A Reporter's Career as Dead as Tupac, Biggie

WireImage/Getty Images
WireImage/Getty Images

Reporter's Career Is as Dead as Tupac and Biggie

"A remarkable essay has been published on the Village Voice website," Richard Horgan wrote Sunday for FishbowlLA. Under the headline 'Tupac Shakur, the Los Angeles Times, and Why I’m Still Unemployed: A Personal History by Chuck Philips,' the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist details for the first time his version of the events leading up to, and following, March 26, 2008.

"That's the day The Smoking Gun exposed as fake court documents referenced in a Calendar front-page story by Philips about a 1994 assault in Queens, NY on rapper Tupac Shakur. He says it was not his idea to web-publish and liberally source the FBI-302 documents, but rather that of his LAT editor and the paper’s lawyer. Philips also accuses the paper of failing to properly support one of their own by refusing to litigate against the target of his piece (and subsequent accuser) James 'Jimmy Henchman' Rosemond:

" 'Lawyers and editors rejected my recommendations, arguing it would be foolhardy to fight the case. The Times refused to defend the story in court. Instead, the paper crafted a retraction that sounded as if I had made up the entire story and sneaked it into print behind management's back, without the knowledge, consent or guidance of senior editors and lawyers directly involved in its publication. . . . ' "


The Voice reported that the L.A. Times replied in a statement, "We retracted Chuck Philips' March 17, 2008, article concerning an attack on rap star Tupac Shakur because we learned that documents and sources he relied on didn't support the article. Specifically, supposed FBI documents regarding the 1994 attack on Shakur turned out to be forgeries. The man who supplied the documents, James Sabatino, also provided significant additional information that was included in the article, attributed to an anonymous source. As Chuck and his editors later discovered, what Sabatino had told him was fabricated.

"Under these circumstances, we had no alternative but to acknowledge the mistake, apologize to our readers and retract the article. Nothing has happened since then to warrant withdrawing or revising the retraction. No new information has emerged that bears on the mistakes for which we apologized and which we retracted."

Joshua Lott, Getty Freelancer, at NATO Demonstrations

Joshua Lott, a freelance photographer with Getty Images, was arrested and another photographer struck over the head with a police baton late Sunday while covering anti-war protesters marching in opposition to the NATO summit in Chicago, according to the National Press Photographers Association.


Lott's cameras were broken — "I'm not exactly sure how that happened" — before he was released at 4 a.m. Monday, NPPA lawyer Mickey H. Osterreicher told Journal-isms. The original charge was reduced to reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, the lawyer said.

Lott is the only journalist known to have been arrested while covering NATO protests, Emily Miller reported for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. He was injured, Jodi Einhorn, public relations manager for Getty Images, told Journal-isms by email. However, she said she had no further information on the injury.


NPPA said in a statement, "Details are sparse, but photographs posted on Twitter and other Web sites show Getty Images freelance photographer Joshua Lott being arrested on Sunday night, while another photograph shows Getty's Scott Olson with blood streaming down his face after being hit with a Chicago police baton.

"Sixty heads of state gathered in Chicago for a two-day NATO meeting to discuss the war in Afghanistan and other global defense issues. Reports say more than 2,500 journalists are there to cover the thousands of protesters who converged on the NATO meeting. Chicago's police responded to the influx of protesters and reporters by deploying thousands of police clad in riot gear, not only Chicago officers but also police pulled in from departments outside of the city."


Osterreicher "joined forces with the Reporters

A lawyer was allowed to meet with Joshua Lott, who was released shortly before 4
This image was lost some time after publication.

Committee for Freedom of the Press to support a hotline for journalists arrested or assaulted while covering NATO protesters.

"NPPA's lawyer was allowed to meet with Lott in an attorney interview room to let the photojournalist know that NPPA was there and working on his release, and Osterreicher then waited outside a Chicago police station for Lott until he was released shortly before 4 a.m. Monday morning.


"Osterreicher said that for the most part, outside of Sunday night's late clash that included Lott, the Chicago police had been 'very restrained' in dealing with photographers. . . . "

Lott's blog profile says, "Joshua is a freelance photojournalist based in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born and raised in Chicago where his dog Lenny still resides."


Chicago Tribune staff: Protester to Chicago: 'Thank you very much'

Ryan Haggerty, Chicago Tribune: Loud cheers as NATO protesters released from police station


Joshua Lott photograph in Los Angeles Times: Anti-NATO protesters clash with Chicago police; arrests reported

Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War with Amy Goodman, "Democracy, Now!" Pacifica Radio: "No NATO, No War": U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit


micahuetricht, YouTube: Two NATO protesters bloodied after being hit by batons by Chicago police (video)

Tracey Pollock, AlterNet: VIDEO: Chicago Police Attack Press, Use Bikes As Weapons


Alysia Santo, Columbia Journalism Review: You have a right to remain recording

Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune: At NATO protest, it's clear Catholic nun is a powerhouse in the peace movement


WMAQ-TV, Storify account: NATO in Chicago

NABJ Says Convention Sponsorship Exceeds 2011

When the National Association of Black Journalists pulled out of the Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., coalition last year, some convention supporters said they would not be part of NABJ's stand-alone convention, scheduled for this coming June 20-24 in New Orleans.


NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr.'s own employer, the New York Times Co., was one of them. Lee works at the Boston Globe, a New York Times Co. property. The Globe will be at the convention, he said, but Desiree Dancy, the parent company's vice president, diversity and inclusion, told Journal-isms then, "We are supporting Unity. We're disappointed in the fact that NABJ pulled out of Unity and yet this is a time where the organizations are needed to come together more than ever."

Asked Monday how registrations and sponsorships are in place a month from the convention, Lee gave Journal-isms this statement  by email:

"I am happy to report that the 2012 NABJ Convention planning is going well. Because we are in the middle of processing registrations while closing out the pre-registration deadline which ends Friday, I am not releasing any registration counts at this time. However, I am pleased to say that our hotel room block is nearly sold out with almost 3400 room nights booked to date. Our Career Fair and Exhibit Hall is sold out completely and our sponsorship levels have already exceeded our 2011 numbers. We could not ask for more.


"Journalists and vendors are excited about the convention. If the hotel bookings and vendor participation [are] any indication, this year will be another exciting year. I can say with certainty that our volunteer convention and programming chairs, and their committees, along with our staff are working day and night to ensure that members are enthused about registering and attending this year's convention."

Onica Makwakwa, executive director of Unity Journalists, said by email on Tuesday, "With regards to the convention, at 70 days out, we are about 60% to our overall projected goals for revenue. We have a registration deadline in 37 days so it's a little premature to tell where our attendance numbers will fall. "


Unity Journalists, the new name for the reconfigured Unity coalition, did not respond Monday to a similar request for a report on the progress of its convention, scheduled for Aug. 1-4 in Las Vegas. On a floor plan for its exhibition space, red areas appear to show spots that have been sold, yellow those "reserved" and blue those unsold. (Move mouse over the areas to see specific sponsors).

The NABJ home page features a list of its sponsors.

Rush to Latino Programming Could Feed Isolation

"As recently as five years ago, I was gnashing my teeth because the television networks catering to Hispanics in the U.S. were offering only Spanish-language programs, further isolating a population that many Americans thought didn’t care about fitting in enough to bother learning the language," Esther J. Cepeda wrote for NBC Latino.


"Today I fear the pendulum is swinging too far to the other side. I worry that the proliferation of advertising, entertainment and news organizations hoping to engage predominantly English-speaking Hispanics will also isolate a continuously assimilating community from a mainstream that seems to view Latinos as newcomers who don’t quite want to blend into the crowd.

"The list of news and entertainment companies jumping into bilingual or English-only programming aimed at Latinos is long and ever-growing, the two most recent examples being Cosmopolitan magazine and Univision-ABC News. . . ."


Limbaugh Took Ratings Hits Over "Slut" Remark

"Rush Limbaugh took a significant ratings hit in some key radio markets last month in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy, Dylan Byers wrote Monday for Politico.


"The conservative radio host's ratings fell 27 percent in the key 25-54 demo in New York City, 31 percent in Houston-Galveston, 40 percent in Seattle-Tacoma, and 35 percent in Jacksonville, according to a selection of the March 29-April 25 Arbitron ratings provided by an industry source.

"Limbaugh's detractors attribute the losses to a rejection of the show following his controversial comments about the Georgetown law student.


" 'Clearly Sandra Fluke isn't the only one who didn't like Rush calling her a "slut" given how many viewers that comment incinerated,' one radio insider said.

"But defenders say that what looks like a decline actually represents a leveling out following increased attention from the controversy. In late March, Limbaugh boasted that his ratings had increased by as much as 60 percent in the month since he had called Fluke a 'slut' and a 'prostitute' on air."


Two weeks ago, David Hinckley of the Daily News in New York quoted Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey, as saying the spring's advertiser boycott of Limbaugh over the Fluke controversy cost Cumulus Media "a couple of million dollars." Cumulus owns just 38 of the more than 600 stations that carry Limbaugh, suggesting that the impact of the boycott was much greater.

Invoking Wright Could Make Mormonism an Issue

"CNN political analyst Roland Martin says the GOP will make Mormonism's treatment of African-Americans fair game for criticism if it [pursues] a new line of attack against President Obama's ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright," Dylan Byers reported Thursday for Politico.


"The new proposal, commissioned by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, aims to link Obama to Wright's controversial statements about race relations. But Martin said the proposal is one Romney, whose own religion has historically excluded African-Americans, would want to avoid.

" 'If Ricketts wants to do that, if the GOP they want to do that, you're now putting Mormonism on the table. You're now putting on the table how African Americans were treated by the Mormon religion,' Martin said. 'I don't think Mitt Romney really wants to have that conversation, considering he was an elder and his dad was an elder, and they really did not embrace African Americans. It is a ridiculous conversation.' "


As Beth Fouhy and Philip Elliott reported Thursday for the Associated Press, ". . . Romney pushed back against a proposal being weighed by a conservative super PAC, Ending Spending Action Fund, to run a $10 million ad campaign drawing attention to racially provocative sermons Wright delivered at a church Obama attended in Chicago. But with super PACS operating under significantly looser campaign finance restrictions than in past presidential contests, there was no guarantee Romney's words would be heeded by other groups eager to make Wright — and, by extension, race — a factor in the campaign.

" 'I want to make it very clear: I repudiate that effort,' Romney told reporters after a campaign stop in Florida. 'I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign. I hope that our campaigns can be respectively about the future and about issues and about vision for America.' "


Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Loose lips sink campaigns.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: 'Metrosexual Black Abe Lincoln'

Tim Giago, Indianz.com: Rocky history of Natives and the Mormon Church (April 23)


Allen Johnson blog, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Romney and Ricketts and racial politics

Alec MacGillis, the New Republic: The Book On Cory Booker

Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: The GOP's Sad Infatuation With Rev. Jeremiah Wright


Bill McKeever, Mormonism Research Ministry: Black Skin and the Seed of Cain

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: GOP ad strategist wrong about Wright

"SNL" Does Stephen A. Smith

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith received the "Saturday Night Live" treatment over the weekend in an impersonation by Jay Pharoah, who is in his second season on the NBC show. Pharoah is most known for his impressions of such celebrities as Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington and Kanye West. (Video)


Short Takes

"New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane will leave his position on Sept. 1 of this year, completing a two-year term as in-house watchdog for the paper," Erik Wemple wrote Monday for the Washington Post. When Brisbane took the job in 2010, Jeff Berkovici noted in Forbes magazine that all four of those who have held the position have been white men.


"Geraldo Rivera doubled down on his new controversial comments about Trayvon Martin during his Sunday show — only to get a fiery reprimand from the lawyer for Martin's family,Benjamin Crump, Jack Mirkinson reported Monday for the Huffington Post. "Rivera — who caused a firestorm in March for saying that Martin's hoodie was as much to blame for his death as George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed him — stirred outrage again on Friday, when he said to Bill O'Reilly that newly released surveillance tapes showed that Martin was dressed in 'thug wear' on the night of his death."

Adrienne Bankert will co-anchor the "CBS 11 News This Morning," weekdays from 4:30 to 7 a.m., beginning June 25, KTVT-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth announced on Monday. "Bankert joins CBS 11 from KCRA and sister station KQCA in Sacramento, where she has worked on the morning news team since 2004. For nearly six of those years, she has been a morning and noon news anchor and has hosted the monthly magazine program 'Common Ground.' "


"Last night was night four of the 'Jeopardy!' 'Power Players' week, which features journalists and Washington D.C. elites playing for charity," Alex Weprin wrote Friday for TVNewser. "The contestants were 'Daily Show' regular and comedian Lewis Black, NBC News White House correspondent and MSNBC 'Daily Rundown' anchor Chuck Todd, and columnist Clarence Page. . . . Todd had garnered just enough of a lead over Page so as he couldn't be caught, even with the wrong answer in Final Jeopardy!, and the result was $50,000 for his charity."

Syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. introduced his new novel, "Freeman," before friends, family and colleagues Saturday at the University of Maryland in College Park. Pitts said he was inspired and intrigued by the determination of newly freed ex-slaves to travel long distances to find loved ones from whom they had been separated for decades. "Almost everyone in this book is dealing with the question of who am I in this new reality," he said. "I don't know who you'd walk 1,000 miles for. That is extraordinarily powerful." Among those in attendance from the McClatchy Co., owner of the Herald, was Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president, news and Washington editor.


In New York, James Crockman, 52, "is the weekend overnight man at Breaking News Network, a service that culls news reports from fire and police radios and sends them as alerts to news media outlets and other subscribers," Corey Kilgannon wrote Friday for the New York Times. "A former warehouse worker, he commutes to BNN’s headquarters in Fort Lee from the Trenton area. From the office, it can be a five-minute drive over the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan, but Mr. Crockman has never made that drive. His New York is a virtual one, created by the crackling chatter of fire and police commanders and 911 operators giving a never-ending narrative of mishaps."

"Will Smith is in the middle of a press tour for 'Men in Black 3' and got more than he bargained for while in Moscow this week," the Huffington Post reported. "Smith was walking a press line when a reporter stopped him to give him a hug and attempted to kiss him. 'Hey man, what the hell is your problem?' Smith exclaimed, and pushed him away, before slapping the man in the face. 'He tried to kiss me on my mouth!' " (TMZ video)


". . . our new process with designers in Nashville, Tenn., and copy editors in Montgomery somehow left a window for an error that led to a page of comics intended for another newspaper — the [News Journal] in Pensacola — instead of our normal page," Wanda Lloyd, executive editor of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, told readers on Sunday. It was a week of weirdness at the newspaper, she wrote.

When Liberian journalist Mae Azango wrote an article about the taboo topic of female genital mutilation, she and her 9-year-old daughter became the targets of multiple threats. On public radio's "On the Media," host Brooke Gladstone spoke with Azango about the reporting that forced the Liberian government to finally take a public position on the practice. (audio)


Ethiopia's new Growth and Transformation Plan "proposes to boldly remake Ethiopia into a middle-income country by 2020 and leave behind a painful history of terror, poverty and two famines in the 1970s and '80s," Benno Muchler wrote Sunday for the New York Times. "The plan foresees change in the business sector, agriculture, infrastructure, health and education. It also proposes the development of mass media and changes in the practice of journalism. Some of those are already happening at the Ethiopian News Agency, the most important news agency in the country."

In Uganda, Reporters Without Borders Monday called for "the withdrawal of all charges against Daily Monitor correspondent Perez Rumanzi, who was released on bail on 17 May after spending a night in an overcrowded prison in the southwestern town of Ntungamo and being repeatedly beaten by fellow inmates."


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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