• CEO: New Investor Might Expand Events Business
  • Jim Vance, Inveterate Smoker, Died of Lung Cancer
  • Trump News Saps Attention From World Disasters
  • Somali Americans, Media in Fraught Relationship
  • Glen Nishimura Dies, Editor of USA Today Columns
  • Short Takes
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and rapper Dee-1 helped kick off the Essence Festival’s Empowerment Experience on June 30, (Kiri Walton, NOLA.com)

CEO: New Investor Might Expand Events Business

Twelve years after Time Inc, assumed control of Essence Communications Partners, ending Essence magazine’s status as a black-owned publication, Time is looking to sell its majority stake in Essence, (paywall) Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reported Monday for the Wall Street Journal.

Advertisement

Rich Battista, Time Inc.’s chief executive, told Trachtenberg that he hopes to complete a transaction by the end of the year.At the time of the 2005 deal with Time Inc., Edward Lewis, chairman and CEO of Essence Communications and publisher of the magazine, said, “It will give me great pride and comfort to know that Essence will be secure for generations to come and that its prospects for even greater success will be brighter than ever.”

Lewis maintained later that if he had to do it all over, he would sell to Time again because of the expanded opportunities and cross-pollination possible under ownership by a conglomerate.

But the move by Time is likely to revive talk, realistic or not, of restoring Essence to black ownership. In 2005, Earl G. Graves Sr., publisher of Black Enterprise, said that the Essence owners should have allowed black entrepreneurs to make an offer to purchase the company.

Essence has a dedicated Snapchat Discover channel.

Essence’s conglomerate ownership has become an issue from time to time since its sale. In 2013, Constance C.R. White said that her departure as editor-in-chief was involuntary and the result of repeated clashes with Martha Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Time Inc. who White maintained had sought to limit the way black women were portrayed.

Advertisement

In 2012, Essence and its white male managing editor, Michael Bullerdick — whom management emphasized had a production, not an editorial role — parted ways after right-wing material on his Facebook page was brought to the editors’ attention.

The conglomerate at first contemplated selling all of Time Inc., but decided against that this spring, Trachtenberg reported.

“Time Inc., which is struggling with declining print advertising revenue like much of the publishing industry, ended discussions with potential buyers in late April,” Trachtenberg continued.

“The media company said at the time it intended to focus on its core brands, among them People, InStyle and Real Simple, and TIME. Time Inc. also said it would look to outright sell some of its noncore assets.

“Mr. Battista said he viewed Essence as core despite the decision to look for a majority investor.

“Mr. Battista cited Essence’s events business, its growing digital presence, and its long relationship with big marketers, as reasons for optimism.

Advertisement

“A new investor might have the resources to enable Essence to expand its growing events business at a time when many publications are seeking new revenue opportunities.

“On the digital front, Essence is the only African-American brand with a dedicated Snapchat Discover channel, said Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, which includes the magazine and related properties.

“In early May, Essence partnered with Twitter to live-stream the weekly talk show ‘Essence Now,’ which made its debut this month.

Advertisement

“ ‘African-American women are deeply engaged with mobile and social media,’ said Ms. Ebanks. Essence.com attracted 3.7 million multiplatform unique visitors in June 2017, up from 2.2 million in June 2015, according to media measurement firm comScore Inc.

“The recent Essence Festival in New Orleans attracted more than 470,000 people compared with more than 450,000 in 2016. The second Essence Festival Durban will take place in South Africa later this year.

“In 2015, Joe Ripp, then CEO of Time Inc., said in an interview that the Essence Festival in New Orleans earned more money than the magazine made in a year. . . .”

Bruce Johnson, anchor at WUSA-TV, recalls the times he spent with his friend Jim Vance of WRC-TV. (Facebook)

Jim Vance, Inveterate Smoker, Died of Lung Cancer

A close friend and competitor of Jim Vance, the longtime Washington anchor who died Saturday at 75, disclosed Monday that Vance died after “a brutal battle” with stage 4 lung cancer. Amid tributes from colleagues and viewers who demonstrated the strong connection that a local anchor can develop with a city, Bruce Johnson of WUSA-TV devoted his own show to the effects of smoking and how viewers can stop. He said Vance was unable to do so.

Advertisement

Vance anchored at NBC-owned-and-operated WRC-TV, which had not specified the type of cancer that Vance battled.

Jim Vance’s image on the wall mural outside of Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Among its coverage, however, was a segment Monday featuring colleagues at the station recalling how Vance looked out for their best interests (video).

Advertisement

“I was struggling with whether I wanted to continue in this business,” said Perkins Broussard, an editor who worked with Vance for 19 years.

“But he said to me,’ you know, there’s not many of us in this business,’ meaning African American men. He said, ‘there’s not that many of you,’ meaning me as an African American editor, that has the skill and the craft that I have, that I’ve developed over the years, and he said” — Broussard paused to compose himself — “he said he was proud of my progress, that he’s watched me from afar for many, many years and he remembered me as this young, black kid that just came into the newsroom, you know, just fit in and did what I had to do to get this far, and he said to me, ‘you’ve come way too far to turn back.’ “

Ede Jerman, the station’s operation manager who worked with Vance for 20 years, told reporter Patrick Collins, “I was going through a very dark period in my life. I was getting a divorce and I was having one of those emotional moments, and Jim pulled me into his office and said to me, ‘Sister, get it together. Sit down, cry it out, get it together.

Advertisement

“ ‘We all have ups and downs, but you’re a champion. I expect you to be a champion and continue to be so,’ and that was something that helped me put things in perspective.”

Tributes flowed over the weekend from Washingtonians with and without titles, who often said, “he loved this city, and the city loved him back.”

It’s a sentiment other local anchors strive for. In downtown Washington, the National Association of Broadcasters flew its NAB flag at half staff in Vance’s honor, Chris Ariens reported for TVSpy.

Advertisement

Mike Cavender, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, said by email, “I don’t know of anything definitive recently that’s been written about the importance of local anchors….except that news research, generally, shows they are among the most trusted components of TV News in terms of trustworthiness and believability….and are a major reason why local TV news is among the most trusted news sources of them all in the United States.

“Jim Vance is certainly a classic example of that on so many levels…and his tenure at WRC-TV is a major reason why that station for so long has been at the top of the ratings in DC.”

At first in a video posted on Facebook, and then on his “Off Script” show, Johnson discussed how he and Vance tried hypnosis to stop smoking. It worked for Johnson, but not for Vance.

Advertisement

Vance’s co-anchor Doreen Gentzler, said her on-air partner had “an issue” with his lungs 10 years ago and that they frequently discussed his smoking. On the deadliness of the habit, “he would like to get that message out,” she told Johnson.

Johnson also showed viewers an interview he conducted with Wayne Curry, the first black county executive of neighboring Prince George’s County, Md., a smoker who died of lung cancer at 63 in 2014. Curry, then near the end of his life, also pleaded with viewers not to smoke.

Funeral arrangements were not complete, the station said.

Nizam Ali with Richard Prince, “Business Matters,” WPFW-FM: Jim Vance (audio) (go to “Business Matters, Monday, July 24, 2017, 9:00 am)

Pat Collins, WRC-TV: News4 Colleagues Remember: Vance’s News Voice (video)

Pat Collins, WRC-TV: News4 Colleagues Remember: Vance Treated Everyone Like Family (video)

Advertisement

Lindsay Czarniak, Craig Melvin, Wally Bruckner and Dianna Russini, WRC-TV: Jim Vance: A Lasting Impact (video)

Editorial, Washington Post: On and off camera, Jim Vance will be missed

Paul Farhi, Washington Post: Jim Vance was a TV news fixture for decades, in a largely transient town

Advertisement

Jennifer Golbeck with Tom Sherwood, Richard Prince and Doreen Gentzler, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” WAMU-FM: Reflecting On The Life and Legacy Of Longtime Washington TV Anchor Jim Vance (audio)

Colbert I. King, Washington Post: What Jim Vance meant to me

Steve Kistulentz, Washington City Paper: Remembering Citizen Jim Vance

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Jim Vance: For him, it was all about the fundamentals

Pat Lawson Muse, WRC-TV: So Proud, Grateful to Have Had Vance With Us (video)

National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Mourns the Loss of Veteran Journalist Jim Vance

Advertisement

Mike Wise, the Undefeated: Television anchor Jim Vance was a hero in black Washington

WRC-TV: ‘A True DC Icon’: Jim Vance Remembered as Newsman, Trailblazer, Friend (video)

WRC-TV: ‘Someone Who Looked Like Me’: DC Publisher [Denise Rolark Barnes] Tells How Jim Vance Inspired African Americans (video)

WUSA-TV: Remembering Jim Vance: The place where Jim could be Jim (video)

WUSA-TV: Former DC news anchor [Derek McGinty] talks about how Jim Vance influenced his career (video)

Trump News Saps Attention From World Disasters

When Americans elected Donald Trump in November, they created a dramatic shortage in a valuable global commodity: attention,” Ryan Mac, Steven Perlberg, Alberto Nardelli, Jim Waterson, Borzou Daragahi, Tarini Parti and John Hudson reported Monday for BuzzFeed.

Advertisement

“The sheer attention Trump absorbs — on Twitter, on television, in culture, and in the anxious dreams of American citizens and the country’s allies and enemies — draws away the lifeblood of everything from the launch of new apps to new social movements. Attention is the currency not just of American attention-seekers from Kim Kardashian to Amazon, but also of the other great geniuses of attention-seeking over the last decade: terror groups like ISIS, and opponents of the postwar social order like Julian Assange. . . .”

They also wrote, “BuzzFeed News reporters and editors on six continents have examined how attention-hungry subjects are responding to this new shortage of their favorite commodity. We found that Trump’s dominance is not fully global. While he has captivated North America and Europe to varying degrees, a few places have entirely resisted the narrative: such as Brazil, captivated by its own crisis, and India, focused on its own battles.

“But in the US — and the many parts of the world whose politics have long existed at least in part in relation to Washington — savvy attention merchants are responding dynamically to a disrupted market.

Advertisement

“Some are shouting louder. American politicians curse more now. Global aid groups say they are relying on increasingly unorthodox stunts such as the ‘Famine Food Truck’ the aid group Oxfam has been driving around Washington, DC, in an attempt to call attention to what it describes as the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of World War II: a food crisis spanning South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen causing extreme hunger for 30 million people.

“ ‘A crisis of this magnitude would usually warrant significant media attention, and we’ve tried a number of tactics with only sporadic results,’ said Laura Rusu, media manager at Oxfam America.

“Others are streaming in Trump’s wake — most literally, the media figures and companies who are gaining a following by racing to reply to Trump’s tweets. . . .”

Somali Americans, Media in Fraught Relationship

When the Minneapolis police officer involved in the shooting of Justine Damond was identified last week as Mohamed Noor, Suud Olat’s iPhone lit up with calls and texts from journalists around the country,” Ibrahim Hirsi reported Monday for MinnPost.

Advertisement

“Most of them came from news organizations that were already familiar with the 25-year-old Somali-American, who has made a name for himself as an advocate for refugee communities during the three years he’s lived in Minnesota.

“This time, though, the journalists didn’t want him to talk about refugee issues; they wanted information about Noor, a Somali-American who shot Damond after she called 911 to report a suspected sexual assault.

“Olat talked to reporters from several local and national media organizations — including the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, The Associated Press, Voice of America and CBS News — about the one-time brief interaction he had with the officer some months ago in Minneapolis.

Advertisement

“Later, when his comments appeared in the news, Olat’s iPhone started to blow up again. This time, though, the calls didn’t come from journalists; they came from people he knew from the Somali-American community, almost all of them saying he should stop speaking to the media about the shooting.

“ ‘The community has a natural tendency to avoid the media, thinking that it will tell nothing good about us,’ Olat said. ‘So a lot of community members called me names. They said, “You are being used. You are looking for your 15 minutes fame.” ‘

“Throughout most of the 25 years Somali-Americans have lived in Minnesota, they’ve had a complicated relationship with mainstream media — an experience that’s become especially fraught in the last decade, after several Somali-Americans from Twin Cities metro area joined extremist groups in Somalia and the Middle East. . . .”

German Lopez, vox.com: When a police shooting victim is a white woman

Glen Nishimura Dies, Editor of USA Today Columns

Glen S. Nishimura

Glen S. Nishimura, who spent many years as editor of opinion columns at USA Today and was a member of the paper’s editorial board until his retirement two years ago, died July 22 at his home in McLean, Va.,” the Washington Post reported Monday. “He was 68.

Advertisement

“The cause was lymphoma and myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of cancer affecting bone marrow and blood, said his wife, Susan Schmidt, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter.

“Mr. Nishimura spent much of his early career as a news editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, where he became adept at page design and layout. He also worked briefly at the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe as an editor before joining USA Today shortly after its founding in 1982 as an assistant editor on the Washington desk. He later moved on to the editorial staff as a writer and then op-ed editor, where he conceived and commissioned opinion pieces from experts and advocates in many fields.

“Glen Susumu Nishimura, a third-generation Japanese American, was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, 1948. He was a 1971 graduate of California State University at Los Angeles.

Advertisement

“At his death, he had drafted part of a book about the internment of his family in relocation camps during World War II. He consulted older generations of relatives as well as letters written between his parents throughout the war and their internment. . . .”

Short Takes

The discovery of dead and dying migrants in a hot tractor-trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot in San Antonio early Sunday is a gruesome demonstration of the desperation that causes people to risk their lives to get to this country,” the San Antonio Express-News editorialized on Monday. “But it also puts in stark perspective the need to enact the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that would make such risk-taking less prevalent. And it points also to the need for U.S. foreign policy in the southern hemisphere that attacks root causes. . . .”

Advertisement

More than 200 women of the NAACP honored April Ryan, Washington correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and Maureen Bunyan, broadcast journalist and co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, at a brunch in Baltimore on Sunday, the NAACP reported. The association, meeting during its annual convention, announced Saturday it had named Derrick Johnson, vice chairman of the board of directors, as interim president and CEO, effective immediately.

A group led by Edwin Eisendrath, a former Chicago alderman, overcame a rival bid by Tronc, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, to buy the Chicago Sun-Times, Julie Bosman and Sydney Ember reported Sunday for the New York Times. “He wants to breathe new life into the newspaper, revitalizing it as a publication that tells stories of the working class and acts as a voice of the people. . . .”

Before Donald Trump was elected, Mario Guevara — an immigration reporter at El Mundo Hispanico, the Atlanta area’s oldest Spanish-language print outlet — received a handful of calls each day from people dealing with immigration issues,” Timothy Pratt reported Monday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Georgia is home to the country’s seventh largest undocumented immigrant population, estimated at 375,000. But the weight of the beat is much heavier since Trump became president. Guevara says he currently receives up to 40 calls or messages a day, via text or Facebook, from people whose lives are shaped by immigration policy and enforcement, in one way or another. . . .”

Advertisement

“Business journalist Ron Stodghill, who has worked for BusinessWeek and been the business columnist for the Charlotte Observer, has been hired as a professor at the University of Missouri, his alma mater,” Chris Roush reported Friday for Talking Biz News.

Sad news for longtime fans of the KTVI (Channel 2) morning and midday shows, as word has gotten back to STL that Lynn Cousins died earlier this month,” Joe Holleman reported Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “She was 46. Cousins worked at the station in the early 2000s, serving as a reporter on the morning show with Randi Naughton and John Pertzborn and co-anchoring the noon news with Kevin Steincross. . . .”

Marija Hinojosa, left, and Erika Dilday

Erika Dilday has been named executive director of the Futuro Media Group, founded by public radio journalist Maria Hinojosa, its president. Futuro produces “multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience,” including NPR’s “Latino USA.” A Tuesday announcement said, “Dilday was the Executive Director of Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem where she oversaw community cinema and education programs and produced the award-winning documentary, In Transit. She also held strategic planning and financial management roles at The New York Times, National Geographic Television and CBS. . . . .”

Advertisement

In Britain, the “low number of ethnic minority names on the BBC’s list of its best-paid talent is provoking an angry response inside the corporation this weekend, likely to equal the initial shock over the gender pay imbalance,” Vanessa Thorpe reported Sunday for the Guardian. “In terms of social makeup, the situation is substantially worse behind the scenes, disgruntled staff say, with too many white middle-class people making decisions about news priorities and content. . . . Black and Asian programme-makers and campaigners, such as Sir Lenny Henry, are now calling for Ofcom, the industry watchdog, to intervene and for energetic recruitment drives among under-represented communities. . . .”

On Friday, “Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced the 2017 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on the Americas. The 2017 Cabot Prize winners are Martín Caparrós, Author and Journalist, Argentina; Dorrit Harazim, Columnist, Editor, and Filmmaker, Brazil; Nick Miroff, Washington Post, United States; Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald, United States. . . .”

A Moroccan court on Tuesday sentenced to three months in jail a journalist accused of having ‘invited’ people to take part in banned protests in the restive north, his website said,” Agence France-Presse reported. Badil Editor-in-Chief “Hamid El Mahdaoui was arrested on Thursday at the start of a banned demonstration in the northern city of Al-Hoceima, during which protesters clashed with police.” The Committee to Protect Journalists Friday had called for his immediate release. Reporters Without Borders said Sunday it “has registered many media freedom violations since the start of a wave of protests in Morocco’s northern Rif region and accuses the authorities of deliberately obstructing the Moroccan and foreign reporters who have been trying to cover the unrest. . . .”


Support Journal-isms Go Fund Me page 

Join the list of supporters

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

Advertisement

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince at journal-isms-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter.

Like “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” on Facebook.

Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.