Updated February 18, 2012
Seniority, not diversity, will be the prime consideration when the Philadelphia Media Network reduces the newsroom staffs of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com by 37 positions, the company and the Newspaper Guild told Journal-isms on Friday.
“I hope something is done to stop the wholesale loss of blacks and Latinos,” said Vernon Clark, an Inquirer reporter who represented the Guild in talks with the company’s human resources managers on Wednesday. “Every time we’ve gone through a downsizing, diversity has taken a big hit.”
The declarations brought to mind the tumult created in 2007, when the Inquirer’s then-parent company laid off up to 71 newsroom employees, or about 17 percent of the editorial staff. When the current sale process is completed, the papers will have their fifth owner in six years, Julie Moos noted for the Poynter Institute.
The National Association of Black Journalists, and then the Asian American Journalists Association and Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. protested the disproportionate numbers of journalists of color on the 2007 layoff list. Black journalists were twice as likely to be there. Management and the Guild each blamed the other for that outcome.
Then, after renewed negotiations between management and the Guild, at least nine newsroom employees on the Inquirer’s layoff list — including two African American journalists — were reported coming back to work.
On Wednesday, Mike Armstrong reported for the Inquirer, “In a cost-cutting move, the parent company of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com said it will reduce the number of newsroom positions by 37 — through buyouts, it hopes — by the end of March.”
Asked whether diversity would be taken into consideration in making layoffs, the Guild and management reached the same conclusion.
“Our last contract cites that the employer must review its diversity hiring practices but there is no language regarding protecting diversity in the event of any layoffs,” Dan Gross, president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia/CWA Local 38010, said in an email. “Those are done by seniority.”
Mark Block, vice president for external relations at the Philadelphia Media Network, said, “Our contract with the Guild requires layoffs in seniority order — length of service. We are not permitted to take into account any demographic factors or job performance.”
Clark said he raised the diversity issue during union talks with the human resources managers. “They’re concerned, but always the same issue with seniority,” he said.
Newsroom employees said privately it was too early to tell where cuts would be made. Staffers have until Feb. 29 to apply for a buyout. “Based on response to the voluntary program, the company might then resort to layoffs of Guild members to reach its goal of eliminating 37 positions by March 31,” the Inquirer story said.
In any case, another staffer said, “Diversity was lost a long time ago.”
Separately, “Nearly 300 newsroom employees of Philadelphia Media Network Inc. signed a public statement Friday calling on the current and any future owners of the media company to protect the integrity of their reporting,” Armstrong reported.
“. . . The three-paragraph statement addresses both the ramifications of a possible change in ownership for Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) and employees’ ‘dismay’ over how coverage of the sale process had been ‘compromised and censored’ by management.
“. . . Greg Osberg, PMN chief executive officer and publisher, responded with his own statement, expressing support for the journalists’ ‘clear message,’ but disagreeing that censorship had occurred.”
- Mike Armstrong, Philadelphia Inquirer: Papers, website to begin sharing some news coverage
The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City produced a video on the life of its native son. (Video)
Anthony Shadid, the New York Times Mideast correspondent who died in Syria at age 43 Thursday after an asthma attack, was hailed by journalists Friday as “one of the best journalists of his age,” in the words of David Kenner, associate editor at Foreign Policy magazine.
Shadid was the grandson of Lebanese immigrants, and as such was also the object of pride among Arab journalists and Arab Americans.
In a story headlined, “Tributes flow for deceased Lebanese-American journalist Anthony Shadid,” the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar quoted high-profile Egyptian blogger Issandr el-Amrani, or The Arabist, calling Shadid “the Godfather of Arab-American journalism.”
An official of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the leading civil rights group for Arab-Americans, mentioned Shadid’s ethnicity before his profession when quoted in the Detroit Free Press.
” ‘It’s a huge loss, not just for Arab-Americans, but for journalists,’ said Abed Ayoub, of Dearborn, [legal] director of ADC. ‘He embodied what journalists should be,’ ” Niraj Warikoo wrote.
Sami Moubayed, a university professor, historian, and editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Damascus, Syria, wrote for the Huffington Post:
“I looked up to Tony — as any aspiring journalist would, when I first met him in 2003. I was new in my career, and he was on his way to winning his first Pulitzer.
“He had everything that we lacked as Arab journalists covering the Middle East. He did not have to humor anybody and was unafraid to say the truth. He couldn’t care less if government authorities hated him — the most they could do was revoke his visa, or expel him from the country in 24 hours. He didn’t have the ‘I Can’t Write That Complex.’ He wrote what he saw and felt, with no restrictions. Tony sympathized with ordinary people of the Middle East, admired their struggles, and since December 2010, was overwhelmingly supportive of the Arab Spring that ripped through the Arab World.
“Tony learned Arabic as an adult, but claimed that he always bonded with the Lebanese emigrant community in Oklahoma, where he grew up. He spent most of his professional life covering the region, first with the Associated Press, and then with the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, for which he famously won Pulitzer Prizes in 2004 and 2010. Those awards never affected his ego — not the slightest bit. They were actually the least thing he was comfortable discussing, so as not to let other journalists feel that he was, in any way, superior to them.”
Al-Akhbar also reported, “Shadid’s sister-in-law told Al-Akhbar that the family had yet to decide whether to bury the esteemed journalist in Lebanon or in the United States.”
- Deborah Amos, NPR: A Passion To Bear Witness: Why War Correspondents Take The Risk
- Andrew Beaujon, Poynter Institute: How the Times put together Shadid’s obituary
- Julie Bosman, New York Times: Release Date Is Moved Up for Shadid Book
- Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Anthony Shadid’s Insatiable Curiosity
- Committee to Protect Journalists: CPJ mourns the death of journalist Anthony Shadid
- Peter Eisner, worlddesk.org: A Graceful Star is Lost, Anthony Shadid, 1968-2012
- David E. Hoffman, Columbia Journalism Review: Anthony Shadid: ‘A Gatherer, An Observer, A Listener’
- Juliana Keeping, Oklahoman, Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City native Anthony Shadid, a New York Times correspondent, dies in Syria
- Terry McDermott, Columbia Journalism Review: Anthony Shadid saw the deeper story in Iraq
- Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times: Anthony Shadid’s death: An L.A. Times reporter recalls a colleague
- Brian Stelter, New York Times: Reporter’s Death Puts Focus on Difficulties of Covering a Secretive Syria
- Byron Tau, Politico: White House lauds deceased NYT reporter
- Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter Institute: Anthony Shadid talks about journalism: ‘A narrative can play out over two paragraphs or 10′
- Washington Post: Colleagues recall Shadid as extraordinary reporter, kind friend
- Alex Weprin, TVNewser: CBS News Correspondent Clarissa Ward On The Challenges Of Reporting From Syria
“Several cable networks this Saturday will air live coverage of late pop music icon Whitney Houston’s funeral, the networks announced Thursday,” R. Thomas Umstead reported for Multichannel News.
“BET and Centric’s Live: The Homegoing of Whitney Houston will begin its coverage of the Houston funeral from New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. at 11:30 a.m. The special will feature commentary from on-air correspondents April Woodard and Lola Oguinake, network executives said.
“Later that evening BET will air a one-hour special, BET Remembers Whitney, in which BET News correspondent Bevy Smith interviews music and television personalities such as Kim Burrell, Kelley Price, Faith Evans, Ledisi, India.Arie, Tisha [Campbell-Martin] and Tichina Arnold as they share memories of Houston.
“CNN’s Piers Morgan, Soledad O’Brien and Don Lemon will anchor CNN and CNN International’s live global coverage of the funeral special, Whitney Houston: Life, Death Music, beginning at 11 a.m., the network said. CNN Digital will also live stream the funeral on the web and via mobile at www.cnn.com/live from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (ET).
“Fox News Channel will stream the funeral live on its site while the network airs portions of the service live between 11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m. with anchors Uma Pemmaraju and Rick Folbaum, network officials said.”
Tonya Pendleton added Friday for BlackAmericaWeb.com:
“Marvin Winans, a friend of the Houston family and part of the Winans gospel dynasty, will officiate the funeral at the church that she attended as a child. Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder have been selected to sing, Kevin Costner is expected to eulogize Houston, and Ray J., Brandy, Chaka Khan and Cece Winans — the godmother of Houston’s daughter, Bobbi-Kristina Brown — are expected to attend, among others luminaries.
“At 8 p.m. on CNN, Houston will be the subject of a brand-new ‘CNN Presents,’ which will re-air on Sunday at 11 p.m. The three-hour special, hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Randi Kaye, will include a look at her life and career, the last days of her life and interviews with Kelly Price, Kim Burrell, “Access Hollywood’s” Shaun Robinson, music writer Gerrick Kennedy and Adam Ambrose of Tru Hollywood nightclub, the place where Houston partied in the days before she died.”
TVOne announced Friday that it will air live coverage of the service beginning at noon ET/9 a.m. ET. “TV One’s coverage will be anchored by Jamal Munnerlyn, longtime host of the Access Hollywood-produced entertainment newsmagazine, TV One Access, which aired on TV One for six years. Tvone.tv also plans to stream live coverage of the service.”
In addition, “Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, announced Wednesday that The Associated Press will be allowed a camera at Saturday’s funeral in Newark. The AP will stream the service on http://livestream.com/aplive. The event also will be available to broadcasters via satellite.”
Nekesa Mumbi Moody, music editor for the Associated Press, was awarded the news cooperative’s Beat of the Week Award for her coverage of Whitney Houston’s death Saturday night, the result of a tip from Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster.
“. . . no one even came close to Moody,” Jack Stokes, editor of the AP’s internal Connections newsletter, wrote in the publication Thursday. “From TMZ to The New York Times, from MSNBC to Drudge to the Los Angeles Times, AP was credited across the board for an hour. Quite simply, no one else had the story.”
“The beat was so big that other media were asking as to how AP got it,” Stokes continued.
“The answer is journalism basics:
- “Preparation pays off hugely. And, prepare for the worst.
- “Strong source work is essential, including all of those phone calls and emails and coffee dates that don’t seem to yield anything notable at the time but whose effect gets layered and multiplied until just that moment when it matters most.
- “Fast action among diverse journalists working as a team is critical.
- “Being good at what you do helps a whole lot, too. . . .”
The prize comes with $500.
- Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: Clinging to a piece of Whitney’s past
- Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter: Radio Station Suspends Hosts Who Called Whitney Houston a ‘Crack Ho’
- Larry Buford, EURWeb.com: Whitney Houston, Marilyn Monroe, and the Press
- Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Chris Christie does right by Whitney Houston
- Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Saying farewell to a legendary artist
- Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Whitney and Bobby and Greensboro
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Houston’s life reminds us that being a celebrity is sometimes tough
- Nicole Avery Nichols, Detroit Free Press: Whitney Houston helped young girls realize their value
- Ethan Sacks, Daily News, New York: Whitney Houston’s drug addiction coverage sparks argument between Matt Lauer and Bill O’Reilly on NBC’s ‘Today’ Show
- David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: Why cry for Whitney Houston?
Not too long ago, security guards at Madison Square Garden did not recognize Jeremy Lin., left. (Credit: buzz60.com) (Scroll down for video)
Eric Deggans, media writer for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, reflected Wednesday on two purportedly jocular Twitter postings that landed Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com and Roland Martin of CNN in trouble with Asian Americans and gay activists, respectively.
“As someone who has written a lot about prejudice in media, I was surprised and intrigued by what happened here. Two African American commentators who have often written about prejudice and race issues themselves, fell into the kind of public mistakes you might expect from people who hadn’t spent any time thinking about these issues at all,” Deggans wrote for the National Sports Journalism Center.
Deggans, who also chairs the Media Monitoring Committee of the National Association of Black Journalists, continued, “A measure of how far we have to go hit me after a visit to the Facebook page maintained by the AAJA’s MediaWatch group, where followers were criticizing a CNN panel discussing [NBA phenom Jeremy] Lin and race issues in which no Asian commentators were featured.” He was referring to the Asian American Journalists Association.
“I thought back to how I felt seeing African American issues dissected on some TV shows — I remember a debate on a Sunday politics show about controversy over public use of the word ‘niggardly’ which included no African Americans — and I felt like I was hearing a broken record replay yet again.
“These incidents are humbling reminders that those of us who have spent lots of time thinking about how prejudice affects some marginalized groups, still need to spend effort on how similar problems affect other types of people differently,” Deggans wrote, adding a few recommendations:
“Expand the voices making commentary — Just as sports media outlets worked hard to find more black reporters and commentators to better cover issues and avoid stereotypes, [it's] time for the pool to expand in other ways, too.
“Where are the Asian voices in sports media, who can help explore what it means to see a breakout player like Lin subvert so many stereotypes about Asian Americans? Hey media executives — if you can’t find them, it’s time to start developing them. Just like you did with African Americans, once upon a time.
“Avoid the wordplay, it just invites trouble . . .”
“ESPN has issued a statement apologizing for the presence of a racial slur that appeared in a headline about Jeremy Lin’s performance on Friday night,” Tom Ziller reported Saturday for SBNation.
“According to ESPN, the headline — ‘Chink in the Armor’— appeared on ESPN.com attached to a story about Lin’s nine turnovers in a New York Knicks loss for about 35 minutes before being removed.
“Rob King, ESPN.com editor-in-chief, also tweeted a message about the slip-up.
” ‘There’s no defense for the indefensible. All we can offer are our apologies, sincere though incalculably inadequate.’ . . .”
The network later produced a short video apology.
The Asian American Journalists Association replied:
“New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin had a bad night Friday. Regrettably, so did ESPN. Using ‘a chink in the armor’ to describe Lin’s poor performance was inexcusable.
“We at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) find it hard to fathom how such an offensive headline appeared on your publishing platforms. The phrase was even spoken on-air.
“We are glad ESPN has recognized its mistake, and we appreciate the quick apology for the transgression.
“Many people, not just in Asian American communities, are shocked that a news company with a long tradition of excellence would use a racial epithet. It’s particularly galling because of the weeks of discussion about Lin, his heritage and even the wave of outright racism surrounding his stardom. . . . ” [Feb. 18]
- J.A. Adande, ESPN: Jeremy Lin’s success and the system
- Gil Asakawa blog: Really? ESPN uses “chink” about Jeremy Lin in headline after loss against Hornets. Really. [Feb. 18]
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: AALDEF Statement to ESPN On Racism in Jeremy Lin Coverage [Feb. 18]
- Michael Bradley, National Sports Journalism Center: Sensationalized Lin media coverage lacks perspective, restraint
- Brian Floyd, SBNation.com: What Can Be Learned From ESPN’s Use Of ‘Chink In The Armor’? [Feb. 18]
- Emil Guillermo blog: ESPN reaches limit of Linsanity; No excuse for racist headline [Feb. 18]
- David Leonard, ebony.com: When It Comes to Sports, Race Still Matters
- Michael McCarthy, USA Today: Asian stereotypes appearing in coverage of Knicks’ Jeremy Lin
- Deron Snyder, theRoot.com: Loose Ball: Jeremy Lin Is Lesson in Diversity [Feb. 18]
- Jesse Washington, Associated Press: Jeremy Lin, Knicks Guard, Smashing Stereotypes As Asian-Americans Rejoice
- Jason Whitlock, foxsports.com: Real reason I think Lin is a great story
- George Willis, New York Post: Lin and Stoudemire should work well for Knicks
- William Wong, sfgate.com: Linsanity 3: Will fame (‘friend’ of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, et. al.) ruin Jeremy Lin?
As February began, Gary Younge, U.S. correspondent for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, related the observance of Black History Month to the shutdown of the Mexican American studies program in Tucson, Ariz.
Younge wrote, “Black history month, which begins today in the US, gives us all a chance to rescue stories that have been discarded, correct stories that have been mistold and elevate stories that have been downplayed.
“Black history is not a subgenre of history. Nor does it stand apart from other histories. It makes no more or less sense than American history, Jewish history or Tudor history. Nor is it any more or less diverse — black historians don’t agree on everything just because they’re black. Partial, interconnected, necessary, it is simply the world’s history told either about or through the prism of a particular group of people.
“Recent events in Tucson, Arizona pose a direct threat to the very logic on which black history month (not to mention to mention the ‘heritage months’ dedicated to Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Native American histories) now stands.
“The Tucson Unified School District, where 60% of the students are Latino, will today be forced to shut down its Mexican American studies program or lose as much as $14m of funding from Arizona state. A few weeks ago, officials went into schools and ‘confiscated’ seven books from the classrooms deemed to promote ‘ethnic resentment’. Among them were several classics including Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire, and Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 [Years], by Bill Bigelow.
“. . . One of the most salient lessons of black American history is the effectiveness of solidarity. As in its policing (the state’s stop-and-search laws were copied in more stringent form in other states), so in education: Arizona could set a dangerous precedent that might be used against women’s studies, queer studies and, yes, black history month. In short, these measures seek not to teach history but to preach nationalist mythology, aimed at raising not so much open-minded critical thinkers as blind patriots. We have been here before.”
Meanwhile, in the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Jack Mirkinson introduced readers to Freedom’s Journal, the first black newspaper in American history. “Founded in 1827 in New York City, the first edition of the Journal summed up a great many of the reasons for the continuing, vital existence of the black press.
” ‘We wish to plead our own cause,’ the editors wrote. ‘Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentations, in things which concern us dearly.’
“Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm served as the top two editors of the Journal, which was founded the same year that slavery was abolished in New York. They were explicit in their desire to counter the steady stream of racist reporting coming out of the city’s other papers. Subscriptions cost $3 a year, and the paper tried to give a comprehensive look at the day’s news.”
All 103 issues of Freedom’s Journal have been digitized and are available on the Web site of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Mirkinson noted.
- Anthonia Akitunde, theRoot.com: He Would End Black History Month
- Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Equality in a delicately balanced promised land
- ebony.com: Maya Angelou: Until There is No Black History Month
- Trey Ellis, HuffPost BlackVoices: The Tuskegee Airmen Are for Everyone
- John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: We must face hard truths and stop making excuses
- John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: Dear mama, speak truth to your wayward sons
- Christopher Johnson, “Marketplace,” American Public Media: Black History Month a lucrative time for some black professionals
- Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: ‘Red Tails’: Daniel Keel of Lake County lived the story of Tuskegee Airmen
- Bob Ray Sanders, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: For Martin and Medgar and Viola
- David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: The achievement of ‘Red Tails’
- Michael Steele, theRoot.com: Black History Month, Again?
- Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, CBS News: Black History Month overlooks reality of present
- Rod Watson, Buffalo News: Lady Justice’s blindfold gets thrown away
- Tenisha Bell has been named executive producer of “CNN Newsroom with Suzanne Malveaux,” the National Association of Black Journalists announced Friday, congratulating Bell, who is president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. “Bell, who has been with CNN for six and a half years, currently oversees CNN’s weekend morning shows, 6a – 12p. In that time she has distinguished herself by leading the show teams for anchors T.J. Holmes, Betty Nguyen, Rick Sanchez, Tony Harris, Fredricka Whitfield, Carol Lin and several others.”
- The Women’s Media Center reported Monday that women represented 21.7 percent of guests on Sunday morning news talk shows airing on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox News and only 18.1 percent of all radio news directors. The “Heavy Hundred,” the “most important radio talk show hosts in America” selected by the editors of Talkers magazine with input from industry leaders, included only 13 solo female hosts and three women who co-host shows with men. In sports news, women represented 11.4 percent of all editors, 10 percent of all columnists and 7 percent of all reporters.
- ” ‘CQ/CX,’ a new play by Gabe McKinley depicting the Jayson Blair scandal at The New York Times, is less ‘Front Page’ than ‘Front Page Correction’ — a straightforward dramatization and a cautionary tale of ambition, deception and hubris,” Frank Rizzo, theater critic of the Hartford Courant, wrote Thursday in the New York Times. Jennifer Farrar of the Associated Press called the off-Broadway play a “dynamic, intelligent production.”
- “For years, the expression ‘illegitimate child’ has annoyed me like fingernails on a blackboard,” Julie Drizin wrote Tuesday for American Journalism Review. Drizin directs the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She described raising the issue with the Associated Press, which created a Stylebook entry prohibiting the term this week. “Let’s stop using the expression ‘illegitimate children,’ and let’s educate others in our newsrooms who still do. For kids’ sake,” Drizin wrote.
- In Chicago, “Eight months after WBBM-Channel 2 abruptly released Steve Bartelstein from his contract and sent him packing, the CBS-owned station finally hired a new face for its dismally low-rated weekday morning news show,” Robert Feder wrote Thursday for TimeOut Chicago. “Kris Gutierrez, 34, a Dallas-based national correspondent for Fox News, will join CBS 2 as news anchor alongside Susan Carlson from 4:30 to 7am, starting March 12.”
- “CNN.com Managing Editor Meredith Artley announced today that Manuel Perez has been named Editorial Director for CNN Digital,” Betsy Rothstein reported Wednesday for FishbowlDC. “Manuel has been with the CNN Digital team since 2001, serving first in the network’s DC bureau as a writer/editor and now Atlanta where he manages the daily coverage priorities and editorial content across CNN’s digital platforms.”
- “Salt Lake City’s El Observador is rebranding itself as OKEspañol and changing its delivery schedule. The 11,000-circulation, twice-weekly paper will still be printed and distributed only in Utah, and editor Patricia Quijano-Dark says ‘We’re not heading for national yet,’ Andrew Beaujon wrote Thursday for the Poynter Institute.
- “Today’s decision by Ecuador’s highest court to uphold the criminal libel conviction brought by President Rafael Correa against El Universo represents a serious blow to freedom of expression and a setback for democracy,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday it was “disturbed by a series of violent attacks on international journalists that appear aimed at suppressing coverage of land-related protests in Panhe, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.”
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