US Army’s Toxic Smoke Billows Over Black Town

  • Every Day, Hazardous Waste Is Burned in Open Air
  • Jim Vance, Longtime D.C. Anchor, Dies at 75
  • O.J. ‘Not Looking to Be Involved With the Media’
  • Rights, Media Groups to Help Citizens Record Police
  • Writer Alarmed by A&E’s Live Version of ‘Cops’
  • Artist Shows That News Is a Matter of Perspective
  • Spicer Should Have Expected His Time to End Badly
  • Backlash Over Piece on White Women
  • Ex-Reporter Sues; Forced Out Over Use of N-Word
  • Only 15% in U.S. Aware of Famine Crisis Abroad
  • Short Takes 
‘Early one evening, I went out for a run,’ Australian photographer Ashley Gilbertson wrote for ProPublica from Colfax, La. ‘I took a route out by Lake Iatt, passing through acre after acre of logged land, trailer homes and lush green farms. It was an easy out and back, but as I rounded the last corner, I was alarmed by clouds of black smoke that were blowing my way. Explosions crackled in the distance. The sounds put me back in Iraq, where I’d spent a bunch of tours as a photographer, listening to gun battles being fought in nearby towns or neighborhoods.’ (Ashley Gilbertson/VII/special to ProPublica)

Every Day, Hazardous Waste Is Burned in Open Air

Two years ago, the U.S. military had an embarrassment on its hands: A stockpile of aging explosives blew up at a former Army ammunition plant in Minden, Louisiana, sending a cloud of debris 7,000 feet into the sky,” Abrahm Lustgarten reported from Colfax, La., Friday for ProPublica.


“Local residents, alarmed by toxic contaminants from the accident, were nothing short of furious when they learned what the military intended to do with the 18 million of pounds of old explosives still remaining at the depot. The Army was set to dispose of the explosives through what are known as ‘open burns,’ processes that would result in still more releases of pollutants.


“Facing an uproar, the Army turned to a familiar partner to help placate the residents of Minden: A private facility in Colfax, 95 miles south, operated by Clean Harbors, a longtime Defense Department contractor and one of the largest hazardous waste handlers in North America.

“The Colfax plant is the only commercial facility in the nation allowed to burn explosives and munitions waste with no environmental emissions controls, and it has been doing so for the military for decades. And so while the Army ultimately commissioned a special incinerator to dispose of most of the Minden explosives, more than 350,000 pounds of them were shipped here.


“Over the ensuing months, the munitions were burned on the grounds of the plant, fueling raging fires that spewed smoke into the air just hundreds of yards from a poor, largely black community. . . .”

The story is part of a series examining the Pentagon’s oversight of thousands of toxic sites on American soil, “and years of stewardship marked by defiance and delay.”


It continues, “The burns take place several times each day, and when they do, they turn parts of Colfax into a virtual war zone.

“ ‘It’s like a bomb, shaking this trailer,’ said Elouise Manatad, who lives in one of the dozen or so mobile homes speckling the hillside just a few hundred yards from the facility’s perimeter. The rat-tat-tat of bullets and fireworks crackles through the woods and blasts rattle windows 12 miles away. Thick, black smoke towers hundreds of feet into the air, dulling the bright slices of sky that show through the forest cover. Manatad’s nephew Frankie McCray — who served two tours at Camp Victory in Iraq — runs inside and locks the door, huddling in the dark behind windows covered in tinfoil.


“Like most of the people who live there, Manatad and McCray find it difficult to believe the booms and clouds aren’t also exacting some sort of toxic price.

“Colfax is a rough-hewn, mostly black town of 1,532 people that hugs a levee separating it from the surging mud and wild alligators of the Red River. Fleeing former slaves once camped under thatched tents in the bayou, and a historic marker serves as a reminder that more than 150 ‘negroes’ were once massacred here. Another monument, in the graveyard a few steps away, praises the three white men who also died, as ‘heroes … fighting for white supremacy.’ . . .”


Dolores Blalock, Piney Woods Journal via Louisiana Environmental Action Network: Clean Harbors burning raises community health complaint (June 8)

Ashley Gilbertson, ProPublica: In Colfax, Echoes of Another Conflict: A photographer who covered the war in Iraq appreciates how threats can come to seem routine.


KAQY-TV, Monroe, La.: Concern over open burn method (Dec 15, 2015)

Minden (La.) Press-Herald: La. Department of Health: No health hazards associated with Clean Harbors (April 6)


Jim Vance, Longtime D.C. Anchor, Dies at 75

Jim Vance (NBC)

Jim Vance, who might have been the longest-serving television anchor in the nation’s capital, died Saturday, WRC-TV, the NBC owned-and-operated station where he worked for more than 45 years, announced. He was 75 and had announced in May that he had cancer.

Jackie Bradford, president and general manager, said in a statement, “For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area. His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void.


“Vance always celebrated the good and acknowledged the parts of life that didn’t go so well. That made him a great man.

“To everyone in the Washington area who is heartbroken today, please know we grieve right along with you.


“Jim loved his job, his family and Washington with all his heart, and we will all cherish the legacy he has left us forever.”

Vance was named to the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007. NABJ noted then that his pairing with Sue Simmons between 1976 and 1980 resulted in one of the first African American anchor teams at a major market television station. NABJ also noted that Vance had won 15 Emmy Awards.


In June, Vance won another honor dear to him: His image was added to the outdoor mural at the popular Ben’s Chili Bowl soul food spot, which has become a favored tourist attraction. (video)

In a city of news junkies and scores of high-profile figures in politics and the media, the most-watched journalist in Washington may well have been Jim Vance,” Matt Schudel wrote Saturday in the Washington Post. . . . He presided over the area’s top-rated newscasts and became a public figure in his own right. He gained broad sympathy for his openness about his struggles with drugs and depression. . . .”


Vance was known as cool and down to earth. Music promoter Darryl Brooks, discussing Vance on the “House of Soul” rhythm ‘n’ blues show Saturday on Washington’s WPFW-FM, said, “he was like a brother’s brother.” Vance was an anonymous donor to the listener-supported “jazz and justice” station.

Vance was close friends with another icon among black journalists, the late CBS correspondent Ed Bradley. They were in the same class of 1964 at Cheyney University, and Vance was master of ceremonies at a memorial service there for the “60 MInutes” journalist in 2006.


Bill Alexander, a Washington journalist who worked with Vance at WRC-TV, has a remembrance in the Comments section of


(Credit: Reno Gazette-Journal)

O.J. ‘Not Looking to Be Involved With the Media’

I’m at a point in my life where all I want to do is spend time, as much time as I can with my children and my friends,” O.J. Simpson said Thursday at his successful parole board hearing, Chris Ariens reported for TVSpy. Simpson added, “I’m not looking to be involved with the media. I’ve had so many offers for interviews when I’ve been here and in Lovelock [Correctional Center] and turned them all down. I’m not interested in any of that.”


Steven Battaglio reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times, “TV ratings aren’t as big as they used to be, even for O.J. Simpson.

“Based on preliminary Nielsen data provided by various networks that carried the hearing, around 13.5 million TV viewers watched the Thursday hearing in which the former football star, actor and pitchman was granted parole after serving nine years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel room heist. The hearing was carried across four broadcast networks and several cable outlets, including ESPN.


“The estimated figure pales next to previous multinetwork broadcasts of culturally iconic Simpson moments. An estimated 150 million viewers watched Simpson’s 1995 acquittal after standing trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. In June 1994, 95 million people tuned in to see police in a low-speed pursuit of Simpson in his white Ford Bronco through the streets of Los Angeles and on the 405 Freeway.

“Those events rank among the most-watched TV moments in history, but occurred in an era when people had far fewer channel options and no Internet streaming. . . .”


Separately, Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, six miles east of Carson City, Nev., said he is prepared to offer Simpson a job as a greeter at the brothel, Sarah Litz reported Friday for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

J.A. Adande, the Undefeated: O.J. Simpson will return to a bleaker racial landscape


Chris Ariens, TVNewser: CNN’s Kyra Phillips Has a Scoop 20 Years in the Making

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The Juice is loose. (Again)

Media Matters for America: Jesse Watters explains to Juan Williams that Black America will “embrace” OJ Simpson after release


Lonnae O’Neal, the Undefeated: O.J. Simpson is going free. If only he would go away

William C. Rhoden, the Undefeated: Locker Room Talk: What kind of black man will O.J. Simpson be now?

Some candles were lit as darkness fell Monday at the sidewalk kmemorial to Justine Damond, the Australian woman slain by a Minneapolis policeman. (Jeff Wheeler /Star Tribune)

Rights, Media Groups to Help Citizens Record Police

Civil rights groups are planning to train a legion of volunteers on how to record police encounters in minority neighborhoods in hopes that fear of being videoed will deter misconduct like illegal shootings of unarmed men and women,” Jesse J. Holland reported Friday for the Associated Press.


“The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council and other groups officially announced the Santana Initiative on Thursday, which will train citizens on their rights to record police interactions with the public.

“The recording of the deaths of several black men at the hands of police, including Walter Scott, Philando Castile and Eric Garner, has made police relations with minority communities a national topic, said Kim Keenan, the MMTC president. Video becomes a tool to help prosecute wrongdoing, or even clear police officers when they are in the right, she said.


“ ‘So we have to have a way to record this, so the truth comes out,’ Keenan said.

“The program, which is being supported by groups like the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce and the National Congress of Black Women, is named after Feidin Santana, who in 2015 recorded the fatal police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina. . . .” Also participating are the Black College Communication Association and the International Black Broadcasters Association. The “NNPA has volunteered to receive video uploads and distribute them to local Black newspapers who can then break the stories,” Honig told Journal-isms.


Holland also wrote, “The MMTC has already posted on its website guidelines on how to legally film public police interactions, vetted pro bono by the legal firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. In addition, it plans to train volunteers to learn how to legally record people trying to intimidate minorities at voting places or trying to keep people from showing up to vote. . . .”

Editorial, Dallas Morning News: How the Texas GOP ‘packed and cracked’ districts to dilute minorities’ voting rights


Editorial, Kansas City Star: Kris Kobach begins work on Trump election panel in search of mythical voter fraud

Editorial, Star Tribune, Minneapolis: Turn up the scrutiny of Mpls. police practices in wake of Justine Damond’s death


John Eligon and Mitch Smith, New York Times: Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police Shooting

Shaun King, Daily News, New York: Police brutality jumped a racial fence with Minneapolis cop shooting of Justine Damond


Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: William ‘Willie’ Cooper’s murder sparks fear among activists

Jennifer Smith Richards, Annie Sweeney and Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune: The bill for treating a gunshot wound: $21,000 for the first 35 minutes


Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: What one columnist’s crystal ball says about the Justine Damond case

Adrian Walker, Boston Globe: In broad daylight, in cold blood

Officers enter a home in a pre-taped segment for “Live PD.” (Screenshot via YouTube)

Writer Alarmed by A&E’s Live Version of ‘Cops’

In January, Johann Johnson of Richland County, South Carolina, found out that her son had been shot dead,Ann-Derrick Gaillot reported Monday for “She didn’t hear the news through a phone call or after a knock at the door. But rather she watched live on national TV, learning of her son’s death at the same time over a million other Americans who tuned into A&E’s hit reality crime show Live PD did. It was perhaps one of the worst days of Johnson’s life. And it was being shown on TV as entertainment.


Live PD, a twice-weekly show, has been on the air since October 2016. Since then, Variety reports, its viewership has risen 92 percent to draw an average of 1.4 million viewers per episode. That runaway success has prompted the network to order 100 more 3-hour episodes scheduled to run through 2018.

“I hope you never see the program, but it’s still important to know what happens on what A&E calls the ‘top unscripted crime series on cable.’ Hosted by ABC News anchor Dan Abrams, Live PD follows select law enforcement departments from across the country — including Greenville and Richland counties, South Carolina; Calvert County, Maryland; Jeffersonville, Indiana; and Spokane County, Washington — as officers go about their jobs, responding to emergency calls, serving warrants, arresting suspects, and occasionally partaking in high-speed car chases, amongst other routine cop duties.


“The show is an obvious descendant of mega-hit series Cops on Spike, but with a twist. Everything that happens, happens live and unedited. On a typical episode, Abrams directs viewers between feeds from different parts of the country, cutting between them as they become more or less interesting. . . .”

Gaillot also wrote, “Claims of balance and transparency . . . are absurd. Dashboard cameras and body cameras themselves do not tell complete stories. Meanwhile, the basic format of the show lends itself to sympathize with the law enforcement officers it follows. . . .”

The New York Times’ coverage of Ryan Lochte’s Rio Olympics scandal, as reimagined by Alexandra Bell. The Times headline “Accused of Fabricating Robbery, Swimmers Fuel Tension in Brazil” is changed to “Rio Gas Station Footage Reveals White-American Swimmers Were Offenders*.” The dominant photo becomes one of Loche, above the new caption headline “Olympic Threat.” (We Are Not Pilgrims via Village Voice)

Artist Shows That News Is a Matter of Perspective

We met in May, close to midnight on a quiet industrial street in Bushwick, in front of an unremarkable steel building,” Alexandria Neason wrote Wednesday for the Village Voice, referring to the Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood.


“On the second floor was Alexandra Bell’s small, square studio, its walls plastered with blown-up reproductions of the front page of the most recognizable newspaper in America — specifically, the edition delivered to newsstands and doorsteps on August 25, 2014.

“In skinny strokes of red permanent marker, she’d circled words, crossed out sentences, and written notes and questions in the margins, a public humbling designed to present the paper of record as little more than a series of decisions made by human hands and brains — decisions Bell was now questioning with force. Earlier that evening, at Shoestring Press, a print shop in Crown Heights, we’d picked up copies of the finished versions of those same augmented articles. Michael Brown’s eyes seemed to follow us around the room, staring intently from beneath the jaws of a giant black printer. Bell rolled the finished product into cylinders and tucked them away.


“Bell’s public art series, called ‘Counternarratives,’ reworks or redacts text from real stories that ran in the New York Times, exposing the long, ongoing tradition of media reliance on stereotypes — itself a print term — in coverage involving people of color.

“By deploying marginalia, obscuring whole passages with fat black ink, and rewriting headlines, captions, and other text, Bell, who is 34 and a Chicago native, highlights the often overt bias that still survives the editing process. The series is a trenchant questioning of these sometimes baffling choices, made by workers in an industry that prides itself on its fairness. . . .”

In March, April Ryan, left, asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, right, what the administration does to revamp its image. He asked her, “please stop shaking your head.” (CNN)

Spicer Should Have Expected His Time to End Badly

Sean Spicer, who came to office a respected, if combative, Washington insider, resigned on Friday as White House press secretary, leaving office with a damaged reputation after completing an ignoble six months in the office,” Pete Vernon wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Spicer, as first reported by The New York Times, chose to resign rather than serve under new White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci.


“Coming to the job with years of experience in the Capitol and solid relationships with many members of the press, Spicer quickly demonstrated a willingness to serve as President Trump’s attack dog, castigating reporters over coverage of the inauguration and demonstrating a tenuous relationship with reality that would continue in later months.

“The demands of the job, along with criticism from both . . . the press and the president, along with a mocking Saturday Night Live imitation, seemed to wear on Spicer as spring progressed.


By May, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was taking more turns behind the Brady Briefing Room lectern, as rumors swirled over Spicer’s ouster.

“Perhaps in an effort to avoid that outcome, Spicer doubled down on criticism of reporters. Instead of working to bridge the divide between a often-incredulous press corps and an administration that referred to the media as ‘the enemy of the American people,’ Spicer chose to parrot his boss’s most strident and disingenuous criticisms, attacking the press for fake news and complaining about a biased agenda.


“He also dealt with problems of his own making, including a condescending confrontation with American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan and a comparison between Bashar al-Assad and [Adolf] Hitler that necessitated a rare apology. . . .”

Margaret Sullivan added in the Washington Post, “There’s something about Sean Spicer that inspires pity. He’s had so much to deal with: The brutal ‘Saturday Night Live’ skewerings. The fact that his boss, President Trump, wouldn’t let him meet Pope Francis during the Vatican visit. That ill-fitting suit he started out in. And so, so much more.


“But don’t give in to that emotion. To use current parlance, resist.

“Because Spicer should have known from the very start that this would end badly. There was never any other possibility for a press secretary who was in the most unacceptable position for a White House press secretary. A classic CNN chyron last month got it just right: ‘President’s Spokesman Says He Can’t Speak for the President.’ . . .”


Editorial, Washington Post: Watch your wallets: Sessions just turned on the asset forfeiture spigot

Paul Farhi, Washington Post: White House correspondents group decides to exclude some outlets, both left and right


Jake Tapper, CNNMoney: Sean Hannity will no longer receive Buckley Award after controversy

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: For Republicans, fear and loathing is a winning message


Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Don’t get distracted: The GOP’s cruel health-care plan isn’t dead yet

Matthew Yglesias, A new interview reveals Trump’s ignorance to be surprisingly wide-ranging


Backlash Over Piece on White Women

Greg Howard

The New York Times is facing blowback on social media after publishing an essay by an African-American reporter who accused white women of racism for not ceding space on city sidewalks to black men,” Joe Concha wrote Friday for the Hill.

“In a Wednesday essay titled ‘Was That Racist,’ reporter Greg Howard singled out white women for forcing him ‘off the sidewalk completely’ when walking toward him, not allowing a straight path.


“ ‘In seven years of living and walking here, I’ve found that most people walk courteously — but that white women, at least when I’m in their path, do not,’ Howard writes.

‘” ‘Sometimes they’re buried in their phones. Other times, they’re in pairs and groups, and in conversation. But often, they’re looking ahead, through me, if not quite at me,’ he continues. . . .”


Tucker Carlson and Jason Whitlock, Fox News: Sidewalks and white women: Left calls racism at every turn? (video)

Ex-Reporter Sues; Forced Out Over Use of N-Word

Valerie Hoff

Valerie Hoff, a former veteran 11Alive reporter, has sued the NBC affiliate for what she deemed ‘breach of contract’ after she was forced to resign in April over a joking use of the N-word in a private Twitter exchange with a source who is black,” Rodney Ho reported Friday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“In the lawsuit filed Thursday in the state court of Fulton County against WXIA-TV owner TEGNA, she wrote that she complied with her contractual agreement regarding her behavior. At first, the station gave her a two-week suspension without pay.


“But when news of her snafu hit, a broadcast news gossip website, the TV station changed its tune and asked her to leave the station, suggesting a resignation looked better than a termination, according to the lawsuit. . . .”

Ho also wrote of Hoff, “On April 13, 2017, she was seeking a video of a white police officer assaulting a black driver. She found the video on the Twitter feed of Curtis Rivers and sought his permission to use it. He noted on his public Twitter that ‘I just posted a video to get some justice now I got news n****s all up in my DMs [direct messages] telline me to call them smh [shaking my head].’


“She jokingly wrote back in a DM ‘Please call this news n*****. lol. I’m with 11alive.’ At first Rivers laughed it off with a ‘LMFAOO.’ But he soon realized Hoff was white and became offended that she was calling him the N-word, even in its shorter version that ends with an ‘a.’

“She apologized immediately, writing, ‘No I called myself one. I’m a news lady at 11alive I thought you were referring to all of us. So sorry if you didn’t understand…again, I’m sorry I offended you. I was not offended by what you called the media but I should not have used it back even in a pm [private message].’ . . . “


Only 15% in U.S. Aware of Famine Crisis Abroad

Less than a fifth of Americans are aware that extreme hunger threatens the lives of 20 million people in Africa and the Middle East, yet the overwhelming majority regard it as the most pressing global issue once they have been told, a poll of US voters has revealed,” Hannah Summers reported July 13 for the Guardian.


“Research by the International Rescue Committee showed that millennials, loosely defined as young adults born between 1981 and 1997, are the generation most concerned about solving the hunger crisis in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

“Yet overall public awareness of the situation is low, with only 15% of Americans apprised of the facts even though 73% said, once informed, that it was a major global concern. . . .”


Short Takes

Demands that Al Jazeera be shuttered have been dropped by the four Arab nations engaged in a deep diplomatic dispute with Qatar, the home base of the pan-Arabic news network,” Nick Vivarelli reported Wednesday for Variety. “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which broke off diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June, said Wednesday that they had revised the initial list of 13 demands they presented to Qatar in order to mend the rift. Among the dropped demands is the one concerning the closure of Al Jazeera, the most-watched news outlet in the Arab world, the Associated Press reported. . . .”


Latino leaders have had mixed reactions the former National Council of La Raza’s change of its name to UnidosUS, with most opposition coming from Latinos of Mexican descent, an informal survey of the leaders found,” Stephen A. Nuño reported Friday for NBC Latino. “According to the online survey by the National Institute of Latino Policy, or NILP, 55 percent of respondents of Mexican descent opposed the change, while participants of other backgrounds were more likely to support it: 56 percent of Puerto Rican respondents and 72 percent of other Latinos backed the change. . . .”

A reporter has filed a race discrimination suit against television station WMGT, alleging that she expressed interest in becoming a news anchor but was passed over because she is a black woman,” Amy Leigh Womack reported for the Telegraph in Macon, Ga. “Karlisha Booze filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court seeking back pay, to be hired as an anchor, compensation for mental and emotional suffering and other damages. . . .”


“A decade after the housing crash destroyed the American Dream for millions of homeowners, black homeownership rates have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, hobbling African-Americans’ efforts to build their wealth,” Gail MarksJarvis reported Friday for the Chicago Tribune. “Nationally, only 42.2 percent of blacks owned homes in 2016, compared with 71.9 percent of whites, according to a new report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. . . .”

Lee Bey

Lee Bey, whose “work experience includes serving as architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and as a deputy chief of staff to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley,” has been named first-ever vice president for planning, education and museum experience at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History, Hedy Weiss reported Wednesday for the Chicago Sun-Times. “As Director of Governmental Affairs in the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill, he worked as chief governmental expert and an in-house consultant on urban design issues. An adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bey also is an architectural photographer and curator. . . .”

“The Texas Observer, the progressive news magazine founded in the 1950s due partly to the notion ‘that most of mainstream media was, at best, ignorant of civil rights and, at worst, complicit in protecting racist institutions’ has decided to add a position: civil rights reporter,” James Warren wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute. “Forrest Wilder informs readers that the paper wants ‘to build on that legacy’ by dedicating a position to ‘covering police violence, mass incarceration, attacks on voting rights, discriminatory policies and other issues of racial and economic injustice.’ He thus disclosed that Michael Barajas, who’s been editor of the San Antonio Current, a reporter there and for Houston Press covering criminal justice, will assume the new slot. . . .”


First, I am Puerto Rican,” Hugo Marín González wrote Thursday for Latino Rebels. “Second, I am Afro Caribbean. And third, I am American. Yet once I arrived to the United States I became ‘Latin American’ or sometimes ‘Hispanic.’ . . . To be Latinx, just like Latino, Latina, or Hispanic, is to make invisible the African and the Taíno in me. It erases my ties with the Ixchil people and Lesser Antilles neighbors. It centers my cultural identity around European colonizers, perpetuating patriarchy and colonialism. . . .”

A four-day seminar on opinion writing, funded by the Association of Opinion Journalists, “will foster the diversity of voices necessary in the profession and train the next generation of opinion writers from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. The seminar will focus on fact-based opinion writing — and using social media to spark a conversation — across digital and other platforms,” the Poynter Institute has announced. The seminar is being offered at no charge to selected participants. The application deadline is Aug. 14.

Ray Suarez

Veteran broadcaster Ray Suarez has been named visiting John J. McCloy ‘16 professor of American Studies at Amherst College, an endowed position, a college spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. Suarez starts in September. “In a career spanning nearly four decades, Suarez has anchored a nightly newscast for PBS, hosted a daily show on NPR, penned op-eds, worked as a foreign correspondent, given speeches, written books and lectured at the college level,” his friend, columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., wrote in April. Suarez was one of the journalists at Al Jazeera America, which closed in April 2016.


Black Entertainment Television’s exit from D.C. is resulting in the layoffs of 55 employees,” Drew Hansen reported July 13 for Washington Business Journal. “The company issued a WARN notice in the District on July 7, the day BET had planned to officially make its move to Viacom Inc.’s central offices in New York City. . . .”

Allen Johnson, editorial page editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., counts himself among those who will miss columnist Barry Saunders, who has left the News & Observer in Raleigh. “I always appreciated the distinct voice and attitude of his columns (who else uses words like ‘homes’ — not the kind you live in — and ‘Sweet Thang’ in columns?) and his ability to use humor to make serious points,” Johnson wrote Thursday.


‘In Washington, “FOX 5 DC launched FOX 5 Plus this week,Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel reported Thursday for TV Spy. “Longtime anchors, Shawn Yancy and Tony Perkins, will be anchoring an 8pm show on the new network. . . . They plan to focus the show on personalities and hyper local story selection in order to set it apart in the market. . . .”

The International Press Institute Friday “expressed concern over the imposition of emergency powers in Zambia and recent comments made by the inspector-general of police that some publications could be closed while the 90-day state of emergency was in place,” the group said. It also said, “Speaking to journalists at Zambia police headquarters in Lusaka on Saturday, police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja suggested that some ‘publications’ could be shut down while the emergency powers were in place. ‘During this period, police will regulate and prohibit publication and dissemination of matters [that are] pre-judicial to public safety,’ he said. . . .


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