A Chicago police officer guards the perimeter of a crime scene where six people were found slain inside a home on the city's Southwest Side on Feb. 4, 2016.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

"Chicago ends 2016 with more than 700 murders and over 4,000 people shot — the worst bloodshed the city has seen in 18 years," CBS News reported Thursday in promoting a report scheduled for Sunday's "60 Minutes."

"Data obtained by 60 Minutes shows that while gun violence spiked, police activity dropped in all 22 of Chicago’s police districts.

A woman sits on the curb as Chicago police investigate an August scene where gunfire at a birthday party left a man dead and a woman injured. (Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times)

"The data, requested through the Freedom of Information Act, shows a decline in the type of police work officers say is critical to curbing crime: stops and arrests. In August of 2015, Chicago cops stopped and questioned 49,257 people. But, a year later, stops dropped 80 percent and arrests fell by a third.

“ 'We know there’s almost never one simple explanation for any set of data points,' said 60 Minutes producer Andrew Bast. 'So we were very cautious to not draw grand conclusions, but at the same time we wanted to find out what relationship this data had to the spike in violence.'


"To understand the numbers, Bast, producer Guy Campanile, and correspondent Bill Whitaker, visited Chicago and found a beleaguered city and police department.

"The discord had been ignited by the 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old who was fatally shot 16 times by a white police officer. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, is awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Dash-cam video of the shooting was released 13 months after McDonald’s death by court order. Public unrest and speculation of a cover-up followed. . . ."

CBS also wrote, "In a climate of increased scrutiny, a dozen beat cops and recently retired officers told 60 Minutes, off-camera, they’d stepped back and the data reflects that. In the above video, Chicago’s former top cop, Garry McCarthy, called the situation a 'crisis.' . . . ”


Whitaker’s report, “Crisis in Chicago,” airs on Sunday at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET after NFL late-game coverage on CBS, and 7 p.m. PT.

Chicago Tribune: More stories from Tribune series 'Chicago Violence: A City Wounded'

Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune: Few answers as Chicago hit with worst violence in nearly 20 years


Kimbriell Kelly, Wesley Lowery, Steven Rich, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins, Washington Post: Fatal shootings by police remain relatively unchanged after two years

Nick Wing, Huffington Post: 2016 Was A Violent Year For Police, But There’s Still No ‘War On Cops’

New York Times reporter James Risen speaks with students at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 2014. He won the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. (Credit: David Leaming/Morning Sentinel, Waterville, Maine)


Reporter: Many Ignore Obama’s Hostility to Press

"If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama," James Risen, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, wrote Friday for the Times SundayReview.

"Mr. Trump made his animus toward the news media clear during the presidential campaign, often expressing his disgust with coverage through Twitter or in diatribes at rallies. So if his campaign is any guide, Mr. Trump seems likely to enthusiastically embrace the aggressive crackdown on journalists and whistle-blowers that is an important yet little understood component of Mr. Obama’s presidential legacy.


"Criticism of Mr. Obama’s stance on press freedom, government transparency and secrecy is hotly disputed by the White House, but many journalism groups say the record is clear. Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.

"Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.

"I experienced this pressure firsthand when the administration tried to compel me to testify to reveal my confidential sources in a criminal leak investigation. The Justice Department finally relented — even though it had already won a seven-year court battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court to force me to testify — most likely because they feared the negative publicity that would come from sending a New York Times reporter to jail.


"In an interview last May, President Obama pushed back on the criticism that his administration had been engaged in a war on the press. . . . But critics say the crackdown has had a much greater chilling effect on press freedom than Mr. Obama acknowledges. . . ."

Risen's comments are similar to those made in a 2013 report for the Committee to Protect Journalists, authored by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post.

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Nine ‘amazing’ moments from the Obama presidency


Tyler Cherry, Media Matters for America: Media Are Watching The Trump Transition From The Sidelines

Joe Concha, the Hill: CNN’S Don Lemon: Trump needs media more than we need him

William A. Darity Jr., the Atlantic: How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans (Dec. 22)


Derek T. Dingle, Black Enterprise: The Obama Presidency: Sitting in the Front Row of the White House

Alexandra Ellerbeck, Committee to Protect Journalists: Transition to Trump: What Obama's Freedom of Information legacy means for press

Daniel Foster, the Atlantic: Obama's Faith in White America Was Not Misplaced

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Journalism’s hard year draws to a close (Dec. 2)


Jay Rosen, pressthink.org: Winter is coming: prospects for the American press under Trump

Jim Rutenberg, New York Times: Lessons From 2016 for the News Media, as the Ground Shifts

Darlene Superville, Associated Press: As first lady, Michelle Obama charted her own course


Kelsey Sutton, Politico: Washington Post reporter met with security consultant after death threat

Facebook Pays Outsiders for Data About Its Users

"Facebook has long let users see all sorts of things the site knows about them, like whether they enjoy soccer, have recently moved, or like Melania Trump," Julia Angwin, Terry Parris Jr. and Surya Mattu reported Tuesday for ProPublica.


"But the tech giant gives users little indication that it buys far more sensitive data about them, including their income, the types of restaurants they frequent and even how many credit cards are in their wallets.

"Since September, ProPublica has been encouraging Facebook users to share the categories of interest that the site has assigned to them. Users showed us everything from 'Pretending to Text in Awkward Situations' to 'Breastfeeding in Public.' In total, we collected more than 52,000 unique attributes that Facebook has used to classify users.

"Facebook’s site says it gets information about its users 'from a few different sources.'


"What the page doesn’t say is that those sources include detailed dossiers obtained from commercial data brokers about users’ offline lives. Nor does Facebook show users any of the often remarkably detailed information it gets from those brokers.

“ 'They are not being honest,' said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. 'Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer, and an individual should have access to that bundle as well.'

"When asked this week about the lack of disclosure, Facebook responded that it doesn’t tell users about the third-party data because it’s widely available and was not collected by Facebook. . . ."


Native Journalist Dissents From ‘Free Peltier’

Supporters of Leonard Peltier have held vigils outside the White House.

"Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist who has been in prison for 40 years, serving two consecutive life terms," Carrie Johnson reported Thursday for NPR. "In 1977, Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota."


Seth Galinsky, writing from Washington Monday in the Militant, a socialist newsweekly, reported, "Hundreds took part in a week of actions here Dec. 4-10 to press President Barack Obama to free Native American political activist Leonard Peltier, who has been held in prison for 40 years.

"Highlights of the week included daily vigils outside the White House; screening of the film 'Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier'; a national press conference; a public meeting on indigenous rights and environmental issues, including the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in North Dakota; and a conference on 'U.S. Prisons: Conditions of Confinement.' . . ."

The radio and television show "Democracy Now!" devoted a segment Dec. 21 to Peltier's case, which "has been championed by Amnesty International, Hollywood celebrities and human rights activists who believe he's innocent and got scapegoated by the government," as Johnson reported for NPR.


Paul DeMain

Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country and a past president of the Native American Journalists Association, is not among Peltier's defenders. A member of the Oneida Nation who with Richard LaCourse (Yakama) and Minnie Two Shoes (Assiniboine Sioux) reviewed Peltier's case extensively from 1994 to 2001, DeMain messaged Journal-isms Friday, "Many AIM supporters and others have glossed over all the testimony that came about about LP in regards to the murder case of Annie Mae [Aquash] that brought 3 convictions from 2004-2010."

Peltier "has continued through his claims of being an innocent man, endangered other people who involved that day, and witnesses who knew the truth. No, can't support a man who bragged to a bunch of women about his deeds, then denies them to the world — and he endangered all of them — one who was executed in part because of ego. Don't see any remorse, don't see any admissions of culpability, don't see much reason to support someone who is still in denial about what he did, or was part of. . . ."


The work of DeMain and his team is here and here.

Mattie Colin Dies, Covered Return of Till’s Body

Mattie Smith Colin (provided by Anne Fredd via Chicago Tribune)


"Mattie Smith Colin, a reporter for the Chicago Defender, was dispatched to a Chicago train station in 1955 to cover the return of Emmett Till's body," Joan Giangrasse Kates wrote Friday for the Chicago Tribune.

"A deeply moving experience, covering what would become a flash point in the civil rights movement, Colin eloquently captured the anguish of Till's mother as her young, black son, slain in Mississippi after reportedly whistling at a white woman, was returned to her.

"This is a portion of Colin's story in the Defender:

" 'Oh, God, Oh God, my only boy," Mrs. Mamie (Till) Bradley wailed as five men lifted a soiled paper-wrapped bundle from a brown, wooden mid-Victorian box at the Illinois Central Station in Chicago Friday and put it into a waiting hearse.


" 'The bundle was the bruised and bullet-ridden body of little 14-year-old Emmett L. Till of Chicago, who had been lynched down in Money, Mississippi,' Colin wrote.

"Colin also was at Till's funeral, where his mother insisted on an open casket to expose the horror of what had happened to her son. Images of his mutilated body were printed in the Chicago Defender and made international news.

" 'Mattie was a gifted and highly intelligent writer whose heart was open to the truth,' said Col. Eugene F. Scott, the publisher of the Chicago Defender during the 1990s. 'She had empathy and character, and could tell the kinds of stories that nobody else could.'


"Colin, 98, who also worked for the Chicago Park District and the Department of Streets and Sanitation before retiring at age 93, died Dec. 6 . . . in Chicago after a recent stroke. . . ."

For Muslim on Campaign Trail, Chilling Talk

Sabrina Siddiqui


"I recall the day when Ben Carson stated in an interview he did not believe a Muslim should be president of the United States," Sabrina Siddiqui wrote Wednesday for the Guardian, under the headline, "Reporting while Muslim: how I covered the US presidential election."

"I went about my task of gathering reaction from the other 16 Republican presidential contenders almost robotically, until the tears dropped on my keyboard as I typed.

"That same week, I kept myself composed when offering political analysis of the moment on MSNBC. But I nearly lost it again later when my cousin’s daughter, raised as my niece, bounded over to me at a family party.


"She was seven years old at the time and typically watched my television appearances to see what I was wearing or to admire the glossy makeup and hair.

"But this time she had a question.

"She asked: Is it true someone said we can’t be president?

"I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. . . ."

Teen Airs Emotional Work on Attempted Suicide

Madison Legg


"Viewers of Rocky Mountain PBS will get an intimate look at the issue of youth suicide Thursday with the debut of a partnership between the station and a Colorado organization for young filmmakers," Sara Wise reported Dec. 15 for current.org.

"RMPBS’s news show Insight will feature an excerpt of the film Under the Wire, created by Madison Legg, a 17-year-old from Colorado Springs. In her film, Madison talks with her brother, Jacob, about his attempt at suicide in 2014.

"Insight is a new 30-minute investigative news program in the vein of Frontline or ABC’s Nightline. Rocky Mountain PBS President and General Manager Laura Frank said she knew Under the Wire was a perfect fit for the 'Surviving Suicide' episode of Insight as soon as she saw it.


“ 'It captures one of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever seen on film,' she said, referring to a scene in which Madison and her brother talk through the day he attempted suicide. 'So, we said, "Let’s build our next Insight show around this film" . . .' " The show can be viewed online.

Short Takes

Dorothy Gilliam, who in 1961 became the first African American female reporter at the Washington Post, turned 80 on Nov. 24 and celebrated Monday at a party given by daughters Melissa, left, Leah and Stephanie. The event, attended by about 60 people, took place at the Hay-Adams hotel overlooking the White House. Gilliam was a Post editor and columnist, co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and president of the National Association of Black Journalists. (Credit: Mary Layton)


Thomas Sowell, a rightward-leaning African American columnist who has written 28 books, announced his retirement on Monday. "Even the best things come to an end," Sowell wrote. "After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long. . . ."

"A woman involved in a heated debate with Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson over Ivanka Trump said Tuesday she's received thousands of angry responses, including being threatened with rape on Christmas Day," David Bauder reported for the Associated Press. "The reaction to Lauren Duca, a writer for Teen Vogue magazine, is the latest example of how ugliness in political discourse didn't end with the election. Duca has been sharing several of the responses to her television appearance on social media. . . ."

Corey Johnson, an investigative reporter most recently with the Marshall Project, which focuses on criminal justice issues, "is joining the Tampa Bay Times in January as a general assignment reporter focused on accountability journalism in our Tampa office," Tampa Bay Times Managing Editor Jennifer Orsi told staff members on Tuesday. Johnson's work has concentrated on exposing mismanagement and abuse by government agencies. He formerly worked at the Center for Investigative Reporting in California. Johnson's departure leaves the Marshall Project, named after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, with one African American editorial staffer, reporter Simone Weichselbaum.


"The presence of George Michael on MTV in 1985 affirmed something in me I couldn’t capture in words at the time," Rashod Ollison, music writer for the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, wrote Monday after the rock artist died at 53 on Christmas. "But for an 8-year-old black boy in the projects who already knew he was different from other boys on the block, the British singing sensation brought even more confusion. . . ." In the Boston Globe, a headline over an appreciation by Renée Graham read, "George Michael, One of Pop Music's Last Real Artists."

"A Twitter user still with an egg avatar sent insulting tweets directed at Cleveland 19 news reporter Sia Nyorkor about her hair and good people everywhere came to her defense," Amanda Harnocz reported Friday for WOIO-TV. "It appears the anonymous tweeter set up the account — @zeezeedoeshair — this month for the purpose of hurling insults . . . . Twitter saw what was going on and responded in the best, most supportive way. Nyorkor said she got hundreds of tweets and private messages from people supporting her. . . . "

In an interview with Jason Johnson of The Root published Monday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was asked whether he had final words for The Root's readers. "There’s no me without you all," Smith replied. "Like I said, I’m not just a black man, I’m a brotha. I love my people. When I’m on the air I am fully aware that I am not just representing myself but representing us. I’m not gonna succeed without your help. So keep that in mind when watching the show and they hate on Stephen A. Think about the alternative if I’m not on the air. Who’s gonna be on the air? You sure? You sure you want me gone? Just a thought."


"Reporter Lily Jang has left Houston CBS station KHOU, announcing on Facebook that December 23 was her last day," Mark Joyella reported Tuesday for TV Spy. “ 'It was an amazing five years working with incredibly talented photojournalists, producers and fellow reporters,' Jang said. 'To my former co-anchor, Ron Trevino, you’re stuck with me as a friend for life! Cheers to my next adventure. Stay tuned…' Jang joined KHOU in 2012 from KCPQ in Seattle, where she was an anchor for 7 years. . . ."

"The founder of Kwanzaa, Maulana Karenga, did more than just come up with some nice words and principles for us to recognize and follow during this season," James Clingman wrote Monday in his column for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. "He has shared many words with us on how we must conduct ourselves at all times — not just during Kwanzaa. One thing he warned against was Black folks getting stuck in a place where most of what we do is lament 'litanies of lost battles.' Kwanzaa must be a true celebration of production and progress, not just another lamentation of having lost."


"Univision, though still the No. 1 Spanish-language network in adults 18-49, is struggling, in large part because of a costly 2007 leveraged buyout, done at the top of the market, that’s left the company with a crushing $9 billion debt load," Court Stroud reported Tuesday for medialifemagazine.com. "Struggling to make payments, the company has cut back on programming. The cutbacks have hurt. . . ."

"Jubilee Project's latest video series for NBC Asian America, The Bridge, brings together Asian American parents and their children face to face to discuss some topics they may never have broached before — everything from their family immigration history to love and, yes, sex," Phil Yu reported Dec. 21 for his Angry Asian Man site. "(You can actually see mom, dad and kid sweating when the sex talk comes up.) It's both squirmy awkward and tearfully moving. . . ."

"The Spanish-language TV channel Vme will end its multicast service for public television over the next year as it transitions to commercial cable," Dru Sefton reported Dec. 14 for current.org. “We are anticipating a gradual phase-out of the PBS signal” as affiliate station contracts end, said Victor Cerda, s.v.p. of corporate strategy. He estimated about 80 percent of Vme’s current 43 public TV clients will drop the channel by March 2017. . . ."


A Dec. 12 item noted that the Chicago Tribune published a story about noted author Lerone Bennett Jr. without identifying him, leaving the impression that the newspaper did not know who he was. The story was later updated to explain, "In earlier versions of the story, the Tribune decided not to include the background because it could not confirm that the person missing was [Bennett] the author."

"Egypt confirmed on Sunday that it had arrested an Al-Jazeera news producer, accusing him of 'provoking sedition' on behalf of the Qatar-based broadcaster that it considers a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood," Reuters reported Monday. "Judicial sources said Mahmoud Hussein, who was detained on Friday, was being held on charges of disturbing public security and spreading false news. . . ."

Angolan authorities should immediately drop charges against two journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday. "Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, of the weekly, O Crime, were charged with 'crimen injuria,' which is similar to insult laws, the journalists told CPJ. . . ."


" 'Journal-isms' as managed by Richard Prince is a vital sentry on the wall during this time of transition for the craft — as well as for the republic. Though corporate greed has narrowed the reach of standard media, technology allows broader participation by independent players.

" 'Journal-isms' is such a player of principle guarding against the erosion of a 'free press' that Thomas Jefferson foresaw as a threat to citizens making sovereign decisions in a democracy. Additionally, Prince's online journal stands forceful vigil against an even more insidious, internal threat — the media's historic devaluation of African Americans as sources of news and also their exclusion as gatherers, decision-makers, editors and presenters of news and analysis.


" 'Stay Woke' indeed."

Les Payne, retired editor and columnist, Newsday; co-founder and fourth president, National Association of Black Journalists

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