Even though some members of the National Association of Black Journalists are so upset by the not-guilty verdict delivered George Zimmerman that they urged NABJ to pull out of Florida for the convention scheduled in two weeks, such a pullout would cost the association more than $1 million, NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. told Journal-isms on Monday.
In an emailed message to members, Lee wrote, "NABJ's convention team anticipated a verdict would be reached before the convention. The team had already extended an invitation to the [Trayvon] Martin family to participate in a panel. The team also extended an invitation to journalists covering the trial as well as political commentators and community leaders. We also plan to extend an invitation to the Zimmerman family as well. We as black journalists have a role here; we must examine this story and the ramifications of the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death, as well as the ramifications of the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, from all sides. . . ."
The Zimmerman verdict has dominated black conversation since it was announced Saturday night. The Pew Research Center reported Monday, "The final days of the trial of George Zimmerman, which concluded July 13 with a verdict of not guilty, attracted relatively modest public interest overall. In a weekend survey, 26% say they were following news about the trial very closely. . . ."
It added, "However, the story has consistently attracted far more interest among blacks than whites — and that remained the case in the trial's final days. Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to say they tracked news about the Zimmerman trial very closely (56% vs. 20%).
"Moreover, fully 67% of blacks say they watched at least some live coverage of the Zimmerman trial, compared with 38% of whites. About one-in-five blacks (21%) say they watched 'almost all' of the trial coverage; just 5% of whites reported watching almost all of it. . . ."
Nevertheless, "Despite breaking late on a weekend evening, the verdict in the murder trial of George Zimmerman attracted an audience of more than 10 million viewers to cable news networks, a huge total for a Saturday night," Bill Carter reported for the New York Times.
"Preliminary ratings showed that for the hour from 10 to 11 p.m. when the verdict came in, Fox News and CNN both attracted well over 3 million viewers, while MSNBC trailed badly with only about 1.3 million. . . ."
While calls for a boycott of Florida were not widespread, entertainer Stevie Wonder pledged not to play in Florida until the "Stand Your Ground" law is abolished, Randee Dwan reported for NBC News.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele wrote Monday for the Root, "If it grows in Florida, was made in Florida or makes money in Florida, then it is eligible to be included in a list of products and businesses that some Trayvon Martin supporters will boycott as a way to protest the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman second-degree-murder trial." She asked readers to participate in a poll on the issue.
Some NABJ members using social media called on NABJ to cancel its convention, scheduled July 31-Aug. 4 in Orlando. A radio member acknowledged, "I know it's too late for #NABJ to cancel their Orlando convention, but I urge everyone going to spend as little as possible." A Chicago member retorted that black and brown workers would be hurt most.
Many cash-strapped NABJ members were already passing up the convention.
"We are still processing registrations but from early reports it looks like we will have a more intimate convention along the lines of San Diego or Indianapolis, two of our better conventions." Lee said in an email. "While the turnout may not be as great as when we are in a top tier city, we look forward to an amazing time in Orlando."
While NABJ attracted 2,586 registrants last year in New Orleans, the 2010 convention in San Diego had about 1,670 registrants, a spokeswoman said at the time. The Indianapolis convention in 2006 saw about 2,200 people register, but it "was not the income juggernaut that it needs to be for NABJ to have a successful year," treasurer John Yearwood said then. NABJ ended that year with a deficit.
A boycott, Lee told Journal-isms, would be impractical and costly and fail to take advantage of a "unique opportunity" for black journalists.
"If NABJ decided to pull out of the convention in Orlando, it would cost the association over $1 million when you consider the hotel would revert back to the original terms of the contract signed in December 2006," Lee wrote in an email.
"This would include the 4,399 room nights we reserved at least at the $220 rate plus at least half of the food and beverage guarantees NABJ signed in the agreement. It would be impractical for NABJ to move out of the state with the other commitments we have to stage an event with our sponsors and more importantly the expenses already incurred by the membership to attend the convention.
"I have heard from many members of their conflict because of what happened in the Zimmerman trial. Be we and other black professional organizations" that have conventions in Florida this summer "have the unique opportunity to have our voices heard on this issue. Our organization will engage our membership and the community into the many facets of this story. We would encourage our members to be engaged and take what they have learned during these discussions back to the newsrooms and make a difference there. We will engage with many national leaders to break down the entire case."
Lee's note to members said that on Thursday, Aug. 1, Roland S. Martin, honorary convention chair, will host NABJ's opening plenary session, "NABJ Live." "Among the topics Martin will tackle during this forum will be the Zimmerman trial, gun violence and the Voting Rights Act.
"Also during this session, we will interview prominent news executives about the coverage and images of what the trial presented. The convention team will customize already scheduled workshops to focus on several aspects of the Zimmerman trial, including the impact of social media."
Evan S. Benn and Audra D.S. Burch, Miami Herald: Social media, technology drove Zimmerman trial
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Sybrina Fulton, please do not look at this picture.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The Whole System Failed
Steve Bogira, Chicago Reader: George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, and reasonable doubt
Herb Boyd, Daily Beast: Not This Again: The Ghost of Past Injustices, From the Draft Riots to Trayvon
James Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Now can we talk about unity in our community?
Roger Chesley, Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.: Verdict further shows racial inequality in legal system
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Trayvon Martin and the Irony of American Justice
Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: Judging the media and Zimmerman
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: What chance did Trayvon Martin, the 'suspect,' have in court?
Herndon Davis blog: Dear Black and Brown folks please wake the F*ck Up!!
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Did George Zimmerman's prosecutors try to get him off?
Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Social media serves as positive outlet after trial for people in Trayvon Martin slaying
Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: Zimmerman verdict shows insanity of Florida gun laws
Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Why try George Zimmerman?
Editorial, Philadelphia Inquirer: Zimmerman's acquittal shouldn't lead to riches
Ryan Grim, Huffington Post: The 6 Decisions That Could Have Saved Trayvon Martin's Life
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: One Asian American perspective on Zimmerman, Trayvon
Andrew Kirell, Mediaite: Geraldo: 'You Dress Like A Thug, People Are Going To Treat You Like A Thug… I Stand By That'
Dori Maynard, Maynard Institute for Journalism Education: My first Tout on the value of the wall to wall #zimmerman trial cover
Michael Meyers, Daily News, New York: Seeing racists everywhere
Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: Whoopi Goldberg Grills George Zimmerman Lawyers On 'The View' (VIDEO)
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Zimmerman trial forced us all to confront our biases
David Muhammad, New America Media: How Do I Explain Martin Verdict to My Kids?
David Person, USA Today: Black parents fret over what to tell sons
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Zimmerman verdict leaves key question unanswered
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: What do we have to do so George Zimmerman and others get it? Not all black boys are dangerous
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Black boys denied the right to be young
Paul Scicchitano, Newsmax: Armstrong Williams: 'Act Like Americans' if Zimmerman Acquitted (July 12)
Matthew Simmermon-Gomes blog: An open letter to whites about the black community and the Trayvon Martin case
David Simon blog: Trayvon
Michael Shaw, HuffPost Media: Reading the Pictures: Multiracial Zimmerman Protest Photos Sign of Change or Wishful Thinking?
Margaret Sullivan, New York Times: Making Sense of a Sensational Case
Cynthia Tucker, the Grio: 'Reasonable doubt' for Zimmerman, but rarely for black defendants
Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Zimmerman lawyer to move 'asap' against NBC News
DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: How did Zimmerman become victim?
Don Wycliff blog: A singularly bad idea
The National Transportation Safety Board intern "who confirmed the fake, racist names of the Asiana Flight 214 pilots to a Bay Area television station has been fired," Katherine Fung reported Monday for the Huffington Post.
"BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski reported the news on Twitter on Monday. KTVU came under fire on Friday when it falsely reported the names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 as 'Sum Ting Wong,' 'Ho Lee Fuk,' 'Wi Tu Lo' and 'Bang Ding Ow.' The station apologized, and said that it had confirmed the names with someone at the NTSB.
"That person was a summer intern, the NTSB later revealed in a statement on Saturday apologizing for the mistake."
The NTSB said it was not the source of the fake, racially insensitive names, Keith Laing reported Monday for the Hill.
" 'The intern was not the originator of the names,' NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told The Hill in an email. 'He was asked by a legitimate news outlet to confirm the names they provided to him. Doing so was in violation of our long standing policy and was also outside the scope of his authority. You'd have to ask the station where [they] received the names.' "
Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute wrote Monday, "Today, KTVU News Director Lee Rosenthal (who I've known for several years) told me the station cannot say more about the incident because Asiana Airlines says it plans to sue the station for harming its reputation. . . ."
He praised the station for its response. "KTVU has never hidden from its mistake. It corrected the story quickly, on the same newscast where the mistake was made," Tompkins wrote.
Still, the episode was an embarrassment. Former KTVU reporter Lloyd LaCuesta, who spent 35 years at the Bay Area Fox station, wrote "with sadness" a letter to KTVU Vice President and General Manager Tom Raponi. "I was crowing to people here about how I worked at that station," wrote LaCuesta, the first elected national president of the Asian American Journalists Association and former president of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., AsAm News reported.
"Now, I am trying to defend the station over the airing of prank pilots' names.
"I hope that you will make every effort to tell the public the complete story about how this happened."
Paul Cheung and Bobby Caina Calvan, Poynter Institute: Having more diverse newsrooms won't always prevent errors like KTVU's, but it would help
"The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey found lots of staff turnover, but when the dust settled, the total TV staffing was virtually unchanged from a year ago — down just 48 to a total local TV news staff of 27,605, Bob Papper of Hofstra University wrote Monday for the Radio Television Digital News Association. "The average staff size per newsroom actually grew to break last year's record, but, once again, fewer newsrooms resulted in that slight overall shrinkage. It's still the third highest total staff ever (barely behind both 2000 and last year).
Papper also said, "The number of stations originating local news peaked in 2005 at 778. It's been steadily down since then. Some of those were marginal operations to begin with, but quite a few TV newsrooms have been subsumed in some sort of consolidation or shared services agreement. We're now losing TV newsrooms at the fairly steady rate of eight per year. Until this year, the number of stations getting news from one of those originating stations has been growing. This is the first year that list has gotten smaller. . . . "
"While helping others is a complicated, uncertain enterprise, there are times when a modest donation can be transformative," columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote Sunday in the New York Times.
Kristof reported on progress that resulted after more than $500,000 in contributions from Times readers that made possible construction of a hospital in a "remote nook of Niger in West Africa" that can treat a humiliating and devastating childbirth injury.
"They straggle in by foot, donkey cart or bus: humiliated women and girls with their heads downcast, feeling ashamed and cursed, trailing stink and urine," Kristof wrote from Danja, Niger.
"Some were married off at 12 or 13 years old and became pregnant before their malnourished bodies were ready. All suffered a devastating childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula that has left them incontinent, leaking urine and sometimes feces through their vaginas. Most have been sent away by their husbands, and many have endured years of mockery and ostracism as well as painful sores on their legs from the steady trickle of urine.
"They come to this remote nook of Niger in West Africa because they've heard that a new hospital may be able to cure them and end their humiliation. And they are right — thanks, in part, to you as Times readers."
In a column last year when the hospital opened, Kristof wrote, "More than two million women and girls have fistulas worldwide. They are the lepers of the 21st century, among the most voiceless and shunned people on earth. Fistulas were once also common in America (a fistula hospital was once located in Manhattan where the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is now), but today they normally afflict only people in poor countries of Africa and Asia. . . ."
The columnist added Sunday, "Fistulas may be a grim topic, but this center you readers have helped to build is a warm and inspiring place. Women who have suffered for years find hope here, and they proudly display skills they are learning, such as knitting or sewing, that they can use to earn a living afterward. As they await surgery, their dormitories echo with giggles and girl talk. They are courageous and indomitable, and now full of hope as well. . . "
In the 1980s and again in 2001, Crystal Nix, a 1985 graduate of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, was a reporter for the New York Times.
When she left journalism, Crystal Nix Hines became friends with then-students Barack and Michelle Obama, remained part of their circle, and this month became the president's nominee as permanent U.S. representative to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
There are more permutations to her story. "Nix Hines, who began her career as a New York Times reporter, has raised more than $1 million for Obama's two presidential campaigns," Tina Daunt reported last week for the Hollywood Reporter. "She has been a writer and producer on a number of television shows, including Alias, The Practice and Commander in Chief.
"This will not be her first experience with diplomacy, as from 1993-1997, she served in the State Department as counselor to the assistant secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; a member of the department’s Policy Planning Staff, and special assistant to the department's legal adviser.
"Earlier in her career, Nix Hines clerked for revered Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights icon, who as an attorney successfully argued the landmark Brown v. [Board of] Education [of Topeka, Kan.] school desegregation case to the U.S. Supreme Court."
Nix Hines met Barack Obama at Harvard Law School and went to Princeton with the future first lady, becoming the first African American editor of the Daily Princetonian. "Mrs. Obama . . . was thrilled that a historic barrier had fallen," the Times' Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor wrote during the 2008 campaign.
"That did not stop her, however, from confronting Ms. Hines, a friend, over an article that contained what Mrs. Obama took to be inappropriate characterizations of a black politician. . . ."
"Sandra Lilley has been promoted to Managing Editor of NBCLatino effective today. She'll continue to be based in New York and report to Chris Peña," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site.
"In her new role, Sandra will be responsible for the day-to-day editorial direction of NBCLatino.com.
"Sandra, a member of the original NBCLatino team, has been the site's Political Editor since 2011. She previously worked 8 years as Planning Editor and Producer for the NBC Network News Desk. Before that, she was Dayside Managing Editor for MSNBC. . . ."
The English-language NBCLatino.com went live last year, targeting U.S.-born and English-dominant Hispanics.
"When Al Jazeera last December purchased Current TV in order to launch its own "Al Jazeera America" (AJAM) network, it seemed clear they had two general options for how the new network's brand could be built. AJAM could embrace the traditional attributes that has made Al Jazeera, at its best, an intrepid and fearless global news organization: willing to cover stories, air dissident views, and challenge power in ways that many other outlets, especially in the US, are afraid to do," Glenn Greenwald wrote Sunday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.
He went on, "Because AJAM has not launched yet, debates over which course the new network has chosen have been mostly speculative. But one prominent Al Jazeera journalist, Marwan Bishara, the network's senior political analyst and host of 'Empire', is insistent that the network has chosen the latter course of appeasement, fear and self-neutering.
"Earlier this week, Bishara sent a scathing 1,800-word email to multiple Al Jazeera executives, directed particularly at those overseeing the new network. The missive, a copy of which was provided to the Guardian and whose receipt was confirmed by AJAM executives . . . excoriates network officials for running away from the Jazeera brand due both to 'the rush to act out of a personal ambition' and 'to appease those who won't, or don't necessarily want to be, appeased'. Such a re-branding effort, he wrote, "insult[s] the intelligence of the American people".
"Bishara was especially incensed at the efforts he said the executives have undertaken to avoid having the news network be labeled 'anti-American' . . . "
"A weekly magazine that is a leading source of Native American news is abandoning print in favor of an online-only presence, in a cost-cutting move that worries some readers who fear they may lose access because of the switch," Kristi Eaton reported Sunday from Sioux Falls, S.D., for the Associated Press.
"This Week From Indian Country Today, a New York City-based publication owned by the Oneida Nation, will become an online newsletter starting with its July 17 issue.
" 'In the age we live in, technology is really advanced to a point that we're trying to make sure we're serving what our audience really needs,' said Indian Country Today publisher Ray Halbritter. Converting to an online newsletter that is emailed to subscribers will eliminate some of the lag time between when news happens and when it appears in writing, he said.
"The magazine, which was started in 1981, provides a mixture of straight news stories and commentary by tribal members, and it is often a way for politicians to get their messages out to Native American communities. President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have all done interviews or written opinion pieces."
The story continued, "Rhonda LeValdo, the president of the Native American [Journalists] Association, said Indian Country Today's switch to digital-only could be seen as a positive step for Native communities because it may free up resources for more reporting and accelerate the push for greater access to broadband. And, she added, traditional tribal newspapers may see people who prefer print turning to them for their news. . . "
Annie Lowrey, New York Times: Pain on the Reservation
- "New York magazine hired the fashion critic Robin Givhan, formerly of The Washington Post and the Daily Beast/Newsweek, to review the New York and Paris collections for its fashion blog, The Cut," Erik Maza reported Monday for Women's Wear Daily. "Givhan is notable for winning a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2006. A veteran of the Washington Post, Givhan was one of the more high-profile contributors Tina Brown recruited in 2010 for her reinvention of Newsweek. She was also among the most established, alongside Post alumnus Blake Gopnik, to be let go in the spate of layoffs that hit the newsweekly last December. . . ."
- Among the winners of the 2013 AAN Awards, bestowed by the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, was Steve Bogira of the Chicago Reader for "Race Reporting (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6)" in the "beat reporting, circulation 50,000 and over" category. "I'm a senior writer for the Chicago Reader, and I write mostly about race and poverty," Bogira states in his bio.
- "After 20 years at KSDK, education reporter Sharon Stevens is leaving the St. Louis NBC affiliate," Merrill Knox reported Monday for TVSpy. "Stevens has served as a mentor to many in the industry, including WCAU news director Anzio Williams, who called her 'an inspiration to so many.' In honor of her last day, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay designated July 10, 2013 'Sharon Stevens Day.' " KSDK tribute.
- In Philadelphia, "Thomas Drayton said goodbye to Fox 29 last Friday after five years with the station," Molly Eichel reported Monday for the Philadelphia Daily News. "The former nighttime anchor (and Sexy Single, of course) replaced Dave Huddleston at the desk in 2008. . . ."
- "Being a morning show anchor is a life filled with contradictions," Alex Weprin reported Monday for TVNewser. On Sunday, Al Roker of NBC's "Today" show "gave the opening general session at the School Nutrition Association's general conference. . . . Then this morning rolls around, and 'Today' was set to take the first delivery of Twinkies since Hostess reopened. They decided to have Roker be the face of the delivery, and ride down to Rockefeller Plaza in the Twinkie Truck, throwing Twinkies to all the boys and girls watching the show."
- "KCPT, Kansas City's public television station, said Friday that it would use an anonymous donation to create the KCPT Center for Journalism, 'an interactive digital news center for multimedia and multi-platform projects,' ” the Kansas City Star reported Friday.
- In his editorials, Louis Austin, who edited and published the weekly Carolina Times from 1927 to 1971, did not mince words, according to members of the History Advisory Committee of the Museum of Durham History, writing in the Durham (N.C.) News. "In 1938, after a filibuster by southern U.S. senators, including North Carolina’s Josiah Bailey and Robert Reynolds, had succeeded in killing an anti-lynching bill, Austin sarcastically observed that North Carolina's 'liberty loving senators' had helped win for the white man 'the right to lynch.' " The editorial was printed next to a photograph of a naked African American hung from a tree by a lynch mob. Austin wrote, "Thank God the right to lynch is a white man's right. He alone enjoys the lust of human blood. He alone enjoys carrying in his pockets human toes, fingers, etc., of a dead Negro, as a reminder that he is the supreme ruler of this nation.' . . ."
- "The African Union's special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws," Tom Rhodes wrote Friday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult — often relics of former, colonial administrations — to silence their critics in the press. . . ."
- "The Jamaican Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bill that would make the island nation the first in the Caribbean to abolish all forms of criminal defamation," Scott Griffen wrote Monday for the International Press Institute.
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- Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.