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Friday, June 20, 2014

Six Outlets for Sale at "Nominal" Price to Diverse Buyers

Omar Tyree, Co-Writer of Marion Barry Memoir, Is a Believer

No Blacks in N.Y. Times Freelancer's Piece on Detroit

"Freedom Summer" 50th Anniversary Begins

Immigrants No Longer Majority of Hispanic Workers

Chicago Tribune Questions Decision on Redskins Trademark

Residents Interviewed Along With Cops — Novel Idea?

In Britain, BBC Ramps Up Diversity Efforts

Editor of State-Controlled Paper Arrested in Zimbabwe

Short Takes

KHAS-TV in the Lincoln, Neb., market, is among six television stations that Gray

Six Outlets for Sale at "Nominal" Price to Diverse Buyers

In light of new government restrictions on owning more than one television station in the same market, Atlanta-based Gray Television, Inc., is seeking to sell six stations at bargain prices to buyers that qualify as "socially disadvantaged enterprises, such as a business controlled by a woman or a minority," or "non-profit entities such as a Native American tribe, a religious institution, or a school."

The decision by Gray is a direct consequence of a 3-2 Federal Communications Commission vote in March to bar so-called "shared services agreements" or "joint sales agreements" in which one station provides services, such as selling advertising, to another.

The FCC added language designed to encourage waivers for joint sales agreements that encourage diversity in media ownership. As of 2011, Latinos owned only 2.9 percent of full power commercial television stations, African Americans less than 1 percent and Asians or Asian Americans, 0.5 percent. The African American number might be lower now.

Gray announced on June 13 that it had it retained MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers, the brokerage arm of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, as "the exclusive broker to identify and facilitate the transfer of six full-power television stations following the termination of those stations' services agreements with Gray."

The stations are KHAS-TV, Hastings, Neb., serving Lincoln, the state capital; KXJB-TV, Fargo, N.D.; KAQY-TV, Monroe, La.; KNDX-TV and KXND-TV, Bismarck, N.D.; and KJCT-TV, Grand Junction, Colo.

David Honig, president of MMTC, told Journal-isms by email Friday that David Honighe had "several expressions of interest — more than 10 so far. These stations are a bit unusual — there's more there than building out a bare construction permit, but less there than acquiring a fully built out operating station.

"The price will be nominal — just the transactional costs (legal, broker, accounting, taxes, FCC fees, etc.) The key is going to be lining up an affiliation with a network whose programming will generate enough revenue to make the station a success. It's been done in these kinds of markets many times before, so I'm reasonably confident that in some or all of these markets it can be done too. The only way to find out is to try."

Asked how much "transactional costs" might be, Honig replied, "Generally (and not limited to this specific set of stations), television station transactional costs typically run in the $10K to $100K range depending on the complexity of the transaction, whether there is any opposition to it, and whether any special showings are required by the FCC or the Justice Department's Antitrust Division."

In another consequence of the FCC decision, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., said on June 6 that it had agreed to sell three television stations to black media entrepreneur Pluria Marshall Jr. in a deal that, if approved, would nearly double the tiny number of full-powered African American-owned commercial television stations.

Marshall said in a statement then, "On four separate occasions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we actively pursued, but were unable to obtain financing for station purchases. Over this period, we made contact with at least eight institutional lenders that commonly provide broadcast financing. All of those lenders provided a range of reasons as to why they would not provide financing. . . ."

Gray said in its statement, "Each station will be offered to interested parties for a price that merely reimburses Gray for its expenses associated with a particular station sale."

The announcement also said that Gray had moved programming from KHAS-TV, KNDX-TV and KXND-TV to other stations in the market owned by Gray and that the three stations have ceased broadcasting.

"The remaining three stations (KXJB-TV, KAQY-TV, and KJCT-TV) currently receive services from Gray. Over the next few months, Gray intends to transition the programming from these three remaining stations to the primary or multicast channels of the same-market television stations owned by Gray, pending approval of such transfers from each station's affiliated network and other stakeholders. Following a program line-up transfer, the station will cease broadcasting.

"Rather than surrender their licenses to the FCC upon the termination of their services agreements with Gray, the current owners of each of these stations have provided Gray with an assignable right to acquire the applicable FCC authorizations and transmission equipment for their stations.

"Gray hopes to use these option rights to facilitate the transfer of these stations to potential new broadcasters who can use the assets to continue broadcasting free over-the-air programming to the local communities. . . ."

Marion Barry, former D.C. mayor, at the National Press Club on Thursday. (Credit

Omar Tyree, Co-Writer of Barry Memoir, Is a Believer

Omar Tyree graduated from Howard University with a journalism degree in 1991, but his name has become so associated with best-selling novels that readers might be surprised to see Tyree listed as the co-author of "Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr.," the new memoir from the four-term mayor of the District of Columbia.

The book was released last week to critical reviews in the Washington media, but Tyree, 45, told Journal-isms by telephone Friday that that was to be expected. He compared the reaction to the disdain for Tyler Perry's films among critics even as many working-class blacks flocked to them.

Omar Tyree (Credit: WJLA-TV)

"I'm telling all the people to read the whole book and come to your own conclusions," Tyree said. "Me being a fiction writer, you can't skip to the middle of the book and know what's going on, but [with this] they will skip around the book and tell you they read it."

Tyree's purpose in writing the book was the same as Barry's, he said. "I told him I'm going to protect your legacy for the rest of your life." Barry spent time a civil rights leader and as a student who finished nearly all the requirements for a Ph.D. in chemistry before he became a politician internationally known for the 1990 sting operation that landed him in prison for smoking cocaine.

Like Barry, Tyree says the book was written for black people, many of whom benefited economically from city contracts and summer jobs while Barry was in office.

To many, Barry, now a councilman representing the poorest ward in the city, remains popular. Tyree said he worked on the book for 11 months. "I would end up in the government [office] waiting for him. The dude is very popular. People coming in the office all day long. A lot of time I would wait for three hours to get two hours of interview for the book." The author said he drove six hours from his home in Charlotte, N.C., to conduct the interviews.

It seems rare these days for an African American writer to be chosen as the ghostwriter for a book by a black celebrity. That's because the publishers "really don't know us," Tyree said. "There's a disconnect between the writer and the subject." In his case, the author Zane had a relationship with Simon & Schuster, knew Tyree's work and recommended him.

The author said he did not know of any black writers who have reviewed the book. (Local Barry critic Jonetta Rose Barras wrote a sharply worded blog post, if not a book review.) The non-blacks who have done so, however, have criticized Tyree along with Barry.

"While Barry has done his part by providing the salacious story (sort of), Tyree hasn't returned it with the writing," Will Sommer wrote in Washington City Paper. "Characters like talk show host Petey Greene are introduced, then introduced again a few pages later like it's the first time. The book misspells names, repeats the same ideas, and incorrectly puts Barry’s triumphant re-election campaign in 1995 instead of 1994.

"The book deploys a fragmented narrative that'd verge on avant-garde if it appeared at all deliberate.. . ."

Barry is headed for an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the author said, and Tyree is in talks to work with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Those talks are on hold. "When he is focused on boxing, he's not going to do anything else," Tyree said. But "now my name is out."

No Blacks in N.Y. Times Freelancer's Piece on Detroit

"A New York Times freelancer acknowledges in post-publication tweets this afternoon that a significant blind spot skews her feature headlined 'A Gleam of Renewal in Struggling Detroit,' " Alan Stamm reported Thursday for Deadline: Detroit. "It will be in the paper's Travel section Sunday and drew sharp pushback from a local blogger after going online Tuesday. . . .

" 'Only realizing now that none of those businesses [described] were black-owned and I deeply regret the omission,' Julie Alvin of New York says in a Twitter reply to criticism from Detroit painter Kelly Guillory. The local reader posted the writer's replies at Reddit, where she says: 'I took the author to task about her reporting.' . . ."

"Freedom Summer" 50th Anniversary Begins

(Credit: Clarion-Ledger photo illustration)

As one of many commemorations of Freedom Summer, the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., announced Friday:

"Fifty years ago, 'Freedom Summer' organizers set out to change Mississippi. They wound up changing the nation, too.

"Join us Sunday online and in print for complete coverage of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer."

PBS, which is premiering Stanley Nelson's "Freedom Summer" on "The American Experience" Tuesday,  describes the significance of the event this way:

"Over 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states."

On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three young civil rights workers, were killed in Philadelphia, Miss., their deaths long covered up. Chaney was black, Goodman and Schwerner white.

A weeklong conference on Freedom Summer starts Monday at Tougaloo College in Jackson.

According to the organizers, "Tougaloo College, the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (VMCRM), the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, and One Voice are collaborating on a campaign entitled, 'Mississippi: We Are Freedom Summer.'

"This campaign will include a series of issue-area convenings, a Constitutional ballot initiative campaign, and ongoing community organizing trainings for students and volunteers; including a week long gathering at Tougaloo College where participants will discuss and strategize around how to [continue] the work from 50 years ago. This campaign is an effort to ignite new energies and call to action on the following human rights issues: voting rights, quality public education for all children, workers' rights, and access to affordable healthcare."

Immigrants No Longer Majority of Hispanic Workers

"For the first time in nearly two decades, immigrants do not account for the majority of Hispanic workers in the United States," Rakesh Kochhar reported Thursday for the Pew Research Center.

"Meanwhile, most of the job gains made by Hispanics during the economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09 have gone to U.S.-born workers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

"In 2013, 49.7% of the more than 22 million employed Latinos were immigrants. This share was down sharply from the pre-recession peak of 56.1% in 2007. Although Latinos have gained 2.8 million jobs since the recession ended in 2009, only 453,000 of those went to immigrants. Moreover, all of the increase in employment for Latino immigrants happened in the first two years of the recovery, from 2009 to 2011. Since then, from 2011 to 2013, the employment of Latino immigrants is unchanged. . . ."

Chicago Tribune Questions Decision on Redskins Trademark

"Stanford's sports teams weren't always known as the Cardinal," the Chicago Tribune said in an editorial on Thursday. "Dartmouth squads have been called the Big Green only for the past four decades. Generations of students passed through Marquette before any began cheering for the Golden Eagles.

"Those schools once had Indian-themed nicknames. They gave them up in response to complaints from Native Americans who found them insulting, and the schools have all done just fine. The NFL team in Washington would as well, if owner Daniel Snyder would abandon his obstinate attachment to the name 'Redskins.'

"He ought to change the name. That said, what the government did Wednesday to force his hand is troubling.

"The United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the club's trademark on the grounds that the law bars registration of insulting trademarks and 'a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term Redskins to be disparaging.'

"That doesn't mean Snyder has to change the name. But if the ruling stands up in court, he stands to lose the right to prevent other companies from selling merchandise with the name or logo. He will lose a protection the government routinely confers.

"The government, in effect, is penalizing Snyder for exercising his First Amendment rights. . . ."

Residents Interviewed Along With Cops — Novel Idea?

"Last week's Brian Lehrer Show (6/10/14) was pretty remarkable," Josmar Trujillo wrote Thursday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

"The popular show, based on New York City public radio station WNYC, had on journalist Daryl Khan from the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange website. Khan had written a piece, 'Harlem Residents: We Asked City For Help, We Got a Raid Instead' (6/5/14), that did something a little unusual: It asked residents at the receiving end of a major police operation what they thought about it.

"What a novel idea.

"Khan strayed from most media coverage around New York's 'biggest gang raid ever' by writing about the people living in the housing projects at the heart of the early-morning 400+ officer raid (complete with helicopters and riot gear), and by including voices of residents critical of it.

"The initial New York Times story (6/4/14) included only official accounts. The Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post (6/4/14) printed Facebook quotes of some of the teenagers indicted (an apparent attempt to prove their guilt in the court of public opinion — a guilt assumed by the headline's flat assertion about 'Rival Gangs Arrested'), as well as quotes from the Manhattan district attorney and residents offering comments supportive of the end to alleged violence — if not the raid itself. . . ."

In Britain, BBC Ramps Up Diversity Efforts

"The BBC has announced new measures to improve the representation of the Black, Asian and minority ethnic community, including a new executive development scheme and a ringfenced commissioning fund," Jason Deans and Tara Conlan reported Friday for Britain's Guardian newspaper. .

"Other measures announced on Friday include more training internships for BAME graduate trainees, an assistant commissioner development programme for people from diverse backgrounds and new on- and off-air diversity targets.

"BBC director general Tony Hall, unveiling the BAME proposals at the EastEnders set in Elstree on Friday morning, also announced that he would chair a new independent diversity action group to advise the BBC. . . ."

Editor of State-Controlled Paper Arrested in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, "After armed police raided his home and his office early on Thursday, Edmund Kudzayi, the newly appointed editor of the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper, handed himself over to police later in the day," Peta Thornycroft reported Friday from Durban, South Africa, for the Independent Foreign Service.

"Police confiscated equipment from his office, but have so far not laid any charges against him.

"Police are also looking for Dumisani Muleya, the editor of a privately owned newspaper, The Independent, owned by Trevor Ncube, who also publishes two daily newspapers in Zimbabwe and the Mail & Guardian in South Africa.

"Police visited Muleya’s office on Thursday but were told he was on leave.

"Muleya told online publication New by telephone from Harare: 'I've no business with the police, and until they state specifically why they want me, I will not be turning myself in.'

"Mduduzi Mathuthu, appointed last year to edit a state newspaper, The Chronicle, in Bulawayo, said that his home had been burgled early in the day and that his communication equipment had been stolen.

"Mathuthu spent several recent years in exile, mostly in London, where he helped launch a well-read online Zimbabwean newspaper,

"The arrests are believed to be linked to a fight between two camps within the ruling Zanu-PF party over who will succeed President Robert Mugabe, 90, when he retires or dies. . . ."

Short Takes

  • "Americans' faith in each of three major news media platforms — television news, newspapers, and news on the Internet — is at or tied with record lows in Gallup's long-standing confidence in institutions trend," Andrew Dugan reported Thursday for Gallup. "This continues a decades-long decline in the share of Americans saying they have 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' of confidence in newspapers or TV news, while trust in Internet news remains low since the one prior measure in 1999. . . ."

  • The Cherokee Nation, which in 2001 became the first federally recognized tribe to allow citizens access to public records of a public body, amended its Freedom of Information and Governmental Records acts on Monday. Amendments included increased time limits for responses under both laws, Jami Murphy reported Wednesday for the Cherokee Phoenix. John Shurr, editorial board chair for the Phoenix, said he believes the amendment's changes to the act are unnecessary, Danielle Keeton-Olsen reported for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates told followers of his blog at the Atlantic on Wednesday that he will be in France for seven weeks of intense immersion in French. Coates, who has been promoting his "The Case for Reparations" piece in the Atlantic, was the subject of a 2,100-word profile Wednesday by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post.

  • "At least 17 journalists in Brazil for the World Cup have been attacked since the event began, the Inter American Press Association said Thursday, urging authorities to investigate the incidents," Agence France-Presse reported Thursday. "The Miami-based group said officials must remain vigilant to acts of violence that diminish attempts to gather information and report on protest demonstrations by people opposed to playing the matches in Brazil while millions of people still struggle with poverty in the country. . . ."

  • "It was a night to remember as socialites gathered last night at The Cecil Harlem to celebrate The Man From ESSENCE, a new business biography of how Edward Lewis and three other men successfully built America’s #1 magazine for Black women in 1969," Deena Campbell reported Friday for the magazine's website. A spokeswoman said 150 attended. The reception for the book, written by Lewis and Audrey Edwards, was hosted by Richard Parsons, former CEO and chairman of Time Warner, and owner of The Cecil, and Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Time Inc. Guests included Gayle King, co-anchor of "CBS Morning News"; literary agent Faith Hampton Childs; Mark Whitaker, former editor of Newsweek; writer Gay Talese; former New York Mayor David Dinkins; Myrna Blyth, editorial director of AARP Magazine, Jacqueline Monk, managing editor of Real Simple magazine; Les Payne, retired Newsday editor and columnist;  Essence publisher Michelle Ebanks, Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa Bush; writers Richard Wesley and his wife, Valerie Wilson Wesley; novelist Benilde Little and comedian Robert Klein.

  • At a May 31 BookCon panel, "Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?," "Patrik Henry Bass, editorial projects director at Essence and debut children's book author of The Zero Degree Zombie Zone, illustrated by Jerry Craft (Scholastic, Aug.), spoke about starting the magazine's book section a decade ago," Wendy Werris reported June 3 for Publishers Weekly. " 'Our readers kept asking me, "Where are the children's books?" and my mission now is to have them in every single issue of Essence,' Bass said. . . ."

  • " launched its newest section today," Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser. "The Asian America vertical will cover issues of Asian American culture, identity, and experience through original storytelling, video, photography, personal essays, and more."

  • "According to the UCLA Film & TV Archive, Julie Dash will direct a film based on the life of writer, poet, actress, culinary anthropologist Vertamae Grosvenor, a frequent contributor to NPR (producing award-winning documentaries like 1983's 'Slave Voices: Things Past Telling,' and 'Daufuskie: Never Enough Too Soon'), who went on to host NPR's award-winning documentary series 'Horizons' from 1988 until 1995, when it was discontinued," Tambay A. Obenson reported June 13 for Shadow and Act.

  • "I've had the pleasure of hosting a Pakistani journalist at WDEL" in Wilmington, Del., "over the last few weeks," Chris Carl, chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association, wrote Thursday for the organization. "Haroon Baloch is a reporter for Radio Pakistan. Baloch is participating in the International Center for Journalists' U.S.-Pakistan Exchange Program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department and supported by RTDNA." Carl also wrote, "Baloch said there is definitely a gap between the two countries and cultures than can be closed through a cross-cultural exchange programs. 'I was asked if we drive cars in Pakistan,' Baloch said. 'Of course we do! We're the seventh nuclear power in the world!' . . .”

  • "The Emirati English-language newspaper, The National fired Ugandan journalist Yasin Kakande for writing . . . an autobiographical novel describing the conditions of migrant workers and media censorship in the United Arab Emirates," Reporters Without Borders reported on Thursday. "Kakande had worked for The National for six years when he was fired in April, a few months after the publication of his book 'The Ambitious Struggle: An African Journalist's Journey of Hope and Identity in a Land of Migrants.' . . ."

  • In Uganda, "a female journalist hosting a daily morning radio program was arrested at gunpoint in Gulu by three police officers as she headed to the radio station for work," Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda reported Wednesday. "She alleges that she was punched by one of the arresting police officers as she climbed the police patrol car." The report quoted the journalist, Atim Brenda Kinyera, saying,  "I told them that I was a journalist heading to radio to present a morning show, but they kept shouting at me calling me a prostitute, they confiscated my hand bag and jacket as they ordered me to board a police patrol. . . ."

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No Blacks in N.Y. Times Freelancer's Piece on Detroit

Al Jazeera ran a similar piece shortly after its launch.  I tweeted Ali Velshi that "Corktown" wasn't reflective of Detroit and, if the station really wanted to provide insight to its audience, his report should have focused on an actual "Detroiter".  He didn't like my response.  And, I haven't watched his show since.

No love lost.

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