BET Scales Back on TJ Holmes' Show

T.J. Holmes (Getty Images)
T.J. Holmes (Getty Images)

Program to Air Weekly as Ratings Disappoint

BET announced Monday that it is scaling back its much-anticipated late-night, half-hour vehicle for T.J. Holmes, the former CNN anchor, from half an hour Monday through Thursday to an hour once a week.


The show launched Oct. 1. CEO Debra Lee said last month the show is "designed to be a mix of entertainment and news and commentary. We hoped it would have been a Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert-type show […]. To be honest, the ratings haven't been great in the past two weeks. Our audience always says they want this kind of programming, but they don't show up."

A Nielsen spokesman told Journal-isms by email on Monday, "Don't Sleep on BET in its normal 11 pm time slot [averages] 349,000 people [2 years old and older] tuning in to watch Live or that same day." Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, which also airs from 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. drew 1.6 million during the week of Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, though reruns aired on two of those nights were reruns because of Hurricane Sandy.


Lisa de Moraes reported Monday for the Washington Post, "Don't Sleep's" launch "averaged about 400,000 viewers on Oct. 1. And while the Oct. 9 episode approached 1 million viewers, it has never come close to that number since, and subsequent episodes have been known to slip as low as 203,000 viewers. Over its brief run to date, the show is attracting about 50 percent fewer viewers than BET had in the timeslot during the same period a year ago."

BET built the show around the affable Holmes, who left CNN last December dissatisfied with his weekend anchor role. He told Akoto Ofori-Atta of The Root that month, "My role will be as a journalist. They brought me on because of my news background and for my news chops. I think many people in the black community would like to turn the TV on when they get home or even in the morning to see news coverage about things that matter to them, coming from people who look like them and talk like them. We have a great opportunity to do that next year, and I hope to play a huge role."

In congratulating Holmes then, Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists, likewise mentioned news. He said in a December news release, "NABJ extends our sincere congratulations to T.J. on his move to BET and [applauds] the network for reemphasizing the importance of news as part of its programming."

However, Holmes' show was guided by Stephen G. Hill, president of music programming and specials at BET Networks, and not by BET's lower-priority news division, headed by David Scott. Writing about the show in the New York Times on Oct. 19, Jon Caramanica called "Don't Sleep!" "a mélange of information and straight talk, with only a few labored punch lines strewn about.  . . . The show's tone varies widely, from pedantic, especially when dealing with statistics, to rollicking during the conversations.


". . . it's building a set of social and political norms that could apply not just to this show, but also to a channel that's looking to speak with one voice."

A news release from BET Monday portrayed the change as a triumph for viewers. "The viewers have spoken and due to the overwhelming demand, DON'T SLEEP! will now be expanded to a one hour weekly format allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of the issues and events affecting the African-American community," it began.


Holmes echoed that sentiment in the release and in a statement on his own website:

"We've received so many [comments] and so much feedback about our show.  Without question, the #1 comment has been that 'Don’t Sleep' is too short!  [Viewers] felt we needed more time to not only discuss issues but find solutions. I suppose we've been doing something right if people have overwhelmingly and consistently been saying that the show should be extended from a half hour to an hour.  So, starting this week, 'Don't Sleep' will do just that.  We will now have an hour-long format to educate, empower, and engage.  This will allow us more time to delve deeper into topics and determine how we can all, in our own way, be agents of change.


"As part of being extended to an hour, the show will move to Wednesday nights at 11 p.m.  This will allow us to do on-location reporting from cities and communities across the country. . . ."

Hill remained optimistic that the show would find its audience. "  'We are very proud of the show, and the platform it has provided for the nations' brightest thought leaders," Hill was quoted as saying. "We love the passion of DON'T SLEEP!'s dedicated audience and hope that the weekly appointment viewing of the show will grow that audience."


Election Causes Sharp Rift in Conservative Media

"Rush Limbaugh couldn't have been more right," Dylan Byers wrote Sunday for Politico.


"Months before the election, the conservative radio host made a prediction: 'If Obama wins, the Republican Party is going to try to maneuver things so conservatives get blamed.'

"And that's exactly what's happening.

An "escalating civil war" is "playing out now between moderate and far-right-wing pundits," Byers wrote.


". . . But which path to take for the GOP toward broader appeal — doubling down on a core economic and family values conservative message that transcends identity politics or polishing the party's image by recruiting more women and minority candidates and adopting more moderate positions, particularly on immigration reform — has exposed a sharp rift in the conservative media."

Map Charts Where America's Racist Tweets Originate

"The day after Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States, the blog Jezebel published a slideshow. The gallery displayed a collection of screen-capped tweets," Megan Garber wrote Friday for the Atlantic.


She displayed three that used the "N-word" and continued, "There were, both shockingly and unsurprisingly, many more where that came from. And many of those tweets were geocoded: Embedded in them were data about where in the U.S. they were sent from.

"Floating Sheep, a group of geography academics, took advantage of that fact to turn hatred — and, just as often, stupidity — into information. The team searched Twitter for racism-revealing terms that appeared in the context of tweets that mentioned 'Obama,' 're-elected,' or 'won.' That search resulted in (a shockingly high and surprisingly low) 395 tweets. The team then sorted the tweets according to the state they were sent from, comparing the racist tweets to the total number of geocoded tweets coming from that state during the same time period (November 1 - 7). . . ."


"Their findings?

"Alabama and Mississippi have the highest LQ [location quotient] measures: They have scores of 8.1 and 7.4, respectively. And the states surrounding these two core states — Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee — also have very high LQ scores and form a fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast.


"What might be most surprising, though, is the distribution of tweets beyond that cluster. North Dakota and Utah both had relatively high LQ scores (3.5 each), as did Missouri (3). And Oregon and Minnesota, though they don't score as high when it comes to LQ, have a higher number of hate tweets than their overall Twitter usage would suggest."

Obama's Win Should Be Seen as "Profound Watershed"

"Aging white guys at some important newspapers have hit upon a bizarre interpretation of the election returns: nothing much changed," William Greider wrote Thursday for the Nation. "Peter Baker of The New York Times: 'When all the shouting is done, the American people have more or less ratified the status quo.' Say what? Baker seems like a smart enough reporter but this analysis is so stupid, he must be in post-partum shock.


". . . the 2012 election was a profound watershed in the life of the nation. Whatever else President Obama accomplishes or fails to accomplish in his second term, his re-election is in some ways even more significant than his initial triumph in 2008. He will be forever remembered as the president who opened America to a different future — more promising and fulfilling, more just and democratic than anything achieved in the American past.

"It may be easier to see this if you ask: Who lost? Forget [Mitt] Romney and the Republicans. The real loser was the bitter legacy of 'white supremacy.' That poisonous prejudice has endured in political reality and the national culture for two centuries. It still does, though it is now cultivated most zealously only by white Southerners who took over the party of Abraham Lincoln (who surely weeps for his Grand Old Party).


"In 2012, white supremacy not only lost the election. It was a crucial factor in explaining how Obama won. Good for Obama and really good for the American people. Whose 'status quo' are these pundits clinging to forlornly? Maybe their own. They have typically belittled the struggles by excluded minorities as 'identity politics.' Well, yes, these people intend to be identified as citizens, fully endowed with the rights any other American enjoy. This election confirmed their goal.

"The re-election of a black president is the most precious fact of 2012, perhaps even more significant than his original election in 2008. If Obama had lost, a wise history professor pointed out to me, it would have taken many years, probably many decades, before either major party would ever again dare to nominate a person of color for president. Black Americans understood this, probably better than most of us white folks. So did Latinos, Asians and a whole bunch of other 'minority' voters. African-Americans might have had quarrels or disappointments with Obama, but they understood their historic stakes in winning a second term for him."


Amy Alexander Community Forum: Skyfalling off the Fiscal Cliff? Let's Blame Mommy!

Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: Why the Republicans can't easily solve their demographic problem


Robert Barnes, Washington Post: What did Supreme Court hear about same-sex marriage on Election Day?

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Election Data Dive

Mike Burns, Media Matters for America: After Election Losses, Media Agree That Fox News Has Damaged The GOP


Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: The GOP is no party for blacks, Latinos and gays

David Carr, New York Times: For One Night At Fox, News Tops Agenda

Connie Cass and Nancy Benac, Associated Press: Face of US changing; elections to look different


Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: The downfall of the demagogues

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: Facebook friends part ways

John Dickerson, Why Romney Never Saw It Coming

Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Blend both conservative, liberal ideas for success


Derek Donovan, Kansas City Star: Readers bring their own interpretation to 'fair' in news coverage

Editorial, La Opinión, Los Angeles: Obama Owes Latinos a Debt

Keith Harriston, Washington Post: President Obama: An open letter from black America


David Horsey, Los Angeles Times: Right wingers careen into craziness to explain Obama's victory

Nick Jimenez, Caller-Times, Corpus Christi, Texas: The campaigning is done; let governing begin


Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Minorities' next move in politics

Jonathan Martin, Politico: The GOP's media cocoon

Stephanie Miller, Current TV: Gimme a G!

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Why is the GOP overwhelmingly white?

Aaron Morrison, Hardheaded GOP Might 'Willie Lynch' Black and Latino Voters


National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association: Getting the Marriage Story Right: the History, Current Law & the Future

Andy Newbold, Media Matters for America: Sunday Shows Ignore The Most Important Economic Issue: Jobs


Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Real facts catch up with spin docs

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: GOP has become its own worst enemy

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Election reveals the truth about voting in Detroit


Gyasi Ross, Indian Country Today Media Network: Well Done Indian Country: Amazing Job During the Election, but Now the Hard Work Begins

Janell Ross, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Mitt Romney Latino Loss Shows Republicans 'Have Been Their Own Worst Enemy'


Nate Silver, New York Times: Which Polls Fared Best (and Worst) in the 2012 Presidential Race

Donovan Slack, Politico: It's the ground game, stupid…

Brian Stelter, New York Times: The Anti-Fox Gains Ground

Jennifer Vanasco, Columbia Journalism Review: Historic votes, hidden from live coverage


Joan Walsh, America: Love it or be left behind: Obama can only do so much: Angry older whites have to decide if they want to secede from our multiracial future

Dr. Boyce Watkins, Kool-Aid Drinkers Unite — There Has Always Been a Black Agenda


Rod Watson, Buffalo News: GOP's insults won't easily be forgotten

Steve Williams, The Religious Right Tries to Downplay Tuesday's Giant Gay Victory


Jason Zengerle, New York magazine: Jr.: Who thwarted the ambitions of Jesse Jackson's son?

AP Introduces Spanish-Language Stylebook

"The Associated Press will launch a new Spanish-language Stylebook for universal use by publishers, broadcasters and readers from all Spanish-speaking countries, with an emphasis on Latin America and the United States," the news cooperative announced on Monday.


"A small number of AP clients are beta testing Manual de Estilo Online de la AP, a Web-based, searchable, customizable stylebook with a comprehensive list of thousands of the most common standardized Spanish terms, some translated from the well-established English AP Stylebook and the majority written especially for Spanish writers and editors.

"AP will begin selling Manual de Estilo Online de la AP to customers of its Spanish news services beginning Nov. 19, and will mark the launch that same evening with a panel discussion in New York about Spanish writing style. . . ."


The idea came about after journalists from the AP's Mexico City bureau realized they needed a Stylebook that addressed the complexities and evolution of the Spanish language, Mallary Jean Tenore reported for the Poynter Institute.

From the Editor: Free Coffee and a Redesigned Paper

The Philadelphia Daily News Monday launched what it called its most sweeping redesign in almost a decade.


To mark the occasion, the paper sent Editor Michael Days, columnists Ronnie Polaneczky, Jenice Armstrong and Frank Seravalli and photo contributor Reuben "Big Rube" Harley to breakfast spots around town, where they treated readers to a free cup of coffee and a Daily News.

Four Tips for Talking About Race

"When I first started writing about the myriad ways race, society and media intersect, my fondest hope was that I might get other people talking about these issues in ways that would change a few minds and open a few hearts," Eric Deggans wrote Monday in his Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times media blog.


"And a couple of weeks into the release of my first book, Race-Baiter, I can't believe how many people out there seem to want to have the same discussion, fueled by an earnest desire to grapple with issues which have roiled the public space for many years.

Deggans provided four tips for talking about race: "Remember no one owns these subjects," "Falling prey to prejudice doesn't make you a racist," "Talking about race and prejudice doesn't make you a racist" and "This work is never done."


Amanda Hess, Columbia Journalism Review: Color blind: When white men and three networks ruled the media, coverage of race was … better? Damn you, Internet!

FCC Gets Resistance on Further Media Consolidation

"The FCC is getting some pushback from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights after reports in Multichannel News that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is trying to vote on a media ownership order before the end of the year," John Eggerton reported Monday for Multichannel News.


"The FCC is reviewing its media ownership rules per a congressionally mandated quadrennial review and a remand from the Third Circuit Court of appeals. . . ."

The Seattle Times editorialized against further consolidation Sunday, saying, ". . . Consolidation limits the opportunity for women and minority ownership, and compromises local journalism, as it serves the interests of corporate America to the detriment of ordinary citizens."


President Obama's reelection means a Democrat will remain in the driver's seat at the FCC next year. "But just who that Democrat will be is an open question," Brooks Boliek reported Friday for Politico.

"Current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is coy about his plans, but most observers say he is ready to leave the agency in the coming months.


". . . The two other Democrats already on the commission — Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel — are seen as contenders to succeed Genachowski. Both have powerful political backers on Capitol Hill."

Johnson Publishing to Sell Archival Photos to Public

"Johnson Publishing Co. LLC, the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, is making part of its photo archive available for public purchase for the first time since it started chronicling the African-American experience seven decades ago," Lynne Marek reported Monday for Crain's Chicago Business.


"Johnson Publishing Chairman Linda Johnson Rice hand-picked 2,000 shots from the magazines' archive, which includes 1 million photos, the company said. As the daughter of the late John Johnson, who co-founded the Chicago media company and now as his successor, Ms. Rice has met many of the people included in the photos.

". . . The company started accepting orders online last week and will mail the photos, framed or unframed. Prices start at $35 per image and depend on the size, framing and treatment of the photo."


Story Reports on 3,000 Homeless Female Veterans

"More than 3,000 female veterans are living on the streets of the United States. They represent the fastest-growing segment of the nation's homeless population," Mimi Chakarov wrote for "Returning Home to Battle," a Veterans Day package by the Center for Investigative Reporting. " 'Her War' tells the story of some of those women and the battles they face when their tours of duty are over."


Another story, by Aaron Glantz, examines "systemic problems in how the agency handles compensation claims filed by Americans wounded physically or mentally in the line of duty."

Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Legal and Education Defense Fund: The High-Achiever's Exit: A Veterans Day observation about our former top vet, soldier, and spy, General Petraeus


Wanda Lloyd, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser: Vietnam: 50 Years Later: Finally, permission to be proud of serving

Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: Quilt stitches together a long military history


Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Air Force veteran is composing a life after war

U.S. Census Bureau: Veterans Day 2012: Nov. 11

Short Takes

"As more and more publications become online-only, we want to know which journalism schools you think have the best programs to prepare their students to meet the demands of this new digital reality," the Radio Television Digital News Association announced last week. In conjunction with NewsPro, the news industry supplement to Television Week, RTDNA asks readers to rank the top journalism schools, selecting five from a list of 38. Howard University School of Communications is the only historically black college on the list, although there is space for a write-in. Television Week designed the survey.


Syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. continues to argue for use of the term "illegal immigrant," doing so with a dig at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. NAHJ "— which I've been a member of for two decades, and which has rarely stuck its neck out to defend Hispanic journalists, let alone immigrants — has even gone so far as to suggest that the phrase causes hate crimes," Navarrette wrote in his latest column.

Cary Clack, the former San Antonio Express-News columnist who left the paper a year ago to become communications director and senior adviser for Democrat Joaquin Castro's congressional campaign, says he will continue to work with now Rep.-elect Castro. ". . . from the time I was offered the job the plan for me was to go to D.C with Joaquin," Clack told Journal-isms by email Tuesday. "But after the convention I realized that the best way I could serve him and our community is to stay home and be his District Director. He also liked that idea saying that people here know and trust me and that he'd feel better up in Washington knowing I'd be in San Antonio helping take care of things."


"Native American journalist Jodi Rave's Nov. 2 launch of an Internet fundraising campaign for a documentary film about the Bakken oil boom on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota topped more than a week of public actions addressing environmental and social impacts of the recent petroleum industry surge enabled by hydrological fracturing," Talli Nauman wrote Friday for Native Sun News.

"A local television news anchor was arrested on DUI charges on Sunday after she was involved in a wrong-way crash, according to Atlanta police," Fran Jeffries reported Monday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Amanda Davis, an anchor at WAGA in Atlanta, was driving northbound in the southbound lane of Piedmont Avenue around 12:20 a.m. when the crash [occurred], according to Atlanta police spokesman Gregory Lyon."


"After nearly 40 columns reviewing ESPN content across all platforms, we'll close with lessons learned over 18 months of observing the network's various media outlets, examining their successes and failures, and investigating how ESPN works (and sometimes doesn't)," Kelly McBride and Jason Fry wrote in a piece posted simultaneously on the Poynter Institute and ESPN sites.

"International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Yoani Sánchez and prominent opposition journalist and attorney Yaremis Flores were among at least 27 Cuban dissidents arrested last week during what observers have called a new 'wave of repression' on the Caribbean island," Scott Griffen wrote Monday for IPI. "Flores was among a group of independent lawyers detained by authorities last Wednesday."


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

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