A workshop at the joint convention of the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors discusses “disruptive ways to engage untapped audiences.” People of color make up 37.02 percent of the U.S. population; that proportion will increase to 42.39 percent by 2025, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 
Associated Press Media Editors

Ready to Overcome Lack of Commitment, Financial Crises?

Who dropped the ball?

And are there still signs of hope?

In 1978, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, as it was then known, challenged the newspaper industry to match in its newsrooms the percentage of people of color in the general population by 2000 or sooner. It began its first annual newsroom employment census, measuring newsrooms' diversity.

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The goal was not met. In 2000, journalists of color were 11.85 percent of newsrooms, while people of color were 28.4 percent of the U.S. population.

In 2000, the ASNE board reaffirmed its diversity commitment and extended the goal to 2025.

Few expect this goal to be achieved, either. People of color make up 37.02 percent of the U.S. population; that number will increase to 42.39 percent by 2025, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But the percentage of journalists of color in daily newspaper newsrooms has remained relatively stable. In 2014, it was 12.76 percent.

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What's taking so long?

Journal-isms put the question of missed diversity goals to eight editors who were among 340 attendees at an upbeat joint convention of the American Society of News Editors, as it is now known, and the Associated Press Media Editors. They met over the weekend at Stanford University under the banner "Digital. Diversity. Disruption," or the catchier "3D."

Their answers ranged from lack of commitment by many of their peers to financial pressures, but some spoke proudly of their own successes.

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Responding were:

Melanie Sill, vice president of content, Southern California Public Radio.

Jim Brady, CEO and founder at Billy Penn, a Philadelphia digital startup; ASNE board member and past president of the Online News Association.

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Tom Chester, managing editor, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel.

Manny Garcia, editor, Naples (Fla.) Daily News.

Greg Burton, executive editor, Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Calif.

Mitch Pugh, executive editor, Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.

Mike Wilson, editor, Dallas Morning News.

Katrice Hardy, managing editor, Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

Melanie Sill

"Our market is up to 70 percent people of color, depending on which part of the LA-Orange County metro. Our content team is now close to 45 percent people of color. For a long time, the newspaper industry hired based on experience. We hired people who did what we were already doing. We needed to hire for talent and knowledge rather than [people who] look like the people we already hired. Somebody said to me, 'If we didn't have exclusion, we wouldn't need inclusion.'

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"We see that replicated in everything. We just didn't understand how we were continuing to reinforce [the status quo] and that we were just stuck in the mud."

Sill said the problem extends not only to diversity but also to the news industry's response to the disruption caused by the Internet. She was echoing comments made in a panel on a news landscape that is changing to "digital first." Mizell Stewart III, managing director and chief content officer of Journal Media Group, told the editors to rethink the number of planning meetings geared toward the next day's print edition, and to put the attention instead on that day's digital products. "The meeting drives the culture," Stewart said.

Jim Brady

"It's been on the top of everybody's list. When we put up job postings for Billy Penn, we got 100 responses, but only three from people of color. We looked at people's social media profiles. I was stunned by how small the representation was." Along with the changing media landscape could be the changing way people learn about jobs. "It used to be very easy to know where to put a job listing. Now there might not be a place. What's the path of a job listing?" Brady said that might be worth investigating.

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A Sunday workshop, "Recruiting a Diverse Team," provided some answers. "The old days of posting on a website are gone" as an effective way of finding diverse candidates, as is "going to a conference and putting up a nice booth," said Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who is president of Unity: Journalists for Diversity.

Contreras suggested looking at graduates of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, which partners with the national associations of black and Hispanic journalists; visiting social media to find journalists who have covered particular subjects, then looking up their bios; making sure the applicant pool for every job is diverse; and not overlooking Native American tribal newspapers.

S. Mitra Kalita, managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times, underscored the recommendation about a diverse applicant pool and urged visiting regional, more intimate conferences of the journalist of color organizations and building a relationship there with candidates for future openings. 

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Tom Chester

"I don't think we recruit well. We used to go to the John Seigenthaler Center in Nashville," where Wanda Lloyd ran the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute. "We were there every time we had a chance. We recruited several students. We have an 9 percent black population, and an even smaller Hispanic population. [Now the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute has shut down], and we don't spend the money [to recruit elsewhere. As a result] we can't go deep in the community. It's always about the Benjamins."

In 2012, the News Sentinel published stories about Phillip "Tookie" Stanford, the only son in a family of four. By the time Stanford was 7 years old, he had lost his sister and father to violence and his mother to cancer. Stanford, an African American, became a standout West High School basketball player, only to commit suicide. After producing follow-up articles and a 24-minute video, Chester explained at a convention workshop, he still wonders how the News Sentinel could have delved more deeply into the tragedy, exploring the pressures on young black men such as "Tookie" and how substantial a support system they have available.

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The News Sentinel, now owned by Journal Media Group, will soon be owned again by Gannett Co. Inc. It reported 7.9 percent journalists of color in the 2015 ASNE newsroom diversity census.

Manny Garcia

"We make it a point. We have to be able to cover the community as it continues to diversify. Everybody's got different life stories," Garcia said of diversity efforts.

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"We hired a lady from Spain to cover the Hispanic community. She questioned a woman who was a victim of sex trafficking. Readers were so moved that someone sent a $10,000 check for victims of sex trafficking. We would not have gotten that story otherwise."

Garcia said he could not speak for the news industry as a whole, saying, "You control what you can control. It involves keeping an eye. We have to have diversity. It comes from the leadership level. It just has to be purposeful in your approach as a leader."

In the 2014 ASNE newsroom diversity census, the Naples Daily News reported 15.6 percent journalists of color. Its figure was not reported in the 2015 census.

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Greg Burton

"My staff is 40 percent minority right now," Burton said. "My primary goal is to have a diverse newsroom. You have to have the right person come in and tell those stories. My environmental reporter came from the AP bureau in Caracas. We wanted an investigative reporter who spoke Spanish. Ian James is not a minority, although fluent and able to reach people we haven't before — and he's produced stories of unique power because of that. He is an example of efforts to diversify language and cultural insights in my newsroom.

"For instance, my editorial page editor is a Spanish speaker, Latino, not so when I arrived. I hired a health reporter fluent in Spanish, family in Mexico (she recently left). I've hired two editors who are minorities, a producer, Latino, who is fluent in Spanish. Two other reporters fluent in Spanish.

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"I'm also in a place with a strong LGBT community — and my newsroom reflects that community.

"It can't be an exercise — and ultimately it fuels better storytelling. It's a way of thinking about community and our role and a belief that great stories, strong organizations, are driven by a diversity of ideas.

"Economically, everybody's shed jobs, [but] I think we'll see a recommitment. Absolutely, there's a commitment. I speak of The Desert Sun. I'm speaking to my commitment — and I never wavered."

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In the 2014 ASNE newsroom diversity census, the Desert Sun reported 34 percent journalists of color. Its figure was not reported in the 2015 census.

Mitch Pugh

"With the industry, it was financial. [Lack of diversity happens] when you're cutting away [and thinking only of] what are you going to take out, and not thinking strategically. A lot of the cuts in the industry have hurt that pool of talent," those of color.

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At the Post and Courier, "We've refocused, with entry-level people. We've been trying. It's good to bring in young people. . . ."

Pugh told an ASNE panel Saturday on "The New Sheriff in Town" about editors who had recently moved to top leadership roles, that readers had told him that the Post and Courier was taking on subjects it would not have done previously, as in investigating aspects of the April 4 police shooting of Walter Scott, 50, a black man, by white North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. Cellphone video captured by a passerby showed the officer shooting Scott in the back.

In 2000, Charleston's major newspaper reported a newsroom that was 12.3 percent journalists of color. That fell to 8.3 percent in 2007, according to figures the paper reported to ASNE. But the paper won plaudits from its coverage of the June massacre that killed nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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The Post and Courier reported 3.9 percent journalists of color in the 2015 ASNE newsroom diversity census.

Mike Wilson

As an industry, "We had the best intentions and some really good plans, then we lost our resolve and we lost our focus. "[Since the recession] . . . it has been a story of survival" rather than one of diversity.

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In the 2015 ASNE newsroom diversity census, the Dallas Morning News reported 16.6 percent journalists of color.

Katrice Hardy

"We stopped sending people to conferences to network. We . . . don't have time to keep those relationships [going] . . . We've made a lot of mistakes."

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Hardy said she is continuing to network with local schools and volunteering as an adviser to student newspapers.

In the 2014 ASNE newsroom diversity census, the Virginian-Pilot reported 14.2 percent journalists of color.

At a workshop called "Flip It! Disruptive Ways to Engage Untapped Audiences," attendees were urged to summarize the ideas they took away. Among them: "Reframe mindset," "We really don't know our communities as well as we think we do and get our staff out there." "Take the time to develop trust" and "trust takes time and commitment." An "Engagement Hub" website has been created to connect journalists pursuing community engagement.

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Another workshop was devoted to the pursuuit of millennials, who should be regarded as "what your audience is going to be doing in a year," according to Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.

Also at the convention, Dori J. Maynard, the late president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, was presented with the APME's Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership. It was accepted by Evelyn Hsu, executive director of the institute.

Associated Press: APME Elects New Members to Board of Directors

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: Digital transformation of major newsrooms focus of new Temple University project supported by $1.3 million from Knight Foundation (Oct. 19)

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Francesca Lupia, Associated Press Media Editors student project: "Flip It!" : Diversity, Community and a New American Journalism

Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab: Tracie Powell: "We're supposed to challenge power…it seems like we've abdicated that to social media" 

Barry Sanders, Associated Press Media Editors student project: Panelists urge diversity in the newsroom

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Joe Sciacca, Tom Shattuck and Zuri Berry, Boston Herald Radio, winner APME Innovator of the Year: Boston Herald Radio (video)

Student project: News from #Editors3d

"Those Good Old Days Worked Better for White Males"

In 2012, the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program at Stanford University announced that an unprecedented seven of the 13 fellowship recipients would be people of color. Five of the 12 chosen for 2015-16 would also be.

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Journal-isms asked James R. Bettinger, the director of the program who has announced that he is stepping down, to explain the benefits of the increased diversity.

He replied by email:

"The biggest virtue of diversity is that it gives journalists a better chance to accurately represent the entire community and to speak effectively to the entire community. At a time of dwindling audiences, that has to be important.

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"The quality of discussion is improved when there is a multiplicity of voices in the room. When some journalists pine for the good old days, remembering a robust and powerful journalism, others can remind everyone that those good old days worked better for white males, for example, than for other groups. It helps keep you from missing important stories, from making stupid mistakes. And it's not just the discussion, it's the ideas and creativity.

"Without citing any research in particular, I'd say that everything I see tells me that mainstream media does not reach people or communities of color, let alone immigrant communities, young communities, poor communities. Not reaching those communities is a failure of our journalism. Workforce diversity can help change that.

"I'm struggling a little because the Stephanie Foo piece of [Oct. 8] is so good on this topic. As I have said repeatedly, our program has an advantage that newsrooms don't, in that we start with a new group every year. We can change quickly without having to turn a profit, etc. But the parallel is that to the extent we've been successful in this effort, it's been because we decided it was a key value of ours, and that meant that we could never relax."

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Bettinger returned to the subject in a follow-up email referring to Foo's essay:

"Maybe the best part of it is the end:

" 'One short, final thing. Say you try everything in this manifesto, and your staff still isn't diverse enough and isn't drawing in the audience you want. You could wring your hands and wonder if what you want is even possible.

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" 'Or you could take a piece of advice from us people of color. A little bit of knowledge every single one of us knows all too well:

" 'Nothing is handed to you on a plate. Work harder.'

"I think that's what we learned."

Commenters Blast Ala. Editorials on License Office Closures

In an era when many Southern news organizations are more likely to follow readers than lead them, particularly on sensitive racial topics, the Alabama Media Group, which operates the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times, Press-Register in Mobile and Mississippi Press in Pascagoula, is taking an unpopular racial position.

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The issue is the closing of driver's license offices, which Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this month called "a blast from the Jim Crow past."

As Tierney Sneed reported Oct. 1 for Talking Points Memo, "Facing a budget crisis, Alabama has shuttered 31 driver's license offices, many of them in counties with a high proportion of black residents. Coming after the state recently put into effect a tougher voter ID law, the closures will cut off access — particularly for minorities — to one of the few types of IDs accepted. . . ."

On Friday, Gov. Robert Bentley (D) reacted somewhat to the criticism and said the license offices would reopen one day a month.

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Michelle Holmes, vice president, content, of the Alabama Media Group, said at the weekend's joint conference of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors that her organization opposed the shuttering but that more than half of those commenting on the group's al.com were in favor of the closings.

"We considered the closure of DMV offices in Alabama's black belt to be an important civil rights story," Holmes told Journal-isms by email. "As a general interest news site in one of the nation's most conservative states we knew ours would be a controversial stand.

"And it was.

"Some readers in our thousands of comments — across dozens of stories and commentary pieces — brought up topics worth pursuing in our reporting including the availability of free IDs. It's important for us to hear varied perspectives and ensure we are addressing legitimate questions even if we disagree with that point of view."

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Holmes' comment came in a discussion of online comments sections. She said she favors them; others did not. Mike Wilson, editor of the Dallas Morning News, paraphrased a quote from Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten, quipping, "The days of serving filet mignon with a side of maggots are coming to an end."

Editorial board, al.com: No matter its reasons, state should reverse course on voter ID moves (Oct. 12)

Ebony Cover "Boldly Confronts" Our Stake in "Cosby"

"You could almost hear the glass shatter when Ebony magazine's November 'Family Issue(s)' cover exploded across social media Thursday, shards of conflicting emotions piercing the soul of black America," Kirsten West Savali wrote Friday for The Root.

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"Front and center is the Huxtable family, minus Sandra, frozen as many of us remember them: happy, beautiful and black.

"The smiling face of patriarch Cliff Huxtable is distorted beneath broken glass and the weight of Bill Cosby's complicated legacy, the illusion he created so long ago not strong enough to sustain its fall.

"The provocative imagery evokes a potent reaction. It is the manifestation of the rage and pain of Cosby's (alleged) victims, both those accusing him of sexual assault and those viewers who allowed him into their homes and hearts over the years. It is grief. And it leaves more questions than answers. . . ."

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Savali also wrote, "Kierna Mayo, Ebony's editor-in-chief, does not dismiss, or mock, the emotional investment that so many people have in The Cosby Show, as so many others have done. Instead, she boldly confronts that investment, and without a word forces us to really see it and question its depreciating value.

" 'Here's what I'll say: this was not an easy decision,' Mayo wrote in a Facebook post as a wide range of reactions to the cover began swirling around social media. 'But I believe with everything that our collective healing (from this and all traumas) is tied to baring truths, confronting selves, and dismantling crutches. We aim to uplift. However, sometimes before you rise up, you break down.' . . ."

Luvvie Ajayi, awesomelyluvvie.com: About that EBONY Magazine Cover and the Cosby Conundrum

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Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, GW Hatchet, George Washington University: There's no need to void Bill Cosby's honorary degree

Damon Young, The Root: A List of People Not Responsible for Damaging the Legacy of Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show

Unity Draws 140 to Talk Civil Rights, "New South"

By Marquis Munson

Unity: Journalists for Diversity drew 140 people to its "Empowering the Southern Narrative" regional event Friday at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, exceeding the 80 it projected, according to Executive Director Eloiza Altoro.

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Russell Contreras, Unity president, said much of the increase came from spreading the word among community groups and students.

At a workshop on "The New South," Eva Walton, Alabama Faith Organizer for the Human Rights Campaign, said she grew up in the South with 13 Baptist ministers in her family.

"You can feel the old pulling back on the new, and you can feel the new pulling back on the old. And we're in this space in the middle of that right now," Walton said. "But it gives me great hope for the work that we're doing and for the ways young people are being empowered to tell new stories and to really shock some folks from the West Coast and Northeast who think we are one thing. But we don’t have to leave the South to do the work we want to do and to have the conversation we want to have."

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Moderator Roy S. Johnson spent most of his career in the Northeast before joining the Alabama Media Group last year as director of sports and, last July, being named director of content development.

"The thing that I say when people ask is the South different is that it's probably different than you think it is," Johnson said. "How much different still remains to be seen. I do believe that there has been some progress, but I think some areas haven’t made as much change as we’d like to think.”

At a town hall meeting on reporting during the civil rights movement, Johnita P. Due, assistant general counsel and former chief diversity adviser at CNN, talked about her mother, civil rights activist Patricia Due, who spent 49 days in jail rather than pay a $300 fine after being arrested during a student sit-in at Florida A&M University in 1960.

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"First Amendment law was tested time and time again during the civil rights movement," Due said. "States wanted to suppress the media from telling the stories and [giving] voices to civil rights activists. The news media would ultimately prevail," and it awakened America's conscience, she said.

Marquis Munson is a graduating senior at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and vice president of the Capstone Association of Black Journalists.

Russell Contreras, Unity: Journalists for Diversity: UNITY to explore regional media summits in Oklahoma, El Paso, Chicago (Oct. 19)

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This image was lost some time after publication.

Jesus Isn't Jorge, Latino Baseball Writer Protests

"We don't all look alike," Jose de Jesus Ortiz wrote Wednesday for the Houston Chronicle.

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"My pal Jesse Sanchez, a brilliant writer for MLB.com, has been fielding a lot of questions during the Division Series from folks who think he covers the Astros for the Houston Chronicle. And no, they're not confusing him with Evan Drellich.

"Although Sanchez is better-looking, I'm the taller of the two short Mexican-Americans covering the AL Division Series. I have him by at least three inches. . . ."

Ortiz also wrote, "In the same way Pedro Gomez of ESPN and Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune helped me early in my career, I took great pride in helping Sanchez when he broke in, then working with Sanchez, Vice sports editor Jorge Arangure and Jose M. Romero of Arizona to help other young Latinos become sports writers.

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"We now have young bright Latino baseball writers all over, including James Wagner of the Washington Post and Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. And, of course, there's the veteran Jorge Ortiz at USA Today. ESPN.com's Yankees Spanish language beat writer Marly Rivera stands out because she's beautiful and female. ESPN's Enrique Rojas, who is perhaps the leading expert in Dominican baseball, is Afro-Caribbean, and thus isn't confused with Sanchez, Arangure or me.

"Although I'm from Los Angeles and of Mexican descent, I often tell people Jorge Ortiz, who is Puerto Rican, is my cousin. That way it's a little less awkward each time a former Astros official tells me he read the great story I had in USA Today. . . ."

U.S. Reporter's Imprisonment Tied to Iranian Politics

"For most of the years that I was based in Iran as a correspondent for Time magazine, my working life approximated a clumsy script for a television spy drama," Azadeh Moaveni reported Friday for the New York Times. "I was regularly obliged to meet with intelligence agents who monitored my writing and hectored me to disclose the identities of sources. These interrogation sessions usually took place in empty apartments across Tehran, places where no one could have heard me scream, and always with stern warnings that nobody could know they were taking place. . . ."

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Moaveni was writing about Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been imprisoned in Tehran for more than 14 months and who, according to Iranian media, has been convicted after an espionage trial that ended in August. Post executive editor Martin Baron on Saturday urged editors to "keep Jason in mind" on their news and editorial pages. "If it weren't such a tragedy, it would be a farce," Baron said of Rezaian's case.

Moaveni also wrote, "Those who are detaining Jason have an ideological vision of Iran's future that requires continued isolation.

"They worry, correctly, that President Hassan Rouhani and his allies are working to open Iran up to the world. And that this opening will gradually erode support internally, among the government itself, for Iran's aggressive posture in the region and its severe restrictions at home.

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"They see how media coverage of Iran has shifted in recent months, how once routine images of black-chador-clad women and Shiite militias have given way to fashion spreads and profiles of tech start-ups. For them, this is a nightmare in the making, and they know that imprisoning Iranian-Americans is a quick way to stop it. . . ."

NAHJ Board to Discuss Status of V.P. Who Changed Jobs

The board of directors of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has scheduled a conference call meeting for Monday to discuss whether Ivette Davila-Richards, NAHJ vice president for broadcast, still qualifies as a member.

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Davila-Richards was elected while associate producer at CBS News in New York.

An NAHJ board meeting notice asks, "Based on the information gathered from Ivette Davila-Richards and her employer directly, does her new job title Broadcast Relations & Marketing Team Member in the Marketing Department fall under the current Bylaws classification of 'regular member'?

"Bylaws Description: Regular Members consist of persons whose principal means of support is earned in the gathering, editing, or presentation of news. Regular Members may not be employees of a government-supported news organization.

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"Persons with the following job title descriptions, among others, are eligible for admission as a Regular Member: Reporter, Editor, Broadcast News Director, Community or Public Affairs Director in broadcast or print news organizations, Publisher of print news media, General Manager of broadcast news media, Photographer, and News Cameraperson, News Graphic Artist, and Newspaper Designer. A Regular Member has the right to vote and the right to serve as a director or officer of the Association. . . "

The NAHJ board has urged the membership to approve a change in its bylaws to extend full voting privileges to non-media, academic, public relations and student members. However, voting on such a change has been postponed while the organization processes reincorporation paperwork.

Friends Watch as Ifill Receives National Press Club Award

Friends and admirers of Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor of the "PBS NewsHour," filled seats going for $225 a person and $2,000 a table on Thursday to watch Ifill accept the Fourth Estate Award, the National Press Club's most-honored prize.

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The ceremony at the Washington institution was described as inspiring. Ifill "is the 43rd recipient of the Fourth Estate Award, which recognizes a journalist who has made significant contributions to the field through a lifetime of excellence. The National Press Club Board of Governors voted to give Ifill the award," the club said in its announcement.

" 'Gwen Ifill embodies the core values of journalism at a time when the industry is undergoing tremendous change,'' said National Press Club President John Hughes, who is also an editor at Bloomberg News' First Word. 'Whether working in print or broadcast, she has been a voice of balance, fairness and depth throughout her career.' . . .''

"10 Big Stories the News Media Ignored"

"In 1976, when Carl Jensen, a professor at California's Sonoma State University, started looking into news-media self-censorship, nobody had ever dreamed of the Internet. Most computers [were] still big mainframes with whirling tape reels; Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had just figured out how to make a personal computer, but sales were in the low hundreds," Tim Redmond reported Wednesday for48hills.org.

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Redmond also wrote, "Jensen set out to frame a new definition of censorship. He put out an annual list of the ten biggest stories that the mainstream media had ignored, arguing that it was a failure of the corporate press to pursue and promote these stories that represented censorship – not by the government, but by the media itself.

"My definition starts with the other end, with the failure of information to reach people," Redmond wrote. "For the purposes of this project, censorship is defined as the suppression of information, whether purposeful or not, by any method – including bias, omission, underreporting, or self-censorship, which prevents the public from fully knowing what is happening in the world.

"Jensen died in April, 2015, but his project lives on. The people who inherited the mantle, Peter Phillips, a sociology professor at Sonoma State, and [project staffer Mickey] Huff, who teaches social science and history at Diablo Valley College, have veered at times into the world of conspiracies and 9/11 'truther' folks. A handful of past stories were, to be kind, difficult to verify. That's caused a lot of folks in the alternative press to question the validity of the annual list.

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"But Huff, who is now project director, and Roth, associate director, have expanded and tightened up the process of selecting stories; project staffers and volunteers first fact-check nomination that come in to make sure they are 'valid' news reports. Then a panel of 28 judges, mostly academics with a few journalists and media critics, finalize the top ten and the 15 runners-up.

"The results are published in a book that will be released Oct. 16 by Seven Stories Press. . . ."

The list:

"Half of global wealth owned by the 1 percent . . .

"Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater . . .

"89 percent of Pakistani drone victims not identifiable as militants . . .

"Popular resistance to corporate water grabbing . . .

"[Fukushima] nuclear disaster deepens . . .

"Methane and arctic warmings global impacts . . .

"Fear of government spying is chilling writers’ freedom of expression . . .

"Who dies at the hands of police — and how often . . .

"Millions in poverty get less media coverage than billionaires do . . .

"Costa Rica is setting the standard on renewable energy. . . ."

Short Takes

The National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade organization for the black press that recently declared financial problems, is advertising for a volunteer to work as meeting and events coordinator for its foundation at no pay. "The NNPA Foundation seeks a capable and willing volunteer to coordinate several upcoming meetings and events. Duties will include scheduling meetings, creating an e-calendar, identifying venue locations, logistics planning, note taking & dissemination for board members, and facilitating communication between board members and organizational staff within different time zones," the announcement says.

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"A three-year partnership has been formed with eThekwini Municipality to host the Essence Festival in Durban, South Africa in 2016 and 2017, announced Essence President Michelle Ebanks and eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo at Durban City Hall today," Essence magazine announced on Thursday. "Each year, the Essence Festival in New Orleans draws more than 450,000 attendees from across the globe to its multi-day entertainment, empowerment and cultural event, which generates an economic impact of more than $200 million to the local economy. The Essence Festival Durban will follow the format of the annual New Orleans event[,] presenting international performers and speakers to entertain and inspire, as well as a host of local artists and experts. . . ."

"Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg traded in his signature black hoodie for a white shirt and slacks when he walked inside California's oldest prison on Oct. 13," Juan Haines of the inmate-produced San Quentin News reported on Friday. He also wrote that San Quentin News Editor-in-Chief Arnulfo T. Garcia "talked about the new [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] program that allows younger offenders to avoid being sent to maximum-security prisons and stay at a lower-level institution like San Quentin. 'The youngsters we've encountered are very receptive to being at San Quentin,' Garcia said. 'San Quentin News is reaching out to the youngsters to get them into programs so that they would have a better chance of staying out of prison once they get out.' Referring to his visit, Zuckerberg said, 'It’s still sinking in,' adding, 'I was surprised by the focus on learning here. Also, I didn't expect to find a fully functioning newspaper.' "