N.Y. Times’ Public Editor Decries ‘Overall Scarcity’
“The Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, acclaimed for his study of inkblots, might have enjoyed doing some field work at the most recent newsroom-wide meeting of The New York Times,” Liz Spayd, public editor at the Times, wrote on Saturday for its SundayReview section.
“Many in the audience saw before them top editors representing a bold new phase of digital innovation. Others, especially some women, saw a reality grounded firmly in the present: an all-male cast at the podium, the chief architects behind the most important strategic document since the celebrated innovation report in 2014. Was this a portrait of a newsroom’s future or of the gender that will remain in charge of it?
“One or both may be correct. But the optics that day highlight a piercing problem at The Times. Women have skidded down the power structure since Jill Abramson was dismissed as executive editor three years ago, with fewer females leading big news departments and fewer coming up the pipeline. Thus, fewer women decide what big stories are assigned, what broad coverage priorities are set, and what a re-envisioned Times should look like.
“Just how grave the problem is depends, as with inkblots, on one’s perspective.
“In recent weeks, for example, three women were added to the masthead, placing them in the coveted ranks of the newsroom’s top editors. In addition, women head up the Washington bureau, the arts and culture coverage, the book, photo and video desks, as well as several smaller sections. There are probably more distinguished women in this newsroom than at most any newspaper in the country.
“So where’s the grievance? For one, men are No. 1 and No. 2 in command for the first time in 14 years, Dean Baquet as executive editor and Joseph Kahn as the recently named managing editor. Another male is first among equals driving coverage in the ranks below them, while men run the paper’s national news, foreign news and metropolitan news, as well as both business and sports. The next editing tier is also heavily male, a climate that led one group of women to wryly fantasize one day about how differently a story might read if no man touched it throughout the editing chain. . . .”
Spayd also wrote, “The overall scarcity of women may contribute to the persistent complaints from readers who see a sexist tinge to elements of the news coverage. . . .”
Spayd wrote in December about “The newsroom’s blinding whiteness.”
Cara Bahniuk, russianmachineneverbreaks.com: The Washington Post is the only newspaper in the world to have four major sport beats covered by women
Biracial People Called Best Suited for the Future
“After the nation’s first black president, we now have a white president with the whitest and malest cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s,” Moises Velasquez-Manoff wrote Saturday in the featured article in the New York Times SundayReview. “His administration immediately made it a priority to deport undocumented immigrants and to deny people from certain Muslim-majority nations entry into the United States, decisions that caused tremendous blowback.
“What President Trump doesn’t seem to have considered is that diversity doesn’t just sound nice, it has tangible value. Social scientists find that homogeneous groups like his cabinet can be less creative and insightful than diverse ones. They are more prone to groupthink and less likely to question faulty assumptions.
“What’s true of groups is also true for individuals. A small but growing body of research suggests that multiracial people are more open-minded and creative. . . .”
Velasquez-Manoff also wrote, “As a multiethnic person myself — the son of a Jewish dad of Eastern European descent and a Puerto Rican mom — I can attest that being mixed makes it harder to fall back on the tribal identities that have guided so much of human history, and that are now resurgent. Your background pushes you to construct a worldview that transcends the tribal. . . .”
Some Caution Outrage Over Trump May Go Too Far
A New York Times editorial Sunday captured the sentiment of most mainstream journalists’ professional reaction to President Trump’s unsubstantiated, tweeted allegation that former president Barack Obama tapped Trump’s phones. But other journalists wrote that some of their colleagues had gone too far.
“Let’s begin with what the public can know for certain,” the Times wrote. “President Trump had no evidence on Saturday morning when he smeared his predecessor, President Barack Obama, accusing him of ordering that Trump Tower phones be tapped during the 2016 campaign. Otherwise, the White House would not be scrambling to find out if what he said is true.
“Just contemplate the recklessness — the sheer indifference to truth and the moral authority of the American presidency — revealed here: one president baselessly charging criminality by another, all in a childish Twitter rampage.
“The Times reported on Sunday that the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was so alarmed by Mr. Trump’s fact-free claim — which implicitly accused the F.B.I. of breaking the law by wiretapping an American citizen at a president’s behest — that he was asking the Justice Department to publicly call it false. In other words, the F.B.I. director was demanding that Justice officially declare the president to be misleading the public.
“This is a dangerous moment, which requires Congress and members of this administration to look beyond partisan maneuvering and tend to the health of the democracy itself. . . .”
However, Harold Jackson, editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, worried on Sunday about comparisons of Trump with another authoritarian personality: “Comparisons of President Trump and his cabinet with Adolf Hitler and his regime are counterproductive exercises in hyperbole that make political division in this country worse. If anything, such comparisons indicate too many Americans never learned in school how Nazism kept its vise grip on Germany in the early 20th century. . . .”
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun wrote Saturday, “In fairness to Trump, his administration has not escalated the conflict with the press to a new level. It has not yet come close to doing what President Obama’s administration did in making the act of reporting itself criminal behavior in a case that started in 2009 under the Espionage Act of 1917. . . .”
Zurawik referred to the case of James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, branded in court documents by the Justice Department as “an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator,” and to the exclusion of Fox News from a round of interviews in 2009 with Kenneth Feinberg, then a Treasury Department official.
Disinformation Found to Play Role in Campaign
“The 2016 Presidential election shook the foundations of American politics,” Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts and Ethan Zuckerman wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Media reports immediately looked for external disruption to explain the unanticipated victory — with theories ranging from Russian hacking to ‘fake news.’
“We have a less exotic, but perhaps more disconcerting explanation: Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world.
“This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.
“While concerns about political and media polarization online are longstanding, our study suggests that polarization was asymmetric. Pro-Clinton audiences were highly attentive to traditional media outlets, which continued to be the most prominent outlets across the public sphere, alongside more left-oriented online sites. But pro-Trump audiences paid the majority of their attention to polarized outlets that have developed recently, many of them only since the 2008 election season.
“Attacks on the integrity and professionalism of opposing media were also a central theme of right-wing media. Rather than ‘fake news’ in the sense of wholly fabricated falsities, many of the most-shared stories can more accurately be understood as disinformation . . . .”
Trump Cuts Back on CNN, MSNBC, ‘Morning Joe’
“In a story about the ratings gains for the cable news channels during Pres. Trump’s First 100 days, Bloomberg got a sense of the Commander-in-Chief’s TV news viewing habits,” Chris Ariens wrote Friday for TV Newser. “We know he’s a Fox News fan, but also this:
“ ‘Trump has cut back how much he watches CNN and MSNBC in recent weeks, having sworn off the latter network’s ‘Morning Joe’ after criticism from its hosts, according to a senior White House aide privy to the president’s viewing habits.
“Instead, the president now spends hours some mornings watching Fox News, switching occasionally to CNBC for business headlines, along with a daily diet of newspapers and press clippings, said the official, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. On the evenings when he doesn’t have a dinner or briefing, Trump will spend most of his TV-viewing time watching Fox News shows hosted by Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, the aide said.’ “
David Bauder, Associated Press: Sessions story takes different shape on different outlets
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Pause This Presidency!
Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe: Don’t give Trump voters a pass
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: That time when a president did order wire taps
Neal Gabler, billmoyers.com: The Media’s Rapid Retreat
William Greider, the Nation: Is Our President Bonkers?
Ron Grossman, the Nation: The 1954 deportation of Mexican migrants and the ‘wetback airlift’ in Chicago
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Undocumented, But Undaunted — An Asian American DACA recipient experiences Trump’s big speech
Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press: Trump to Great Lakes: Drop dead
Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times: In West Africa, Trump — not Obama — a beacon of hope (Feb. 24)
Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times: Did Sessions lie, or err? The difference matters, and needs to be investigated
Tiffany Midge, Indian Country Media Network: The Wild West (Wing) and Wild Bill Hiccup [sic], the Second Coming of Andrew Jackson
Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times: Protesters Gather to Support the Press, From Fox News to The New York Times (Feb. 26)
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Newspapers matter: We knew you’d come crawling back to us
Joy-Ann Reid, Daily Beast: Why Does Everybody Seem to Hate Omarosa Manigault?
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: More than 80 groups sign statement condemning attacks on press freedom
Rubén Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Resolve about what still makes America great
Hector E. Sanchez, the Hill, and Angelo Falcón, National Institute for Latino Policy: What’s next for Latinos’ priorities under a Trump administration?
Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald: What Donald Trump’s America really needs is ‘The Office of Official Lies’
NBC News followed up on the Marshall Project’s report about parents required to pay for the cost of their children’s incarcerations.
Reporting Ends Onerous Practice in Philly
“I wanted you to know that an investigation we published on Friday in collaboration with The Washington Post has already had impact,” Bill Keller, editor-in-chief of the Marshall Project, wrote to email subscribers on Monday.
“The story revealed that 19 state juvenile-justice agencies regularly or sometimes require parents to pay for the cost of their children’s incarcerations. Counties in another 28 states also routinely engage in the practice. These costs are often crippling to families already struggling with poverty and with the trauma of seeing a son or daughter in jail.
“Parents are charged even if the case against their child is ultimately dismissed. For example, when Mariana Cuevas’s son was released from a California jail after being locked up in a juvenile hall for more than 300 days for a homicide he did not commit, the state still tried to collect $10,000 for his imprisonment.
“The City of Philadelphia, where the story was focused, announced a few hours after our story was published that it would end the practice of charging parents who have kids in detention. You can read our post on this development here. You can also watch an NBC News report on our investigation here. . . .”
Vogue Features Women of White House Press Corps
April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, Kristen Welker of NBC News and Janet Rodriquez of Univision are part of “A Matter of Facts,” a feature on women in the White House press corps posted Friday by Vogue.
Ryan said, “We are the first line of questioning of the American president. We are baked into the framework of this nation. People might say, ‘Oh, we don’t like the press,’ but guess what? We’re needed.” Ryan also said she would love to be played by Taraji P. Henson on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Welker said, “I do think we all got into this business for this moment, to feel like we are playing a critical role in our democracy. There’s so much civic engagement, so many things at stake. We have a real responsibility to live up to every day.”
Rodriguez said, “So much is happening so fast, especially when it comes to immigration, that we are more than ever a source of information, knowledge, security. We’re there asking the questions for our viewers because their lives are going to be very much affected.”
Alissa Krinsky, TVNewser: Kristen Welker Gets Married
William Reed, Washington Informer: Prejudice at the White House
Sean Yoes, Afro-American: Attack on April Ryan Was an Attack on the Black Press
Pittsburgh Losing 614 African Americans Each Year
“Pittsburghers have a friendly competition with Cleveland and jokingly call that city ‘the mistake on the lake,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorialized on Monday. “However, it’s no joke that Cleveland wins the competition on one important measure — the vitality of its African-American community.
“This was one of many troubling facts in an examination of the African-American experience in Pittsburgh which the Post-Gazette published last Sunday and Monday. Reporters Gary Rotstein and Tim Grant described several trends affecting the black community here.
“One trend is that many African-American professionals do not feel comfortable here, and they lack a cohesive peer group. In some cases they choose to leave for cities that have a larger black middle class, such as Atlanta and Washington, D.C. According to a USA Today analysis of census data, Pittsburgh is experiencing a net loss of 614 African-Americans each year.
“A second trend is that blacks who live here often face barriers in joining the professional class; few have become business owners or leaders in their fields of work. Subtle types of discrimination seem to characterize African-American life in Pittsburgh. . . .”
Keith Reed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Seeking ‘blacker pastures’ beyond Pittsburgh
“ESPN, the sports media giant grappling with the continued decline in cable subscribers, confirmed Monday that it will make cuts to its roster of on-air talent this year,” Stephen Battaglio reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times. “The Walt Disney Co. unit said there will be an unspecified reduction in the 1,000 employees who currently perform on TV, radio and podcasts as the sports broadcaster adapts to changing consumer habits. The size of the reduction, which is expected in June, has yet to be determined. . . .”
David Ho has been named vice president and executive editor, digital audience and news innovation, for Hearst Newspapers,” the company announced Monday. “. . . Most recently, Ho served as executive mobile editor and mobile product director for The Wall Street Journal, where he led the Journal’s news operations on smartphones and tablets and oversaw the mobile evolution of its newsroom. In his new role, Ho will guide the transformation of Hearst newsrooms—including the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle — to reach new audiences and produce content for mobile, social and online platforms. . . .”
“Apple said it has temporarily stopped buying cobalt mined by hand in Congo while it continues to deal with problems with child labor and harsh work conditions,” Todd C. Frankel reported Friday for the Washington Post. “A Washington Post investigation last year detailed abuses in Congo’s artisanal cobalt supply chain, showing how miners — including children — labored in hazardous, even deadly, conditions. Amnesty International and other human rights groups also have alleged problems. . . .”
Legendary Brooklyn-based photographer George Pitts died last Friday, after losing his battle with a prolonged illness,” Robin De Clercq reported Monday for resourcemagonline.com. He was 65. “After studying at Bennington College, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and at Howard University, George became the founding Director of Photography at Vibe Magazine. He stayed there until . . . 2004, then went on to become the Director of Photography at LIFE Magazine,” De Clercq wrote. “But George was also a much loved writer, poet, painter and teacher. . . .” Fellow photographers paid tribute at time.com.
“A longtime NFL writer is under fire after including a racially-charged paragraph in a column about former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson,” Rob Tornoe wrote Saturday for the Philadelphia Daily News. Longtime Green Bay Gazette writer Pete Dougherty “included a controversial explanation of why he thought the former Vikings running back harshly punished his son: ‘Let’s also not forget that Peterson likely is descended from slaves who suffered savage disciplinary beatings generation after [generation] after generation. It excuses nothing but also can’t be ignored. This is learned behavior.’ The paragraph has since been removed from Dougherty’s column, and an editor’s note now appears at the top of the story. . . .”
Elena Bergeron on Friday “was named SB Nation’s first editor in chief, part of a new divide-and-conquer leadership strategy at the Vox Media-owned blog empire,” Benjamin Mullin reported Friday for the Poynter Institute. “Bergeron, formerly SB Nation’s executive editor, will be responsible for setting the editorial direction for the site while her colleague Kevin Lockland, previously the vice president of editorial at SB Nation, assumes full responsibility for the site’s business operations. . . .”
“Longtime editor and page designer Gary Piña has left The Dallas Morning News to join conservative online news platform TheBlaze.com as a copy editor,” Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday for her Media Moves site. “Today is his first day in the new job. Piña had been at the Morning News almost three years, exiting the company as a Metro Print Team Designer. ‘The Dallas Morning News recently announced that is outsourcing the design work to Gatehouse Media and trimming the newspaper’s print teams. I didn’t wait to find out if I made the cut.’ . . .”
“Estrella TV, the Spanish-language TV network that has been roiled by a sexual harassment scandal, cut ties this week with its veteran news director as well as the anchor who claimed he had harassed her,” Gene Maddaus reported Friday for Variety. “Karla Amezola filed a lawsuit in June alleging that Andres Angulo would routinely call her into his office and beg her for sex. . . .”
CeFaan Kim encountered one of the occupational hazards of on-the-scene television reporting on Friday night: Being confronted by a random hothead while live on the air,” Tim Kenneally reported Friday for thewrap.com. “Kim, a reporter with New York station ABC 7, was accosted and physically attacked by a man wearing a hockey mask as the camera rolled. . . .”
“If you’re looking for a silver lining regarding the state of the North American newsstand, the declines in 2016 weren’t quite as dramatic as those felt in 2015, so there’s that,” Greg Dool reported Thursday for Folio:. “Still, 12.4 percent fewer magazines were sold on newsstands across the U.S. and Canada in 2016 compared to 2015, according to the latest figures released today by MagNet, corresponding to a 6.9 percent decline in industry-wide newsstand revenue. . . .”
“Dion Lim, evening anchor at CBS affiliate 10News WTSP in St. Petersburg, announced she is leaving the station to begin ‘a very exciting adventure just on the horizon,’ “ the Tampa Bay Times reported on Friday.
“A rising nationally syndicated conservative talk-radio star who makes fun of Chicago homicide victims on his show says he is being honored by his bosses at radio giant iHeartRadio as the ‘Talk Personality of the Year,’ Kim Janssen reported Thursday for the Chicago Tribune. “Texan Michael Berry mocks Chicago homicide victims in his regular feature, ‘Chicago Weekend Crime Report,’ which includes a shooting victim bingo game in which listeners are supposed to guess where in the body victims were shot. . . .”
Veteran writer Cliff Brown will be joining the sports department next month as an enterprise reporter,” Nat Newell, sports editor at the Indianapolis Star, said in a note to staff members Friday. “Cliff has worked at the New York Times, Sporting News, Detroit Free Press and, most recently, CSN Mid-Atlantic covering the Ravens. He brings a wealth of experience covering major national beats, including the NFL, NBA and PGA Tour for the Times. In his most recent role, he did live segments and reports on pre- and post-game shows on cable television and has experience with live and on-demand online video. . . .”
“Sula Kim is returning to the New Orleans airwaves,” Mike Scott reported Thursday for NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune. “The former WDSU-TV reporter and anchor, who left the city in spring 2015 for an on-air stint on Seattle’s KING-5, will return to the WDSU anchor desk on March 13, the station has announced. Kim will join Shaun Kraisman as co-anchor of the station’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast. She will also anchor the 6 and 10 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Scott Walker. . . .”
CNN’s media criticism show “Reliable Sources,” cited in this space last month for having an all-white discussion panel on First Amendment issues, followed up the next week by interviewing Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, and on Sunday by including Times columnist Charles M. Blow on a similar panel. Both are black journalists.
“Zimbabwean authorities should immediately drop all charges against News Day editor Wisdom Mdzungairi and reporter Richard Chidza, and should cease threatening journalists,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday. “Police initially asked Mdzungairi and Chidza to identify the sources of a March 2 article headlined, ‘Mugabe in fresh health scare,’ Mdzungairi told CPJ. When they refused, police arrested and charged the two with undermining or insulting the country’s president, their lawyer, Obey Shava, told CPJ. If convicted, the two face a maximum sentence of one year in prison. . . .”
“Please continue the work. You are putting out one of the best sources of news that we have. You are one of our doers at a time when we so badly need doers. You bring style, grace and intelligence and more to our struggle.”
— W. Paul Coates, director of Black Classic Press, which he founded in Baltimore in 1978 with a mission to reprint classic out-of-print works of African-American scholarship and history.
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.
Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.