts to perfect Telemundo's existing content and to develop new products to more effectively leverage the talent and resources of the Telemundo Station Group."
- "Last week syndicated cartoonist Bruce Tinsley, whose Mallard Fillmore cartoon is as much opinion as any columnist's work, flew into an area where his facts must be challenged," Bob Richter, public editor of the San Antonio Express-News, wrote¬†on Sunday. "In cartoons in the Express-News comics pages last Monday and Tuesday, Tinsley's duck character, Mallard asked a journalist why the media 'ignored a couple of million conservatives marching in the D.C. protest?'" Richter said a public editor had an obligation to note that the crowd was far smaller.
- "In a scary case of mistaken identity," Nmesoma Okafor, a high school football player, was held as a murder suspect for five hours by New York police, Mark Lelinwalla, Mitch Abramson and Larry McShane of the New York Daily News reported. "Police said Saturday that a witness had identified Okafor," the story said. In July, the Innocence Project released ‚ÄúReevaluating Lineups: Why Witnesses Make Mistakes and How to Reduce the Chance of a Misidentification,‚Äù a report with relevance to journalists who broadcast photographs of suspects based on eyewitness reports.
- BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, a top Bob McDonnell campaign surrogate in the Virginia governor's race, apologized on Monday for making fun of Democratic rival Creigh Deeds‚Äôs stutter at a recent rally, Andy Barr reported for Politico.
- Gina Hotta, "perhaps best known as the executive producer of Apex Express, the API show that's been hosted on Berkeley-based radio station KPFA since 2001," died Sept. 28 after a heart attack, San Francisco-based Hyphen magazine reported. The magazine did not report her age. "Since KQED's 'Pacific Time' shut down a few years back, she had been the voice of Asian America. She produced a number of documentaries and more recently branched out from print journalism into creative nonfiction and fiction writing, appearing in KSW's APAture festival reading in 2006."
- "Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner is going to state appeals court in Columbia, South Carolina on Oct. 14 to seek posthumous pardons for two great-uncles who were put to death for a crime they didn‚Äôt commit," Jackie Jones reported¬†Monday for Joyner's BlackAmericaWeb.com. "Joyner learned the story of his uncles when noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis ‚ÄúSkip‚Äù Gates, PhD, announced the results of genealogy research conducted on Joyner‚Äôs family as part of Gates‚Äô PBS special, 'African American Lives II.'‚Äù
- On a show devoted to the changing media landscape, media critic Callie Crossley, Richard Prince and Jose Antonio Vargas, technology and innovations editor for the Huffington Post discussed Monday whether modern-day innovations strengthen or weaken the role of media and the value of journalism. They appeared on "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin on National Public Radio.
- "The Federal Communications Commission has made it official, at least tentatively so. As advertised, the chairman's proposal to codify and expand the FCC's network openness principles has been scheduled for its Oct. 22 public meeting," John Eggerton reported for Broadcasting & Cable. "The chairman two weeks ago signaled in a Brookings Institution speech that he thought there needed to be clearer rules of the road as the FCC draws up a map for Congress to universal broadband deployment."
- Miwako Monica Miya, the former associate dean of student affairs at Columbia University's School of Journalism, died Sept. 2 at Maine Medical Center while recovering from surgery for a hip fracture, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram reported. She was 88. "Being of Japanese heritage, Mrs. Miya was sent with her family to the Heart Mountain Internment camp when World War II erupted, where she wrote Mo's Scratchpad for the Heart Mountain Sentinel."
- "Now is the time for the mainstream media to show it‚Äôs not totally in President Obama‚Äôs pocket," Fred Barnes wrote Friday in a blog for the Weekly Standard. "Ideological criticism by the press is reserved for Republican presidents. But the media is faced with three facts as a result of Obama‚Äôs embarrassing failure in Copenhagen. 1) The failure itself. 2) The incompetence. 3) The lack of persuasive ability. There‚Äôs nothing ideological about any of these items." Meanwhile, also writing of the success of Rio de Janeiro and the failure of Chicago to gain the 2016 Olympics, Marisa Trevi?±o asked on her Latina Lista blog, "Could US visa restrictions played a part in Chicago losing Olympic bid?"
- "KTLA Channel 5 weekend anchor Jason Martinez has resigned from the station, executives said Monday," Greg Braxton reported¬†in the Los Angeles Times. "No official explanation was given for the departure of Martinez, who resigned 'abruptly' last Tuesday, said News Director Jason Ball."
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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