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Wall St. Journal Couple Ends Wine Column

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dorothy Gaiter, John Brecher Leave Paper After No. 579

Administration to End Detention of Asylum-Seekers

Passenger Cashes In With Photos of Terror Suspect

Journalists, Web Sites Feel Iranian Crackdown

Black Film Critics Founder Denies Ballot Tampering

Time Served, Ex-Anchor Tolly Carr Surfaces in Charlotte

Short Takes

Dorothy Gaiter, John Brecher Leave Paper After No. 579

After 579 columns on wine and with two visiting children, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher are 'just kind of enjoying the holidays.'Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher have ended their column and left the paper after 12 years, the husband-and-wife team announced at the end of their Christmas Day piece.

"This is our 579th - and last - 'Tastings' column. The past 12 years - a full case! - have been a joy, not because of the wine but because we had an opportunity to meet so many of you, both in person and virtually," they wrote.

Brecher told Journal-isms on Monday night that the couple, both 58, had nothing to add about their plans. "We have left the paper and we're just kind of enjoying the holidays with our kids," two daughters who are 19 and 20, he said.

In addition to the column, the couple wrote four books on wine. In the introduction to "The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine" in 2002, they described how their relationship began:

"We met and fell in love on June 4, 1973, the day both of us began working as reporters at the Miami Herald. We'd both just finished college - Dorothy at the University of Missouri, John at Columbia - and we were both twenty-one years old.

"We fell in love with wine soon after that. Neither of us grew up in families where wine was served at meals, so we started at the bottom, learning by drinking inexpensive wine and reading books. In the late 1970s, we began taking notes on our wines and saving labels so we could relive some of our experiences ('Oh, yeah, remember that Chardonnay?')

"Wine, for us, has never been an end in itself, but just one part of a good life. We remember good times and bad through the wines we were sharing during that period. . . . We've been serious, hard-working journalists our whole lives. John was City Editor of the Miami Herald, a foreign writer for Newsweek, and Page One editor of the Wall Street Journal for seven years. Dottie was an editorial writer and columnist for the Miami Herald, a reporter for the New York Times, and a national reporter and editor covering issues of race for the Wall Street Journal for a decade.

"Through all of that, through more than twenty years of marriage, and through the births of our two daughters, wine has always been a part of our lives."

Administration to Stop Jailing Asylum-Seekers

"The Obama administration quietly announced last week that it would overturn one of the harsh immigration enforcement measures enacted by the Bush administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Beginning next month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, those who arrive in the United States fleeing torture or persecution abroad will no longer automatically be welcomed with handcuffs and months in a jail cell," Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote Monday for New America Media.

"Instead, many of those seeking protection will again be permitted to live freely in the country while their applications for permanent asylum are considered by an immigration judge."

Mexican journalists fleeing persecution may be among those benefiting from the new policy. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 41 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992. At least 17 were slain in direct reprisal for their work.

In February, Mexican journalist Emilio Guti?©rrez Soto was released from a U.S. immigration jail¬†after seven months' detention.

Guti?©rrez's detention was part of "an organized plan by the Bush administration" to discourage asylum-seekers, lawyer Carlos Spector told Journal-isms then. And it worked - "I had 10 other Mexican clients, and the only one who stuck it out was Emilio," Spector said.

This month, Ricardo Ch?°vez Aldana, a reporter with the Mexican radio station Radio Ca?±??n fled with his family to El Paso, Texas, and asked for political asylum, the Guardian newspaper in England reported. "Two of his nephews were murdered recently, and he and his family were also threatened by the alleged killers.

"He is the fourth journalist in Ciudad Ju?°rez to seek asylum. Last year, Jorge Luis Aguirre and Emilio Guti?©rrez sought political asylum in the US after being harassed and threatened by members of the military. Horacio N?°jera fled to Canada earlier this year."

Alden wrote of the Department of Homeland Security, "The measure is the latest in a string of little-noticed initiatives by the Obama DHS to reconsider some of the most controversial enforcement policies of the past decade.

"The administration in August launched an overhaul of the immigration detention system, which had grown out of control as the number of detainees doubled in just five years to more than 440,000 annually.

"Some of those were simply lost in the system, while others fell ill and died due to poor medical care, and the administration has pledged to stop such abuses. That same month, it moved families out of the notorious T. Don Hutto immigrant detention facility in Texas, which had become a national disgrace after revelations that pregnant women and small children were being held there in prison-like conditions."

A Dutch filmmaker’s cell-phone pictures of officials holding suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Flight 253 in Detroit were offered to media organizations.

Passenger Cashes In With Photos of Terror Suspect

"Within hours of becoming a hero in the skies over metro Detroit, Dutch passenger Jasper Schuringa’s photos of Flight 253 were being shopped around to mainstream media," Tammy Stables Battaglia wrote Monday for the Detroit Free Press.

"The Dutch filmmaker’s cell phone pictures of officials holding terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, on Flight 253 in Detroit on Friday were offered to media organizations over the weekend.

"Multiple media watchdog bloggers report that Shuringa’s camp sought upward of $10,000 for the shots — with interviews going to those media groups that bought a photo.

"Schuringa’s friend, Shai Ben-Ami, said today from his home in Miami – Schuringa’s destination on Christmas Day — that the newly dubbed hero was taking a break from interviews.

“'He’s just resting after a crazy weekend,' Ben-Ami said, declining a Free Press request for an interview.

"Chris Ariens, managing editor of, said such payments are now part of the media landscape, with some mainstream news outlets justifying the transactions by noting that they paid for the photo only, not for the interview.

“'In this case, it’s two grainy cell phone images,' Ariens said.

"CNN was the first to pay for licensing rights to a Schuringa photo. CNN spokeswoman Carolyn Disbrow said today that a friend of Schuringa’s — she didn’t know if it was Ben-Ami — contacted CNN to sell the rights for an undisclosed amount. But she emphasized producers didn’t arrange Schuringa’s Saturday afternoon interview about leaping over seats to stop the terror suspect until after the photo contract was signed.

“'The producer said we don’t pay for interviews,' she said."

Journalists, Web Sites Feel Iranian Crackdown

In Iran, "Yesterday’s opposition demonstrations, which were dispersed with violence and loss of life, were followed today by raids by the intelligence ministry and Revolutionary Guards on opposition figures and news media and a new wave of hacker attacks on websites," Reporters Without Borders said on Monday. "Several journalists, including Emadoldin Baghi, have been arrested.

“'The authorities want to silence the witnesses of the crackdown in order to continue committing atrocities with complete impunity,' Reporters Without Borders said, reiterating its appeal to the international community to put more pressure on the Iranian government to respect its international undertakings. 'Baghi and his colleagues have no place being in prison.'

"A leading human rights figure as well as a journalist, Baghi was arrested at his Tehran home today by men in plain clothes and was taken away to an unknown location.

"Alireza Behshtipour Shirazi, the editor of (opposition leader Mirhossein Moussavi’s official website), was also arrested at his Tehran home today and taken to an unknown place of detention. Mostafa Izadi, a journalist who works for several newspapers such as Etemad-e Melli, was also arrested at his home.

". . . Several Internet Service Providers have meanwhile been cutting connections. The level of disruption yesterday was unprecedented: most independent or opposition websites were rendered inaccessible within Iran as a result of systematic attacks coming from 'unidentified servers.'”

Black Film Critics Founder Denies Ballot Tampering

Nicole Beharie won the African American Film Critics Association award for 'Best Actress' in 'American Violet.'The founder of the African American Film Critics Association is denying allegations that Gabourey Sidibe, the star of "Precious," was denied its "Best Actress" award, attributing the charges to "three disgruntled former members."

In addition, said Gil L. Robertson IV, "claims that the group is divided, near collapse or is calling for my resignation are entirely false as this very statement is signed and supported by an overwhelming majority of current AAFCA members. These journalists stand by me and the organization in opposition to the slanderous claims of wrongdoing made by three disgruntled former members."

On a blog on the Hollywood Reporter last week, Roger Friedman wrote that "Critics of the AAFCA co-founder Gil Robertson IV claim that he manipulated the final tally to please the producers of 'American Violet.' Since then, the awards group has succumbed to massive infighting.

"Internal AAFCA emails, which I’ve seen, allude to payments from studios and outside influence affecting the choices of winners. There’s a movement afoot to oust Robertson as well. AAFCA president Wilson Morales wrote to him in an email obtained by this column:

" 'As you know your recent actions have been called into question because of a series of choices you made without the approval of the founding members of the group, including myself . . . Our collective view is that an organization that gives out awards should be ethical and not subjected to bias based on donations from outside sources, and if that at some point comes into conflict with some of our additional goals to curry favor with the studios and get major press coverage or a broadcast deal.'

"Robertson also says he never received a letter from Morales, even though I read him the reply he sent. Says Robertson, 'Wilson and I are having personal issues.'"

On Sunday, Robertson countered with a letter of support signed by 14 members of the group, composed mostly of writers for the black press and black Web sites.

It was signed by Raegan Burden, Yvette Caslin, Gail Choice, Jamal Finkley, Stephanie Green, Terrance Harrington, Kevin Heard, Daryle Lockhart, Ellene Miles, Samantha Ofole, Terry Shropshire, Lloyd "Kam" Williams, Kathy Williamson and Ron Wynn.

Morales told Journal-isms Monday that many of those people were new to the group and unaware that their names were being used to support Robertson.

He said he feared that the public nature of their controversy could only hurt "Precious."

Time Served, Ex-Anchor Tolly Carr Surfaces in Charlotte

Tolly Carr"Tolly Carr, a former morning news anchor at Hearst-Argyle's WXII-12-NBC in Winston-Salem (Market #46) who served two years in prison for a fatal early morning drunk-driving accident in March 2007, is doing fill-in anchor work this week on 'Fox New Rising,' the four-hour morning show on WCCB-18-Fox in Charlotte (Market #24)," Mike James reported Monday on his subscription-only NewsBlues site.

"Carr was released from Guilford Correctional Center in McLeansville, NC, in May. He worked in the prison library during his 24-month stay.

"Carr declined to speak to NewsBlues when we called the WCCB newsroom this morning, saying he 'needed to go over his scripts.' He's scheduled to work the morning shift all this week. Carr still faces five years of probation, a $10,000-fine, and he's in the process of paying restitution to the family of the 26-year-old cook he hit and killed nearly three years ago, after consuming 'between 12 and 22 drinks.''

Station employees confirmed to Journal-isms that Carr had filled in on the morning show, but referred questions to News Director Ken White, who was not available.

Short Takes

  • Elizabeth C. LaneyElizabeth C. Laney, 97, a journalism pioneer in the black community of Columbus, Ohio, died on Christmas Eve, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Laney worked for years as a freelance journalist, including for the Call & Post, Ohio's largest African American-owned newspaper chain, said Ella Coleman, a friend and owner of Purpose Magazine. "She started at the age of 12 when she was first published. She worked in city government for a while, long ago and was a photojournalist and musician. She was a multitalented lady," Coleman said.
  • "The long-delayed third season of [the] animated comedy 'The Boondocks' is finally expected to hit the small screen next year," Josef Adalian reported Sunday for The Aaron McGruder creation ended its life as a newspaper comic strip in 2006. The last new episode aired on Adult Swim in February 2008. "Two episodes from season two that were critical of BET never aired at all on Adult Swim though they did air in Canada and were included on the second season DVD," according to TV by the Numbers.
  • The American Society of News Editors will receive $4,646,100 over five years from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation "to sustain the country's premier training opportunity for high school journalism advisers from 2010 through 2014," ASNE announced on Monday.
  • A CNN diversity-networking event¬†in New York won plaudits from Mariela Dabbah, a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists who attended. "From CNN USA‚Äôs president Jon Klein to Soledad O‚ÄôBrien to senior HR executives who flew from Atlanta for the occasion, everything spelled: 'We are interested in you and we are committed to diversity,' " Dabbah wrote. "This is not always the message that well intentioned companies send when they host diversity activities. Most commonly the Executive Sponsor of the diverse group says a few words at the beginning of the event and then leaves."
  • "Maybe it's generational or perhaps just lack of knowledge, but this headline: ‚Äî 'Percy Sutton, attorney for Malcolm X, dies at 89' ‚Äî really misses the point about Percy Sutton's many accomplishments," Pam Robinson wrote Sunday on her Words at Work blog. "Headline writing isn't about just grabbing what you think is the most controversial or exciting, especially in an obit. Copy editors need to . . . capture the subject's life, and this most definitely does not."
  • Sean Jensen"Longtime Pioneer Press Vikings writer Sean Jensen will leave the paper¬†with one game left in the regular season following a whirlwind courtship with the Chicago Sun-Times," David Brauer wrote Tuesday for MinnPost. "Jensen, who began covering the Vikes in 1999, has enough seniority to survive downsizing, but St. Paul cutbacks did make Chicago more attractive. 'One of the frustrating things, one of the challenges at the Pioneer Press, was that I did want to continue to grow, not only as a writer but as an NFL reporter. We used to go to the Super Bowl, the [scouting] combine, but they‚Äôve taken away the travel budget. At the Sun-Times, I‚Äôm going to go to those places and then some.' " Jensen is a graduate of the Washington Association of Black Journalists Minority Journalism Workshop and the Freedom Forum's Chips Quinn Program.
  • "Elaine Quijano is leaving CNN and Washington, DC and joining CBS News in New York as a general assignment reporter early next year. Quijano joined CNN Newsource in 2000 and moved to CNN as a Washington, DC-based correspondent in 2004, primarily covering the White House," Chris Ariens wrote Wednesday for MediaBistro.
  • Among's top 10 resolutions for 2010 are that journalism producers must: "Include more women and diverse voices at the table discussing the future of journalism." "Foster deeper working relationships with ethnic media and a diversity of journalists/bloggers." "Support initiatives like the National Association of Hispanic Journalists‚Äô Parity Project." "Fight for the reinstatement of the minority media tax certificate program and update it for the digital era."
  • "Tyra Banks is pulling the plug on her talk show," the Associated Press reported on Monday. "The former model says the formerly syndicated 'The Tyra Show' (it now airs on the CW) will end after its fifth season. Banks says she's sticking with the reality show 'America's Next Top Model' and is forming a new production studio with plans to make movies."
  • "Golf Digest is loosening its ties to Tiger Woods," Keith J. Kelly reported Wednesday in the New York Post, "suspending his monthly instructional golf articles while Woods is on leave from professional golf. But the Cond?© Nast-owned monthly has not totally severed its connection with Tiger. Golf Digest has an exclusive long-term contract with Woods valued at $3 million per year. It declined to say whether Tiger's compensation would be suspended."
  • In Fargo, N.D., "A district judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of Spirit Lake tribal members who want the University of North Dakota to keep its Fighting Sioux nickname, leaving the moniker‚Äôs future in the hands of the state Board of Higher Education," the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
  • "What happens to language and the way women are addressed when they start to occupy positions of responsibility? Well, it depends on the language," Miren Gutierrez and Oriana Boselli wrote from Rome Saturday for Inter-Press Service. "Sexism in language was identified as a global problem during the first world conference on the status of women, celebrated in Mexico in 1975. Many proposals and directives followed. In 1989, UNESCO issued the booklet Guidelines on Non-Sexist Language, aiming at helping 'authors and editors avoid writing in a manner that reinforces questionable attitudes and assumptions about people and sex roles.' "
  • In Nigeria, "Against the backdrop of Tuesday's parcel bomb attack on a Lagos-based television station, Superclean Television, [and] the brutal murder of the Assistant Political Editor of The Guardian Newspaper, Bayo Ohu, the Human Rights Writers' Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the Federal Government to protect Journalists from unwarranted violent attacks which it said, have assumed frightening dimension," the Lagos newspaper This Day reported on Christmas Eve.
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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 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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