Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Whitlock Knocks Ex-Boss in Radio Extravaganza

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Updated August 21, August 22

Fox Sports Denies Reports of Multimillion-Dollar Contract

Harold Dow, CBS News Correspondent, Dies at 62

. . . On Assignment, CBS Colleagues Raise a Glass for Dow

Obama Black-Press Aide Corey Ealons Leaving for Private Sector

Poll Says Coverage of Poor, Muslims Is Seen as Negative

AP Names Sonya Ross to New Race Editor's Position

AP Advises Staff to Avoid "Ground Zero Mosque"

Media Cited in False Belief That Obama Is Muslim

NABJ Invites "Dr. Laura" to Join Conversation

Jason Begay of Navajo Times Named Reznet Director

Short Takes

Jason Whitlock, who left his columnist's perch this week at the Kansas City Star, 'always did his best and most creative work for Fox Sports,' according to the alternative Kansas City newspaper the Pitch.

Fox Sports Denies Reports of Multimillion-Dollar Contract

With a reportedly hefty contract with FoxSports.com in negotiation, former Kansas City Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock arranged a LeBron James-style radio show called "The Explanation" on Friday in which "There were admissions of deception, a whole lot of bitterness . . . oh, and a bizarre tidbit that forced the station to temporarily yank the program from the air," according to Glenn Davis, writing on sportsgrid.com.

Some who listened tweeted about it:

"Dude is seriously crying. 'I feel like a sellout. I didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. It hurts,' " wrote AGP31.

"wow 610! It ran a lil long like Bron Bron's 'Decision,' but ultimately it was GREAT RADIO! good job," said Sammy Mojito.

DeAnnSmith wrote, "Another friend says work stopped at the inky place for EVERYONE to listen to #whitlock show on their 'puters."

"Most of it was simply what you'd expect - Whitlock said he was underpaid at ESPN, so he eventually left. He also said he disagreed with the direction of the Star's sports section for many years, but stayed on because he felt it was his duty to help keep the newspaper business afloat," Davis wrote.

"But when he started talking about the Star's current editor, Mike Fannin - well, that's when Whitlock really gave the people what they wanted."

Whitlock said Fannin and sports editor Holly Lawton were an item. . . .

"2) Supposedly, Whitlock's kind words about Fannin in his infamous Big Lead interview were complete lies designed to try and get another media outlet to hire him away. Seeing as how Fannin now runs the Star, this did not work.

"3) To hear Whitlock say it, Fannin sounds like a party guy - . . . the station couldn't yank the program from the air fast enough."

On the Kansas City page of the sports blog network SB Nation, Joel Thorman wrote earlier Friday, "I've learned that Whitlock's contract with FOX will pay him a whopping $2.1 million over three years. . . . Whitlock will be writing more columns for the website and it's believed he'll be part of, in some fashion, FOX's increasing focus on online video content. There's also a possibility he does some radio work for FOX as well."

However, Fox Sports spokesman Bob Broderick told Journal-isms that "we're thrilled to have him on board," but Whitlock and Fox were still in negotiations and that "at the moment," nothing's been decided. Whitlock had been writing a weekly column for FoxSports.com while still at the Star.

The alternative Kansas City newspaper the Pitch reported that Whitlock's "The Explanation" was also the subject of negotiations. It ultimately was to air on both KCSP-AM (610 Sports) with drive-time radio host Nick Wright, and on Time Warner Cable's Metro Sports.

"Since the rotund raconteur's extended vacation from the Star turned into a permanent one - i.e., since last Tuesday - Whitlock's been teasing 'The Explanation' via his Twitter page. 610's Wright ultimately won the right to host today's LeBronsian broadcast. 'The list of his demands is great," Wright tells The Pitch,' Nadia Pflaum wrote on Friday.

"This is what he wants: one hour where he gets to talk without commercial interruptions, one hour where I interview him, one hour where we take phone calls, he wants it live on TV, and we have to provide Gates to cater it, with a maximum tab of $300,' Wright says. 'Those were his five demands, and we agreed to all of them.' " Gates Bar-B-Q is a six-restaurant chain in the Kansas City area.

NBA megastar James announced July 8 that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in an ESPN special called "The Decision," which ESPN's ombudsman later criticized as having ceded too much control over the program to James. However, it peaked at more than 13 million viewers, giving ESPN its second-highest rating of the year.

"An hour commercial-free and $300 of barbecue?" the Pitch story continued. "Isn't that awfully pricey? 'Oh, it'll be well, well worth it,' says Wright, who helped negotiate the deal with Whitlock and Scott Cruce," who produced Whitlock's old afternoon show on the station.

After listening to the broadcast, the sports blog the Big Lead wrote of Whitlock, "You won't see him writing for a newspaper again anytime soon, if ever."

Harold Dow, CBS News Correspondent, Dies at 62

Harold Dow "Long-time CBS News correspondent Harold Dow died suddenly this morning, Saturday, August 21, at the age of 62," CBS News announced on Saturday.

[On Sunday night, CBS said Dow's family said the cause of death was apparently an asthma attack.

["At the time of Harold's death, he was suffering from adult onset asthma. On Monday, August 16, 2010, Harold checked himself into the Valley Hospital emergency room in Ridgewood for severe asthmatic symptoms. According to the Hackensack Police Department incident report, an inhaler was found on the floor of Harold's vehicle. Therefore, it is believed at this time that Harold succumbed to an asthma attack while behind the wheel," a family spokesperson said.]

"Dow was a correspondent for 48 HOURS since 1990, after serving as a contributor to the broadcast since its premiere on January 19, 1988. Dow was also a contributor to the critically acclaimed 1986 documentary '48 Hours on Crack Street,' which led to creation of the single-topic weekly news magazine," the initial announcement said.

" 'CBS News is deeply saddened by this sudden loss,' said Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports. 'The CBS News family has lost one of its oldest and most talented members, whose absence will be felt by many and whose on-air presence and reporting skills touched nearly all of our broadcasts. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Kathy, and their children Joelle, Danica and David.'

"Over the course of his distinguished career at the network, Dow served as a correspondent for the CBS News magazine Street Stories (1992-93) and reported for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, SUNDAY MORNING and the CBS News legal series, Verdict. He served as co-anchor on CBS News Nightwatch (1982-83), prior to which he had been a correspondent (1977-82) and reporter (1973-77) at the CBS News Los Angeles bureau.

"He covered many of the most important stories of our times, including 9/11 where he barely escaped one of the falling Twin Towers, the return of POW's from Vietnam and the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, with whom he had an exclusive interview in December 1976, the movement of American troops into Bosnia and the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster. He also conducted the first network interview with O. J. Simpson following the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

" 'Harold Dow was a reporter for the ages. Insatiably curious, he was happiest when he was on the road deep into a story. He took pride in every story he did,' said 48 HOURS MYSTERY Executive Producer, Susan Zirinsky. 'It was his humanity, which was felt by everyone he encountered, even in his toughest interviews, that truly defined the greatness of his work. He was the most selfless man I have known. It is a tremendous loss for 48 HOURS, CBS News, and the world of journalism. I deeply miss him already.'"

As a 20-year-old student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1968, Dow became the first black television reporter in the city, Jeff Roberts reported in June for the Record in Bergen County, N.J.

"But the roots of Dow’s career trace back to Hackensack and his grandmother’s farm in South Carolina, where he spent his childhood summers picking cotton and tobacco.

“ 'It reminded me where we came from,' he said. 'It wasn’t pretty. I can say that.'

"Dow grew silent for a moment, his eyes hidden behind his mirrored sunglasses. Tears began streaming down his cheeks.

“ 'To know what it’s like in that hot sun, working from sunup to sundown, forbidden to be able to read or write for hundreds of years. . . . and that’s what you do as a journalist, the thing they say you can’t do,' said Dow. 'It’s all connected for me.' "

. . . On Assignment, CBS Colleagues Raise a Glass for Dow

"We r all together tonight on assignment," "60 Minutes" correspondent Byron Pitts e-mailed Journal-isms Saturday night. "We all raised a glass for our friend," Harold Dow.

"Harold was one of the funniest men I've ever known. Always welcoming, always willing to share his wisdom with those of us coming along. All of us owe him a debt of gratitude. He was a credit to our profession.

"As a journalist of color, he along with Ed Bradley is a cornerstone of my Mt. Rushmore."

Dow's friend and colleague and longtime CBS cameraman Dennis Dillon, who worked with Dow at "48 HRS," said, "He brought sunshine everywhere he went," Pitts reported.

Stan Wilkins, a CBS soundman, also on the overseas assignment, said, "He treated every person with great respect. We all will miss him."

"60 Minutes" producer Harry Radliffe said, "I never had the pleasure of working with Harold, but I always admired his skill as an interviewer. Harold's ability to talk with ordinary people reflected the fact that they were comfortable with him. They trusted him and they opened up him. I always felt that spoke volumes about Harold. He was honest and straightforward. What you saw was what you got. And what CBS News got was someone special. Harold was real; in today's news, a rare commodity."

Separately, Randall Pinkston, who now reports for CBS Newspath, told Journal-isms by e-mail an hour after he heard the news, "We, at CBS NEWS, are saddened and shocked. He was a trailblazer, a great journalist, a great friend and mentor. I shall miss him enormously."

And national correspondent Russ Mitchell, anchor of the "CBS Evening News" Sunday edition, said, "I would only add...Harold was my Angel. The go-to-guy who had done it, seen it, survived it. A man who took his role as a pioneer seriously and always had a smile and great advice. Yeah, he was a remarkable journalist but he was an even more incredible human being. I loved him and already miss him."

Obama Press Aide Corey Ealons Leaving for Private Sector

Corey A. Ealons, the White House director of African American media Corey A. Ealons with Amanda Leeke at June's 'Blogging While Brown' conference in Washington. (Credit: Amanda Leeke)who saw a large part of his job as providing access to the White House for the black press, is leaving for the private sector, Ealons announced on Friday.

"It is with some sadness, but also great anticipation for the future, that I make my exit from the White House today," he wrote via e-mail.

"It has been an honor to serve in my capacity as the Director of African American Media with this Administration and on behalf of this President during this extraordinary time in our history. I am also humbled to have worked with the dedicated members of the Black Press and African American media. You all do a tremendous job of delivering information to the community, and this mission is more important now than ever before.

"I am taking on a new role at a communications firm in DC, so I won’t be far away."

Ealons, 40, of Birmingham, Ala., was deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., for six years before joining the Obama campaign as director of African American media.

Just two weeks ago, Ealons arranged a conference call with members of the Trotter Group of African American columnists on the administration's efforts in black communities, resulting in columns last week by Mary C. Curtis for Politics Daily and David Squires in the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

"Corey did a great job getting us access to the top administrators at the White House," Kevin Chapell, senior editor for Ebony and Jet magazines, told Journal-isms. "He held regular roundtables with the black media, sent out timely and relevant news releases and really kept us in the loop."

April D. Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks said that because of what she learned in the meetings, she was able to follow up on a complaint by John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association. The administration disclosed that it had earmarked money to pay a $1.25 billion discrimination settlement with the farmers. At another session with White House aide Valerie Jarrett, she said, she learned that the administration planned to treat New Orleans not simply as a disaster area but "like urban centers in the grips of bad economic times."

Ryan recently was awarded a third-row seat at White House news briefings. While Ealons did not play a role in that decision, he did work to include more journalists of color at White House news conferences and to have them called upon.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton did not respond to a question about how Ealons' job would be filled.

Poll Finds Coverage of Poor, Muslims Seen as Negative

"In evaluating news coverage of different groups, pluralities of Americans say that coverage of poor people and Muslims is too negative, while somewhat smaller percentages say the same about coverage of blacks and Hispanics," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported on Thursday.

". . . The survey also shows that the public is divided over whether news organizations devote too much coverage to race relations in this country. Still, close to half (48%) say the media make relations between the races seem worse than they actually are, while about a quarter (24%) say they reflect race relations as they really are.

"Just more than a third (34%) say news organizations give too much attention to race relations, while a comparable 31% say they give these difficult issues too little coverage and 25% say the amount is about right.

"African Americans are much more likely than whites to say news organizations give too little attention to race relations (51% vs. 24%), though pluralities in both groups (42% for blacks, 50% for whites) say the media make race relations seem worse than they actually are.

"Nearly six-in-ten African Americans (58%) say that news coverage of blacks is generally too negative. A sizeable minority of whites (31%) also says that blacks are portrayed too negatively in news stories. Still, nearly half of whites (48%) say media treatment of blacks is generally fair (just 28% of blacks say this). African Americans also are more likely than whites to say that media coverage of Hispanics is too negative (48%, compared with 32% of whites).

"Pluralities of both blacks (49%) and whites (60%) say that news coverage of whites tends to be fair, while just 16% of whites and 12% of blacks say it is too negative. Blacks are somewhat more likely than whites to say media coverage of whites is too positive, although just 26% of blacks say this (compared with 11% of whites)."

AP Names Sonya Ross to New Race Editor's Position

Sonya RossAssociated Press veteran Sonya Ross, former White House correspondent and currently regional news editor in the Washington bureau, on Friday was named to the new position of race/ethnicity/demographics editor.

"She'll work with AP journalists around the country to produce coverage that captures the changing facets of race and ethnicity in the United States and its effects on the experiences of people of various races. Through her editing and writing, she'll help the AP look thoughtfully at the evolving definition and significance of race and ethnicity in American culture and society," Acting Bureau Chief Steven Komarow said in a note.

"Sonya will also expand her role in the news department's diversity initiatives, and help the AP create new types of content on diversity topics in all formats."

"It's a subject that's begging to be covered," Ross told Journal-isms. "The country wants to talk about race, needs to talk about race, and doesn't know how. It's time to take this subject seriously."

The AP said it received 449 applicants when it sought a national writer on race and ethnicity in 2008. Jesse Washington, then the AP’s entertainment editor, was chosen. He is based in New York.

AP Advises Staff to Avoid "Ground Zero Mosque"

"The Associated Press, one of world's most powerful news organizations, issued a memo today advising staff to avoid the phrase 'Ground Zero mosque,' " Michael Calderone reported Thursday for Yahoo News.

"The Upshot," a Yahoo News site, "reported Tuesday that the AP started using the phrase 'Ground Zero mosque' in some headlines in late May. The New York Times, for one, has consciously avoided that phrasing.

"The AP began using the phrase as the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan started bubbling up to the national level. Many news organizations, across platforms, routinely dub the project the 'Ground Zero Mosque.'

"The AP has always been clear in the text of stories that the project would be built two blocks from Ground Zero and not on the actual site. But AP headlines, at times, ran with the phrase adopted by opponents of the project and amplified by the media.

"Now the news organization is taking steps to make sure that no longer occurs.

" 'We should continue to avoid the phrase 'ground zero mosque' or 'mosque at ground zero' on all platforms, said Tom Kent, the AP's deputy managing editor for standards and production, in the memo the news organization shared with The Upshot."

Media Cited in False Belief That Obama is Muslim

When the Pew Research Center asked Americans how they learned about Obama’s religion in an open-ended question, 60 percent of those who say Obama is a Muslim cite the media, Pew reported on Thursday. "Among specific media sources, television (at 16%) is mentioned most frequently. About one-in-ten (11%) of those who say Obama is a Muslim say they learned of this through Obama’s own words and behavior."

In its widely reported finding, "A substantial and growing number of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while the proportion saying he is a Christian has declined. More than a year and a half into his presidency, a plurality of the public says they do not know what religion Obama follows," Pew said.

"A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) now say Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34%) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48% in 2009. Fully 43% say they do not know what Obama’s religion is. The survey was completed in early August, before Obama’s recent comments about the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center.

"The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama’s job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009."

NABJ Invites "Dr. Laura" to Join Conversation

Nita Hanson, who had called Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio show, said she did not think Schlessinger's apology was good enough.The National Association of Black Journalists Thursday extended an invitation to "Dr. Laura and Premiere Radio Networks to join us in a conversation leading to change in the public discourse, which both embraces their right to free speech and our desire to end the use of racial slurs and epithets on the public's airwaves."

Meanwhile, "The African American woman who called Laura Schlessinger for advice and heard the radio talk show host use the N-word 11 times said Thursday that she was confused and hurt by the call," CNN reported.

" 'I was calling her to get some help,' Nita Hanson told CNN's 'American Morning.' 'I did not expect to hear the things that she said to me.'

"Hanson called Schlessinger Aug. 10, seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband's friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it's appropriate to ever use the N-word, with Schlessinger arguing it's used on HBO and by black comedians.

"National furor erupted after Schlessinger ended up using the word 11 times during the five-minute call with Hanson, and the veteran host said this week she would quit her radio career at the end of the year.

"Schlessinger apologized for her remarks but Hanson said that was not good enough."

In the NABJ statement, President Kathy Times said, "Dr. Laura apologized for using the offensive language. She does not have the right to use racial slurs on public airwaves. She says she will not do radio anymore, but there are deeper issues that must be addressed by the company that syndicates her show — Premiere Radio Networks. Why wait until the next on-air personality slips up?

"Is it time for the n-word and other racial epithets to be added to the list of seven dirty words (made famous by comedian George Carlin)?"

Jason Begay of Navajo Times Named Reznet Director

Jason Begay"Navajo Times reporter and editor Jason Begay has joined the journalism faculty at The University of Montana as an assistant professor and director of Reznet," the university announced on Friday.

"Begay will teach a class each semester and direct Reznet, the School of Journalism’s nationally acclaimed mentoring, recruitment and website project (http://www.reznetnews.org/). Now in its eighth year, Reznet is supported by UM and the Gannett Foundation.

"The intent of Reznet’s training and mentoring program is to produce more Native American professional journalists. Denny McAuliffe, who founded Reznet at UM, returned last fall to The Washington Post, where he is an overnight news editor.

"A UM alumnus, Begay was a reporter at The Oregonian before taking a job at the Navajo Times in Window Rock, Ariz., in 2004 to cover tribal government and education. In March, he became web editor of the Navajo Times, an independent newspaper and one of the most respected tribal papers in the nation. As a student and after graduation from UM, he had internships at several newspapers, including the Wichita Eagle and The New York Times."

Short Takes

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Comments

Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock must have been very angry to open disparage his former newspaper. I can understand that not getting positive reinforcement from newsroom editors for his professional achievements can make him very cranky. After reading all of the related articles pertaining to his departure from the Kansas City Star marks of unprofessional behavior on Mr. Whitlock's end. If he wants to remain in the media business, he seriously needs to show greater professionalism beyond what he has displayed. I don't care or need to know about an intimate relationship between his sports editors, internal issues of the Star's Sports Department and Kansas City sports media outlets. He acted very poorly!

Not a great loss...

The Kansas City Star has a long and checkered history of not treating its minority journalists well. I remember a time back in the mid 1980's when some of the leaders in the African American community picketed and protested in front of the paper for its poor and unfair coverage of minority issues in the city. Part of the problem was the paper had very few, if any minority writers  and the ones they did have were treated poorly. While I am not a big fan of Jason Whitlock, he did bring some positive attributes to the KCSTAR--sort of the same way editoral writer Rhonda Lokeman did before she fell from grace for driving drunk.

Harold Dow (by Marc Watts)

Journalism has lost another one of its "greats".  Much to be said about a man who was a CBS lifer his entire career.  Harold's story-telling ability, interviewing skills and voice were second to none.  He was the complete reporter, with no weaknesses in his game.  His standard is one that all up and coming journalists should strive for.  Harold was so good yet he was so far removed from how important he was in this business.  He just never took himself that seriously.  What a refreshing notion in today's world of self promotion and importance. I was a CBS correspondent trainee in 1984 working at WCCO-TV, when I met Harold.  He had come in town to do a story on dairy farmers.  I admit I watched his story air on Evening News, and then changed mine to reflect the style of how he told his.  The way he packaged his elements with stand-ups and natural sound is what made him so great. Marc Watts

Harold Dow

Another outstanding pioneering black journalist gone too soon. I always admired and respected Harold Dow and his always professional, always empathetic work. One of the very best in this business, he did his job with the highest of standards and the greatest of integrity. He will be truly missed.

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