Broadcast Journalist Gwen Ifill Sprinkled Black Girl Magic All Over the Democratic Debate

Gwen Ifill speaks during a taping of 'Meet the Press' at the NBC studios May 25, 2008, in Washington, D.C. Ifill discussed topics related to the presidential election in November 2008. 
Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press

Journal-isms will be on hiatus until further notice.

Gwen Ifill, co-moderator of Thursday's Democratic presidential candidates debate on PBS, said, “Let me turn this on its head, because when we talk about race in this country, we always talk about African-Americans, people of color. I want to talk about white people, OK?" Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., above, and rival Hillary Clinton responded. (video)

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Co-Moderator Asks Democrats About White People

"Gwen Ifill came to slay," Julia Craven wrote Friday for the Huffington Post.

"At Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee, Ifill, a veteran PBS journalist, flipped the typical narrative of race in the U.S. on Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a vital question about what it means to be white in America.

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" 'Let me turn this on its head, because when we talk about race in this country, we always talk about African-Americans, people of color,' Ifill began, in all her black girl glory. 'I want to talk about white people, OK?

" 'So many people will be surprised to find out that we are sitting in one of the most racially polarized metropolitan areas in the country,' Ifill continued, after reassuring the audience and the candidates that she really did want to talk about white people.

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" 'By the middle of this century, the nation is going to be majority non-white. Our public schools are already there. If working-class white Americans are about to be outnumbered, are already underemployed in many cases, and one study found they are dying sooner, don't they have a reason to be resentful?'

"Wow. Ifill, who made history with co-anchor Judy Woodruff as the first all-female team to host a major presidential debate, took an important step in advancing mainstream narratives on race and racism. As America becomes less white, many white people are becoming more conservative on race relations. This may explain some of Donald Trump's appeal to white middle-class voters.

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"Alas, the candidates' responses were typical, reeking of 'all lives matter' without deeply engaging the question. . . ."

As noted during the debate, the event represented the first time the majority of those on the debate stage were women. Ifill, Woodruff and Clinton were there, with Sanders the only man.

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In another development, Ta-Nehisi Coates, author and Atlantic magazine national correspondent, told readers that his statement Wednesday morning on "Democracy Now!" that he would vote for Sanders should not be read as an endorsement.

"It is important to say this not just as a writer, but as a black writer," Coates wrote later Wednesday. "Too often individuals are appointed to speak for black people. I don’t want any part of it. Black voters deserve to be addressed in all of their beautiful and wonderful complications, not through the lens of unelected 'thought-leaders.' I was asked a question. I tried to answer it honestly. And that's really all I have."

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Brian Stelter reported Friday for CNNMoney.com, "About 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the debate on PBS, according to Nielsen ratings data. Around 4.1 million viewers watched on CNN.

"The unusual two-channel combination clearly helped boost the overall audience for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders' face-off.

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"MSNBC's Democratic debate with the two candidates averaged 4.5 million viewers at the same time last week.

"Six months after the first debate of the 2016 primary calendar, it is clear that there is some measure of 'debate fatigue,' more so on the Democratic side than on the Republican side. . . ."

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Ifill's co-moderating would mark "the first time a woman of color will moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson did so in 1992," Ameé Latour noted Thursday for bustle.com.

"Since that 1992 debate, no person of color had served as moderator of a presidential debate up through October 2015. In January 2016, Lester Holt moderated a Democratic debate, marking a step in the right direction.

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"The lack of diversity among debate moderators was a subject of controversy in the 2012 election cycle. In 2012, the National Association of Black Journalists publicly decried the lack of Latino and black moderators, and the Spanish-speaking network Univision issued strong protests. . . ."

On Thursday, the presidents of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement asking news organizations "to diversify their reporting and analysis teams to reflect those states and the campaign to come."

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"African American and Hispanic voters will play a major role in deciding who our next president will be. It is important that media outlets have journalists of color directly involved in this election cycle to ensure balanced reporting," Sarah Glover, NABJ president, said in the release.

"Together, African Americans and Hispanics make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's QuickFacts 2014 data. Media outlets should be aggressive about ensuring their staffs are diverse and reflective of the communities they serve."

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Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ president, said, "It is important that news organizations are not only reflective of the communities they are covering, but have journalists that best [understand] those communities. Latinos and African Americans should not be reported on as an abstract block. News organizations should utilize their growing diverse staffs for accurate and fair coverage."

Acel Moore, Icon and Pioneer, Dies at 75

Acel Moore, an icon in the news business who won a Pulitzer Prize, was a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and was a longtime reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, died Friday night at his home in Cheltenham Township, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, his wife, Linda Wright Moore, told Journal-isms by telephone Saturday. He was 75.

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Moore had been paralyzed from the waist down since spinal surgery in March 2010.

"There were several different issues going on with him," his wife said. "None of us is strong enough to last forever, and he was a tough guy who basically really fought hard to get better and be as well off as he could be." However, last night he succumbed, she said.

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Moore worked for 43 years as a reporter, associate editor, and twice-weekly columnist for the Inquirer before retiring in 2005. He had been its first black reporter.

In 2012, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ran this brief bio:

Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Acel Moore "was born on October 5, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Settlement Music School from 1954 to 1958. Moore served in the United States Army until 1962 and attended the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism from 1964 to 1966.

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"Moore began his career with the Philadelphia Inquirer as a copy clerk in 1962. In 1964, he became an editorial clerk, and from 1968 to 1981, he worked as a staff writer. In 1970, Moore won the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Scale of Justice Award for his series on the juvenile court system. In 1974, Moore and Reggie Bryant hosted a television show called Black Perspectives on the News on WHYY public television.

"In 1977, Moore won the Pulitzer Prize for local investigative reporting for his series on abuse of inmates at Fairview State Hospital. From 1980 to 1989, Moore served on the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley for the school's summer program for minority journalists. He has also worked as a journalism instructor at Temple University and Florida A&M University in addition to being a journalism consultant to Northwestern University, Duquesne University, University of Kansas and Norfolk State University." He was also a Nieman fellow.

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In recent years, he worked with journalist veteran Dorothy Gilliam on Prime Movers Media, a program that Gilliam began in Washington, D.C., and expanded to Temple University in Philadelphia.

As "the first intensive journalism mentorship program of its kind," the Temple program "gives students after-school journalism experience and training in print, broadcast and online media," Bri Bosak wrote in 2012 for Temple University.

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That was far from Moore's first effort to help younger journalists, however. He also established the Art Peters Fellowship Program, a copy editing internship that launched the careers of copy editors of color.

In 2005, promoting the 25th anniversary of Moore's Career Development Workshop for high school students, Deirdre Childress, then editor of the Inquirer's Weekend magazine, noted that "Acel has raised money since 1984 to train area students in our field," adding that the classes usually averaged 20 to 30 students each year.

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Also in 2005, on his retirement from the Inquirer, Eugene Kane, then a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote colleagues, "We all know he's a Pulitzer prize winner, a founding member of NABJ, a
respected professional who has always kept journalistic ideals about
diversity and the African-American experience in the forefront.

"I know him as a big-time newspaper columnist who took time to mentor a North Philly kid fresh out of Temple University. He helped me get into the Robert Maynard Institute for Journalism Education's Summer Program for Minority Journalists, and continued being a source of advice and encouragement for the next 20 years."

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Among Moore's many mentees was Sarah Glover, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, a former photographer at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News and former president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists.

After her election in August, she told Journal-isms that she spoke with Moore by telephone before appearing at the victory news conference. Moore was called "boy" in the Inquirer newsroom when he started there as a copy clerk in 1962 — whites with the same job were called by their names — and rose to become an associate editor and columnist.

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When Moore attended NABJ conventions, Linda Wright Moore said, he could not walk far without being stopped. "People would come up to him and say, 'Mr. Moore,' 'Acel,' you really helped me.' It was sweet," she said.

Fellow NABJ co-founder Joe Davidson, a columnist for the Washington Post, told colleagues Saturday, "I have so many, many fond memories of Acel, someone who welcomed me to Philadelphia before NABJ was founded.

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"He was such a fine journalist, a trailblazer, a funny man, a proud black man who did so much for our craft and his community. We so need programs like the PBS Black Perspective on the News that he and Reggie Bryant, another NABJ founder, produced. I'm proud to have been his friend for so many decades, proud to be a NABJ cofounder with him. It's a sad day as we celebrate his life."

Despite Moore's long illness, his death apparently caught former colleagues unprepared. Philly.com, the website for the Inquirer and Daily News, filed a 252-word story attributed to "staff" at 1:11 p.m.

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In a later version, credited to Stephan Salisbury and Art Carey and filed at 1:08 a.m. Sunday, the story reported that, "funeral services, still in the planning stages, will be held Monday, Feb. 22, at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown."

Amanda Bennett,  Philadelphia Inquirer: Memo to staff on Acel Moore taking buyout (2005)

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Andrew Damstedt, American Journalism Review: Acel Moore's Storied Career (June/July 2011)

The HistoryMakers: Acel Moore

Acel Moore website

Greg Morrison, Francine Cheeks and Acel Moore, Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists: A vision for action — PABJ at 40 years (video) (2013)

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National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Mourns The Loss of Founder Acel Moore

Philly.com: Longtime Inquirer editor Acel Moore dies

Obama Live From Illinois on CNN, MSNBC but Not Fox

"President Obama took a sentimental but also substantive journey to Springfield, Illinois nine years to the day he announced there that he was running for president," James Warren wrote Thursday for the Poynter Institute. "He started with private meetings in the legislature with old buds, including poker-playing Democrats and Republicans of old.

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"He then addressed the legislature and conceded his failure in bridging political divisions. He noted, too, ideologically driven media divisions. 'And you've got a fractured media. Some folks watch Fox News; some folks read The Huffington Post. And very often, what's profitable is the most sensational conflict and the most incendiary sound bites.'

"CNN and MSNBC were airing his remarks live. Fox did not. MSNBC later broke away from the speech (which was at least 15 minutes too long) in which he mentioned the perils of calling one another 'idiots and fascists.'

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"Fox, instead, opted for reports from New Hampshire and even an interview with Monica Crowley, an acolyte of former President Richard Nixon who likened Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to Nixon but in utterly positive ways. That might have been a first.

"Fox thus missed a notable, even poignant return to the building where Abe Lincoln labored and where Obama began his legislative career. The Fox station in Chicago did not, with reporter Mike Flannery running a solid piece last night that tied it into political dysfunction in Illinois. . . ."

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Julian Alexander, Daily Kos: Did John Lewis Just Mislead the Public About Meeting the Clintons During the Civil Rights Era?

Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Where's Fox News’s Democratic Debate?

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The bigotry of paternalism.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Stop Bernie-Splaining to Black Voters

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Stop sending around this photo of 'Bernie Sanders' 

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Farai Chideya, fivethirtyeight.com: The Black Establishment Chooses Clinton: But that doesn't tell us much about what black voters will do.

Chris Cillizza, Washington Post: Winners and losers from the 6th Democratic presidential debate

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James Clingman, Washington Informer: Raising Money or Just Raising Cain?

Julia Craven, Huffington Post: Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders Can't End Systemic Racism, But They Care

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Charles Ferguson, Huffington Post: The Tragedy of Hillary Clinton (And Her Generation) 

Emil Guillermo, NBC News Asian America: For Asian-American Organizers, All Eyes on Nevada Ahead of Caucuses

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Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Struggling against Sanders, Clinton takes pains to woo minorities

Mark Joyella, TVNewser: The PBS Debate: 'Genteel, Civilized, Lacking Drama' 

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Clinton and Sanders Battle in Sixth Democratic Debate

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Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: My Head Says Hillary, My Heart Says Bernie

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Obama's look back is also a way forward

Tim Murphy, Mother Jones: Here's What Bernie Sanders Actually Did in the Civil Rights Movement

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Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: So many candidates, so many flaws

Alana Horowitz Satlin, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Hillary Clinton Relying On Minority Voters, But They're Not All Relying On Her

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Goldie Taylor, Daily Beast: Bernie Sanders's Big Problem With Black Democrats

Al Tompkins, Poynter Institute: Here's what journalists need to know about superdelegates

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Mark Trahant, indianz.com: Native voters are the true outsiders in any election

Julio Ricardo Varela, latinousa.org: At #DemDebate, Clinton and Sanders Show Clear Differences on Immigration and Central American Crisis

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Joan Walsh, the Nation: Bernie Sanders Has an Obama Problem

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Yes, the Democrats should do a debate on Fox News

Ex-Mexican President Laughs at Trump Plan for Border Wall

"For the first time, Donald Trump has disclosed that his proposed wall on the border with Mexico — which has become one of the centerpieces of his campaign — would cost about $8 billion," columnist Andrés Oppenheimer wrote Wednesday for the Miami Herald. "If so, it would be the biggest waste of money in recent history, even if it were paid for in Mexican pesos.

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" 'The wall is probably $8 billion, which is a tiny fraction of the money that we lose with Mexico,' Trump told MSNBC on Tuesday, after months of refusing to estimate how much his wall proposal would cost.

" 'It's a very simple calculation,' Trump said. He explained that the border is 2,000 miles long, 'and of the 2,000, we don't need 2,000, we need a thousand, because we have natural barriers.'

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"Asked how he would pay for the wall, Trump repeated his claim that he would get Mexico to pay for it. Pressed on how he would get Mexico to pay for it, he responded simply, 'You tell 'em, "You're gonna pay for it." '

"Needless to say, there was a collective explosion of laughter from the Mexican side of the border.

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"When I called former Mexican President Vicente Fox to ask about Trump's proposed wall, he responded, 'He's crazy!'

"He added that Trump would trigger a nationalistic counter-reaction in Mexico, isolate the United States from one of its biggest trading partners and hurt the U.S. economy. 'He's a false Messiah who says things that people like to hear, but that are irresponsible,' he said.

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"There are at least five reasons why Trump's border wall would be, to use one of Trump's favorite terms, stupid.

"First, there is no serious study showing that there is currently an avalanche of undocumented immigrants to this country. . . .

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"Second, about 40 percent of migrants who enter the U.S. illegally don't do it by crossing the Mexican border, but come in by plane and overstay their visas, U.S. officials say. . . .

"Third, the number of undocumented Mexicans moving to the United States is unlikely to increase in the future for demographic reasons. . . .

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"Fourth, a wall along part of the border would push potential migrants to cross through more remote — and dangerous — border areas, raise the fees of people smugglers, and ensure that large numbers of undocumented people stay in the United States. . . .

"Fifth, Trump's proposed wall, along with his statements depicting most Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, his vows to re-negotiate the NAFTA free trade deal with Mexico, and his calls for the deportation of 11 million undocumented people, would almost certainly trigger a nationalistic, anti-American reaction in Mexico, the rest of Latin America, and much of the world. . . ."

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Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: Why Latinos are cool on Cruz and Rubio

National Institute for Latino Policy: More on Cruz, Rubio and the Question of Latino Authenticity

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Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, Fox News Latino: Marco Rubio could shine again — everybody loves a 'comeback kid'

NYPD to Act After Story on Barring People From Own Homes

"The NYPD is going to be 'changing very quickly' a key part of its process initiating nuisance abatement actions after a Daily News and ProPublica investigation of the little-known tactic," Ginger Adams Otis and Sarah Ryley wrote Thursday for ProPublica and the Daily News in New York.

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"Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday that he’s taking a 'fresh look' at the part of the process that allows the NYPD to get an order from a judge locking residents out of their homes before they’ve had a chance to tell their side of the story in court.

"Judges approved the NYPD’s requests for such orders 75 percent of the time, according to the joint Daily News and ProPublica exposé that first ran online Friday.

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“ 'We have been very happy to work with all of our elected officials to take a look at other things that we might want to adjust,' Bratton said Wednesday, his first public response to the investigation since it was published.

“ 'One of those areas that we have adjusted very quickly in conversations … is the issue of ex parte elements of this program, which we will be changing very quickly.'

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"Ex parte is a Latin term for a decision made by a judge without all parties present.

"Zachary Carter, head of the city Law Department, said the agency will review the process to ensure such orders are 'only sought in cases of appropriate urgency.'

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"The Law Department, which is tasked with reviewing the court filings and settlements in nuisance abatement actions as the NYPD’s co-counsel, has not yet clarified what constitutes 'appropriate urgency.' But the Daily News/ProPublica found the NYPD’s requests for lockout orders were based on information that was, on average, six months old for residences, despite claiming illegal activity at the location was 'ongoing.' . . .”

Media Begin to Cover Police Killings of Native Americans

"On a cold winter's night, a few minutes after 6 p.m., police in Rapid City, South Dakota were called to a house in the Lakota Community Homes development where Allen Locke and his family were living," Jon Marcus wrote Thursday for Nieman Reports.

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"Locke, 30, was drunk, his wife said, and she wanted him out of the house until he sobered up.

"The responding officer, Anthony Meirose, found Locke on the kitchen floor. As Locke stood up, the officer noticed a steak knife in his hand. Meirose told investigators that he heard Locke say 'It's a good day to die,' and that he ordered Locke several times to drop the knife, according to a report from the South Dakota Division of Criminal investigation (DCI).

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"When he didn't, Meirose fired five shots at him. Locke was pronounced dead at the hospital. The South Dakota DCI determined that Locke had lunged at the officer, though his wife says she witnessed the incident and disputes this. No charges were filed against Meirose.

"The killing of Allen Locke on that cold night just before Christmas in 2014 got little attention outside Rapid City. Nor, in the year or so since, has there been much widespread coverage of the killings of Paul Castaway, shot in Denver in July by police who said he was threatening his mother, though she argues that deadly force was unnecessary in this incident; William J. Dick III, a 28-year-old suspected armed robber who died in Washington State after a U.S. Forest Service agent shocked him with a Taser; or Larry Kobuk, 33, who died after being restrained by officers booking him into the Anchorage Correctional Complex on charges that he stole a car and drove it with a suspended license.

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"All of these people were Native Americans.

"The day before his death, Locke, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe of Pine Ridge, and about 100 other people took part in a march in Rapid City calling for better treatment by police of Native Americans. 'Hands up. Don’t shoot,' the protesters chanted under gray skies and in chilly temperatures. There is, one speaker at the rally said, 'an undeclared race war here in South Dakota.'

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"Police kill Native Americans at almost the same rate as African-Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 1999 and 2013, an average of .29 per 100,000 Native Americans were killed by police, compared to .3 per 100,000 for blacks and .11 per 100,000 for whites.

" 'America should be aware of this,' argues Chase Iron Eyes, a lawyer and a leader of the Lakota People's Law Project, which runs a publicity campaign called Native Lives Matter. But for the most part, America is not aware of this.

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"That may be changing, albeit slowly, as both mainstream media and Native American-run digital outlets begin to cover American Indian issues more robustly. . . ."

Native Americans on Trayvon Case: "Welcome to My World" (July 22, 2013)

. . . Stories About Native Americans Rare, Stereotypical

"Stories that mention Native Americans remain comparatively rare, according to Christopher Josey, who conducted research on this topic as a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois," Jon Marcus wrote Thursday in his Nieman Reports piece.

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"His 2010 review of the top 20 Internet news sites by traffic, from The Daily Beast to The New York Times, found that Native Americans accounted for .6 percent of the people portrayed in news coverage on those sites, though Census figures show that the 5.2 million Native Americans make up 1.7 percent of the U.S. population.

"When they were mentioned in stories, Josey says, Native Americans were often portrayed in stereotypical situations — as the owners of and workers in casinos, for example. 'By neglecting them in coverage and showing them in stereotypical ways when they do,' he says, 'news media are communicating that Native Americans are not a vital part of the national conversation on race.' . . ."

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The story quotes Native journalists Mary Hudetz, Jason Begay, Mark Trahant and Tristan Ahtone, all of whom have all been active in the Native American Journalists Association. Scott Gillespie and Jill Burcum of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and Sari Horwitz of the Washington Post are quoted as non-Native journalists who have reported on Native issues.

CNN International Desk Staffers Must Reapply for Jobs

"More than two dozen staffers at CNN Atlanta will have to reapply for their jobs as the International Desk undergoes a restructuring," Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser.

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"The news, first reported by CNN Commentary, is part of a larger plan by CNNI svp and managing editor Deborah Rayner to assure coverage across the globe. So, while several positions will move to Hong Kong and London, Atlanta staffers will experience title changes, requiring them to apply for the new jobs. Insiders say this does not involve layoffs and the changes do not affect CNN or CNNI programming. . . ."

Lauren Cone, a CNN spokeswoman, told Journal-isms Thursday by email, "What Chris Ariens posted on TVNewser yesterday is accurate."

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Mizzou "Town Hall" Asks Reporters to Leave

"A 'Concerned Town Hall' meeting advertised to 'black students and students of color' at the University of Missouri on Wednesday turned out to be less-than-inclusive to white reporters attempting to cover the event," Jennifer Kabbany reported Friday for the College Fix, which describes itself as "a news and commentary site dedicated to higher education news."

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"The gathering was organized by Concerned Student 1950, which led protests on campus last fall accusing the institution of racism; it describes itself as seeking the 'liberation of all BLACK collegiate students' on Twitter.

"As the meeting began Wednesday night inside the A. P. Green Chapel at the public university, a student organizer announced: 'If there are any reporters in here, can you please exit? That was my nice warning.'

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"That according to a video of the event taken by Mark Schierbecker, a student at the school and freelance videographer who contributes to The College Fix.

"His video shows a white male reporter from the mainstream city newspaper, The Columbia Tribune, introduced himself and say 'we will definitely respect your privacy. Just curious, um — why are you guys afr — why are you guys asking us to leave? …'

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" 'Um, just because I asked you to,' came the reply. 'We just want to discuss some things.'

" 'Sure, OK, that's totally fine,' the reporter replied, handing over his business card before he exited the chapel. Two white females also left the room.

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"Schierbecker, however, politely declined to leave, repeating 'my personal preference is to stay.' . . ."

"The town hall ended promptly within minutes of starting when students decided to relocate the forum to a more private location."

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Although the headline and first paragraph of the College Fix story mentioned white reporters, Shierbecker messaged Journal-isms on Sunday, "I believe it was all journalists" who were asked to leave.

"There was one black man there taking photos of me with a DSLR, but he may have been with Concerned Student 1950. As you saw in the video though, they seemed to only want confirmed white allies there." Schierbecker wrote.

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Parents of Ex-Little Leaguers Sue ESPN, Name Smith

"Parents of former Little Leaguers from Jackie Robinson West filed a lawsuit Thursday against Little League International, ESPN and officials from the local league, alleging, among other things, that they profited off the disgraced team while knowing of its ineligible players," David Matthews and Mark Konkol reported Thursday for dnainfo.com.

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"The lawsuit by Jackie Robinson West's former coach Darold Butler and other team parents also names former league president Bill Haley, Evergreen Park whistleblower Chris Janes, the suburban Little League Janes represents and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.

"The complaint says Butler and other team officials were diligent submitting boundary maps and player addresses throughout the team's captivating 2014 run, which they allege Little League publicized for their gain without making parents aware the team fielded ineligible players who lived outside JRW boundaries.

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"Jackie Robinson West won the U.S. Little League title in 2014, but it was stripped last year after Little League International ruled JRW officials allowed ineligible players to make the roster. The complaint filed Thursday falls on the anniversary of JRW's title stripping. . . ."

Matthews and Konkol also wrote, "The lawsuit also alleges ESPN defamed Butler and others by saying they fabricated residency documents and deliberately assembled JRW's ineligible team. The lawsuit specifically names ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who said on national television that Butler 'threw' his players 'into the wind.'

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"An ESPN spokesman did not have an immediate comment. . . ."

Should Al Jazeera America Have Been an App Instead?

"In January, the deep-pocketed Al Jazeera Media Network announced the shutdown of its United States cable news channel, Al Jazeera America (AJA)," Joe Mohen, a digital media entrepreneur, wrote Friday for Broadcasting & Cable.

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"Industry pundits have found a range of reasons for the meltdown: internal disputes, discrimination, racism, bias, and even the decline of its price of oil. All of these explanations are wrong. AJA failed for one reason: It had a fatally flawed strategy. The network is textbook example of a business with an excellent product that still failed, entirely because it chose the wrong distribution channel.

"When AJA launched in 2013, it was already too late to launch a new cable channel. Cable is in permanent, irreversible, secular decline. Just as launching a successful new magazine is almost impossible nowadays, so too is launching a new cable brand. Had it been distributed as an app like Netflix, it would have likely succeeded and became the first big 24-hour OTT network backed by a linear TV company. But Al Jazeera hired the wrong advisers and consultants, dinosaurs who did not see fundamental shifts. . . ."

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Short Takes

"The family and friends of Michael J. Feeney came together in a big way in the week following his unexpected Jan. 31 death, raising enough money to create an endowed scholarship at Delaware State University in the esteemed alumnus' name," the university announced Wednesday. "During both the Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 funerals held in New York City and Englewood, N.J., respectively, the newly created $10,000 Michael J. Feeney Memorial Endowed Scholarship was announced to the large gatherings assembled. . . ."

Maya A. Jones, a senior researcher at ESPN The Magazine, is joining the Undefeated, a digital division of ESPN that will focus on sports, race and culture. Jones, a 2012 graduate of Xavier University, was hired as a staff writer.

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The National Association of Black Journalists has approved a Black College Task Force that "includes students, faculty, alumni and advocates of the more than 100 historically black colleges and universities nationwide," in the task force's description. "The group's mission centers around building camaraderie among HBCU stakeholders; providing a range of resources for student media outlets at black colleges; helping black colleges expand/diversify journalism curricula to compete on a national scale; and serving as a watchdog for mainstream media outlets' coverage of black colleges." Those interested may contact Daarel Burnette at Daarel.burnette (at) gmail.com; Michael R. Grant at mrg (at) hiimmike.com; or Clare Polke clare.polke (at) gmail.com.

"The American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are pleased to announce the 11th annual Sunshine Week initiative, March 13-19," the organizations announced Thursday. "Special projects and events are already planned around the nation to mark this year's open-government awareness, which will be even more meaningful as the federal Freedom of Information Act approaches its 50th year in July. . . ."

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Longtime NBA reporter David Aldridge and ESPN broadcaster Jay Bilas are the 2016 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients," the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Friday. "The two will be acknowledged for their contributions to basketball during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement events September 8-10 in Springfield, Massachusetts. . . ."

"Responding in kind over the weekend, reporters Jon Caramanica, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham quickly debated the merits of Beyoncé's 'Formation' in the pages of The New York Times," Richard Horgan wrote Thursday for FishbowlNY. "The superstar released the track Saturday and performed it a day later during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But the kicker came later, in the form of a thank you note to one of the trio. . . . staff writer Wortham now has the Bey equivalent of a Pulitzer. . . ."

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"Univision Digital announced the launch of 'Papás y Mamás,' a new bilingual parenting channel created in partnership with Ricky Martin's parenting site, Piccolo Universe," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for her Media Moves site. "Targeted to Latino parents, 'Papás y Mamás' features content in Spanish and English that includes columns by parenting bloggers, news and trends, videos and unique articles written by Ricky Martin and other celebrities. It is now the official parenting channel for Univision.com. . . ."

"It seems news management at KRIV, the Fox-owned Houston station, is getting an overhaul," Kevin Eck reported Thursday for TVSpy. "A KRIV spokesperson confirmed with TVSpy two positions were eliminated today: assistant news director Howard Dorsey and managing editor Geoff Roth. . . ."

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At Emerson College, "the journalism department is focusing on inclusivity by encouraging students to acquire diverse sources and pay attention to underrepresented communities, according to Paul Niwa, associate professor and chair," Allison Hagan reported Thursday for the Berkeley Beacon, Emerson's independent, student-run newspaper. "Niwa said professors are actively encouraging students to use diverse sources while reporting. He said the truth can only be uncovered through exploring marginalized viewpoints and allowing them to be heard. . . ."

Reporting on South Sudan, Reporters Without Borders said Thursday that it "calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Joseph Afandi, a journalist with the Juba-based daily newspaper Al-Tabeer, who has been held without charge for more than six weeks. The press freedom group said "An article he wrote in December criticized the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the government's passive response to the civil war that has been ravaging the country since December 2013 . . . ."

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