T.J. Holmes Leaving CNN for BET
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
T.J. Holmes, the affable CNN weekend anchor who told colleagues on Sunday he was leaving the network at the end of the year, is heading for Black Entertainment Television, according to a source familiar with Holmes' situation.
BET plans to build a show around Holmes, 34, the source said. Holmes was not available for comment.
BET made the announcement official later Wednesday.
"BET Networks has inked a multi-platform talent agreement with award-winning journalist and television personality T.J. Holmes, as announced Wednesday," it said. "The deal with Holmes includes a new show on BET as well as content on BET.com in which he can bring his many talents to some of what BET says it regards as 'the most important and interesting stories' for the BET audience.
" 'We are simply ecstatic to have T.J. Holmes coming to our fold. He’s been an outstanding news anchor and we look forward to working with him in a variety of new ways on BET,' said Stephen G. Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials at BET Networks. 'It’s now upon us to develop vehicles that capture his intelligence, curiosity about the world, warmth, humor and compassion. It’s a challenge that we are happy to have.' "
Spokeswoman LeToya Glenn Bacon told Journal-isms, "When we found out he was looking for new opportunities, BET approached him."
Holmes joined CNN in October 2006 and anchors the weekend edition of "CNN Newsroom" on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
At the summer convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, he joked about the "weekend ghetto" to which African American television anchors seem to be consigned, and not just at CNN. Also anchoring weekends at the network are Don Lemon and Fredricka Whitfield.
CNN confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Holmes was leaving "to pursue other opportunities." With that, and a prior mention in Journal-isms that Holmes was leaving, the news went viral.
"TJ - I just read that you were leaving CNN. Your decision or theirs. I hope they do not replace you with a Barbie Doll cutout," wrote one fan on Facebook.
Another wrote on the Huffington Post, "I'm a huge TJ fan. I think he's smooth..delicious and very comfortable in front of the camera. He's on to bigger and better things and I can't wait to see where he lands! Good Luck!!"
A third said, "WHAT A SEXY MUTHA!!!!! DAMN!"
Tenisha Bell, CNN executive producer, wrote, "TJ is a great journalist, co-worker, work husband and friend. I've been wiping the tears for months and now we only have 2 more weeks together. I fully supported his move knowing that my job will never be the same. Rarely do you ever get an anchor and executive producer that sees 'eye to eye' and that can lead a team on one accord. He is a true gentleman and hard worker. I'm sure all of us will support him in his new job."
Others posted messages disparaging CNN.
According to his CNN bio, "Holmes came to CNN from NBC11 in the San Francisco Bay Area. While with NBC, he traveled to Athens, Greece to cover the 2004 Olympics, the first Summer Games held since the September 11th terrorist attacks. He covered numerous other stories that garnered national attention, including the historic recall election of the California Governor in 2003 and the double murder trial of Scott Peterson.
"Before joining NBC11, Holmes served as a weekend anchor and reporter for KTHV-TV in Little Rock, Ark. He began his career at KSNF-TV in Joplin, Mo."
In 2010, BET announced that another news name, Ed Gordon, would have a show built around him. But the Sunday news roundtable hosted by Gordon caused hardly a stir and is no longer on BET's schedule. Gordon has failed to return to the status he enjoyed at the network after coming to national attention there two decades ago.
Meanwhile, BET announced Tuesday that it would air a news special, “The Curious Case of Citizen Cain” on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Herman Cain, who suspended his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, "talks in-depth for the first time to the black audience about what he calls 'scams perpetrated on blacks' by liberal black leaders, his fiery brand of black conservatism, and the sex scandals that drove him from the Republican Presidential race," the announcement said. Clips are posted on bet.com/news.
- National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Congratulates TJ Holmes on his Move to BET
"Saying he wanted to avoid another three decades of appeals — and a new public forum for Mumia Abu-Jamal — Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said today he will not seek a new death penalty hearing for the convicted killer of Officer Daniel Faulkner," Joseph A. Slobodzian reported Wednesday for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Flanked by Faulkner's widow, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, officials of the Fraternal Order of Police and a cadre of prosecutors past and present who were involved with the case, Williams said he believed his office could successfully impanel a new jury and get a new death sentence against Abu-Jamal.
"But the tortuous legal process ahead for a newly-imposed death sentence — and the likelihood that Abu-Jamal, 57, will die in prison before it could be carried out — made that route seem futile.
" 'Every reviewing court has found the trial fair and the guilty verdict sound," Williams said at a press conference. '. . . Our best remaining option is to let Mr. Abu-Jamal to die in prison.' "
A previous version of the story explained, ". . . At issue was the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal in October hear a petition by Williams' office seeking to reinstate the death penalty against Abu-Jamal.
"The ruling meant that, unless Williams decided to conduct a new sentencing hearing, Abu-Jamal would continue to serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.
"Williams decided against a new hearing."
Abu-Jamal was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists at the time of his arrest 30 years ago.
His supporters are planning to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Abu-Jamal's imprisonment with a forum at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center on Friday with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, professor Cornel West, Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," and others.
Tutu said in a statement, "Now that it is clear that Mumia should never have been on death row in the first place, justice will not be served by relegating him to prison for the rest of his life — yet another form of death sentence. Based on even a minimal following of international human rights standards, Mumia must now be released. I therefore join the call, and ask others to follow, asking District Attorney Seth Williams to rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights, and justice: drop this case now, and allow Mumia Abu-Jamal to be immediately released, with full time served.”
- Dr. Johanna Fernandez, Loop21.com: Why Mumia Abu-Jamal Must Be Set Free
- Timothy Williams, New York Times: Execution Case Dropped Against Abu-Jamal
- John S. Wilson, Loop21.com: Mumia Abu-Jamal Supporter, Pam Africa, Talks His Freedom Fight
Ofield Dukes, a leading public relations counselor in the nation's capital, died Wednesday at Henry Ford Hospital in his hometown of Detroit. He was 79.
"Ofield was part of unique cadre of journalists who made the leap to public relations and never forgot his roots," Charles Robinson, a reporter for Maryland Public Television, said by email.
"Our paths crossed often while working in D.C. He delivered when few could. I'm reminded of how he often assisted struggling journalists in Washington. When newspapers, radio stations, and even television stations wouldn't pay for Black journalists to cover political conventions, he gave to those who asked for an opportunity on 'someone else's dime.' I know because many of them told me how he helped get them to political conventions."
Herbert Lowe, journalism professional in residence at Marquette University and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, recalled for Journal-isms by email, "I met Ofield soon after becoming communications director for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) in spring 2007. He had managed the production of the foundation's newsletter for many years and not only enabled a smooth transition in my taking it over, but supported me in my efforts to focus on the foundation's successes as well as giving voice to the caucus member's priorities.
"More importantly, he understood as well as anyone the triangular dynamics of the black caucus, the foundation and the media and, in particular, the black media. He enthusiastically introduced me to leaders of the [National Newspaper Publishers Association], sharing my desire to increase access among the black press to CBCF's education, health and other initiatives.
"Anyone could see that Ofield had earned the respect of members of Congress and black publishers alike and I admired how he conducted himself: always with dignity, always with sincerity and always with style. I imagined then, and still do now, him as an example and that others would say the same about me some 30 years from now. He will definitely be missed."
"Dukes was born on Aug. 8, 1932, in Rutledge, Ala. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1958. He went on to receive three National Newspaper Publishers Association awards for editorial, column and feature writing for the Michigan Chronicle in l964.
"He relocated to Washington, D.C., later in 1964 to join the Johnson-Humphrey administration as deputy director of information for the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, which President Lyndon B. Johnson chaired.
"In 1966, the White House appointed him to the staff of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, serving through 1968. Dukes started his own PR firm in 1969 with an office at the National Press Building. Motown Records was his first client.
"Dukes helped organize the first Congressional Black Caucus dinner and served on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change.
"He has also been a communications consultant for every Democratic presidential campaign since 1972. In 1993, he founded the Black Public Relations Society of Washington.
"At Howard University, where he taught as an adjunct professor for 17 years, he was instrumental in formulating the PR curriculum. Dukes also served as an adjunct professor" in the School of Communication at American University for eight years.
" 'Ofield was a pioneer, a visionary leader who gave unselfishly to the public relations profession in an effort to increase greater understanding, ethics, and inclusion of people from all walks of life, nationalities, races and genders,' said Dr. Rochelle Ford, APR, associate dean, School of Communications, Howard University. 'His contributions to the practice, education and politics are numerous and he has touched many as a mentor and a friend, including me.' "
The Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America was planning its first Diversity Summit in February, "named after local PR legend Ofield Dukes and co-sponsored with Wayne State University and General Motors," president Jennifer Flowers said last month.
- Afro-American: Ofield Dukes: [Renowned] Public Relations Specialist Dies at 79
- National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Mourns the Loss of Public Relations Pioneer Ofield Dukes
- Public Relations Society of America: PRSA remembers Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA
Michael Chen, believed to be NBC News’ highest ranking Asian American, is being reorganized out of a job as the network integrates his Strategic Initiatives Group into other parts of the news division, NBC News President Steve Capus told employees.
When Chen was named president of the Strategic Initiatives Group in January, NBC said, "In his new position, Chen will be responsible for identifying growth opportunities and will oversee several key news division properties including Education Nation, the NBC Learn Businesses, and many of the NBC News digital investments."
The new announcement from Capus said, "In an effort to streamline and grow our new business initiatives, NBC News will be integrating the Strategic Initiatives Group into existing teams spread across the news division. The group's staff and key initiatives — including Education Nation, NBC Learn, e-books and digital projects — will each be aligned to related operations that are currently overseen by other NBC News leadership. Michael Chen will help transition the group into this next phase, while wrapping up his assignment with NBC News. The transition will take effect in mid-January.
"I'd like to thank Michael for supporting the development of these initiatives, laying the foundation for new opportunities and helping elevate Education Nation with the on-the-road tour and a spectacular 2011 summit. He is truly dedicated to the important missions of NBC News and has worked tirelessly to establish the building blocks for a stronger news division. He always carries himself with professionalism and good cheer.
"More information about this transition will be available soon. We are committed to making this process as smooth as possible. Thanks for all of your hard work and continued support. Please join me in wishing Michael well in his future endeavors."
While Comcast's request to absorb NBCUniversal was pending, Comcast and NBCU pledged to increase director-level representation of minorities.
"Income inequality is increasing across much of the developed world, a trend that will continue unless governments move aggressively to arrest it, according to a report released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development," Michael A. Fletcher reported Monday for the Washington Post.
"The widening gap between rich and poor is being driven in part by a growing disparity in wages, as skilled workers command a disproportionate share of the bounty made possible by technological progress, the report said."
CNN contributor Will Cain, left, participates in a discussion of Newt Gingrich's comments on the work habits of the poor. (Video)
David Montgomery and Lonnae O’Neal Parker began their Washington Post story Tuesday with this quote from Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate and former speaker of the House:
"Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working, and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it’s illegal."
The reporters continued:
"When Nickaro Young, Khalid Bullock and Rian Hayes heard what the GOP presidential candidate was saying about young people like them and their peers in the Congress Heights neighborhood of the District, they bristled, briefly. Then they went back to their responsibilities.
"Which for Young, 16, includes walking to the IHOP on Alabama Avenue SE, where he is a host on weekends. Bullock, 17, helps out at his father’s store, Shar Retailers on Martin Luther King Boulevard SE, and last month he co-founded a nonprofit to help young people put their talent to work in the community.
"Hayes, 17, is studying hard to become a lawyer, after a successful internship this past summer at the downtown law firm of Alston & Bird."
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: With Cain Out, Turn the Glare on Gingrich’s Racial Skeletons
- EURWeb.com: Sharpton Threatens ‘Action’ Against Trump Over ‘Today’ Remarks
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN.com: Gingrich dared to speak truth on teens' work ethic
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a letter to four senior lawmakers today that recent news articles about the central bank’s emergency lending programs contained 'egregious errors,' " Bloomberg News said Tuesday.
"While Bernanke’s letter and an accompanying four-page staff memo posted on the Fed’s website didn’t mention any news organizations by name, Bloomberg News has published a series of articles this year examining the bailout. The latest, 'Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress,' appeared Nov. 28.
" 'Bloomberg stands by its reporting,' said Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. . . . "
"Major League Baseball became the first elite-level North American pro sports league to impose a dress code in the press box, issuing guidelines in writing this week during owners' meetings," Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday from Dallas.
"Among clothing items on the banned list are flip-flop sandals, short skirts, tank-top shirts, visible underwear or anything bearing a team logo.
"NBA, NFL and NHL officials have not issued such guidelines on attire for journalists covering games.
"The move comes in the wake of last year's incident involving Mexican television reporter Ines [Sainz] receiving unwanted attention because of her attire at the training camp of American football's New York Jets."
- Matt Weber, MLB.com: MLB implements dress code for media
- In Cleveland, "Romona Robinson is leaving WKYC Channel 3 after 15 years as one of the Cleveland station's primary news anchors. Her last day on the air at Channel 3 will be Friday, Dec. 16," Mark Dawidziak reported Wednesday for the Plain Dealer. The move comes just two weeks after WJW co-anchor Stacey Bell ended a 13-year run.
- "When you aggregate content, what obligation do you have to the original source — and to readers?" Mallary Jean Tenore wondered Tuesday for the Poynter Institute. "I asked myself this question after seeing how people reacted to the events surrounding Jim Romenesko’s departure from Poynter, and decided to look into it. As it turns out, a lot of news sites have developed strategies for aggregating but are still figuring out how to serve readers without undermining original content providers."
- Rob King, senior vice president, editorial, for ESPN’s Digital and Print Media unit, has agreed to serve on the advisory board for Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center, Zak Keefer reported Tuesday for the center.
- "A number of Fox owned MyNetworkTV stations are partnering on MGM's new digital channel KIN TV, which programs to an African American audience in the 25-54 demo. MyNetworkTV affiliates WWOR New York and KCOP Los Angeles are among the Fox-owned MyNets slated to carry KIN," Michael Malone reported Tuesday for Broadcasting & Cable. ". . . Lee Gaither, formerly head of programming at TV One, is KIN TV's president and CEO."
- "NPR News has hired journalist Lynette Clemetson to lead StateImpact, a local-national collaboration between NPR and station groups in eight states that reports on state government actions and their impact on citizens and communities," NPR announced on Wednesday. "Clemetson joins the project on January 17; she is currently Director of Content Strategy at Pew Center on the States. . . . Prior to joining Pew, Clemetson was the founding managing editor of TheRoot.com when it launched in 2008."
- "Coming soon to TNT, maybe: a medical drama inspired by a corporate colleague, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta," Brian Stelter reported Wednesday for the New York Times. "The drama, 'Chelsea General,' is based on 'Monday Mornings,' a novel written by Dr. Gupta that is to be published in March. TNT, which, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner, will produce a pilot episode of the drama early next year before deciding whether to produce a full season."
- "The only progressive AM radio talk station, Green960-KKGN, in one of the nation's most liberal cities, San Francisco, is being taken off the AM dial by radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications, Inc. — a media conglomerate now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC — at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential election year," Brad Friedman wrote Monday on his blog.
- "A popular Mississippi television anchor wants a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that seeks documents and other material connected to the civil rights leader," Holbrook Mohr wrote Tuesday for the Associated Press. "The lawsuit was filed in September in U.S. District Court in Jackson against Howard Ballou, an anchor for Jackson-based WLBT-TV. The suit says Ballou's mother worked for King as a secretary from 1955 to 1960 and kept documents during the time King led the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."
- "Questlove has been ordered to have his song choices approved by NBC honchos after his musical attack on Michele Bachmann, when his band the Roots played the opening of 'Lyin’ Ass Bitch' as she walked on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,' " the Page Six column of the New York Post reported Wednesday.
- J Camp, a six-day training camp developed by the Asian American Journalists Association that "brings together a multicultural group of high school students from across the nation to sharpen their journalism skills and work together in a unique learning environment," is scheduled from June 19-24 during the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in New Orleans. More details on the AAJA site.
- "La Amenaza Iraní," a Univision documentary that "looks at Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties in Latin America, and the threat this offensive poses to the Latin American region and the United States," debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT (9 p.m. Central), Univision announced on Tuesday.
- "To honor the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, The Atlantic has released a special [commemorative] issue, available today," Chris O'Shea wrote Tuesday for FishbowlNY. ". . . President Barack Obama penned an introduction, and there are pieces from notable Atlantic contributors such as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson." [On NPR on Thursday, the Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates discussed why African Americans take so little interest in the conflict.] The issue costs $10.95.
- "Newsday is expanding its digital operations into Westchester County [N.Y.], one of the wealthiest areas in the country. As part of the expansion, the Cablevision-owned property will hire 25 new editors, reporters and digital content specialists," Julie Moos reported Monday for the Poynter Institute.
- The New York Times obtained a posting of a Facebook conversation that has since vanished in which New York police officers commented on the annual West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn. "Some of the remarks appeared to have broken Police Department rules barring officers from 'discourteous or disrespectful remarks' about race or ethnicity," William Glaberson reported on Tuesday.
- "DeMarco Morgan is joining WXIA, the NBC-affiliate in Atlanta, as co-anchor of the 6 p.m. weekday newscast," Merrill Knox reported Tuesday for FishbowlNY. "For the past three years, Morgan has been a reporter at NBC owned-and-operated WNBC in New York City. He will start at WXIA in early January."
- At the University of Arizona, "A UA website’s toolkit is helping journalists report more accurately and improve their relationship with Indian groups," Amer Taleb reported on Wednesday for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. "UANativeNet.com, a partnership of several UA groups, shares information on Indian tribal governance and law. It has resources for attorneys, educators and journalists, but the site can provide useful information for anyone looking to learn more about the topics, said Melissa Tatum, NativeNet contributor and associate director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the James E. Rogers College of Law."
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