Cleveland Teens Brazenly Rob Crew in Station Van

  • In Such Cases, How Much to ID Suspects, Victims?
  • Middlebrook Taking Buyout From Detroit News
  • An Apology From BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo
  • Workneh, Formerly at Black Voices, Joins Blavity
  • Workers: Comcast-NBCUniversal No. 1 on Diversity
  • Mexican Reporter Seeking Help Gets Shot of Hope
  • Reflections on a Year of ‘Diversity Fatigue’
  • Carlos Illescas Helped Denver Post Win Pulitzers
  • Short Takes
Two WOIO employees told police they were parked in front of a home working on a story when robbers approached their company van. (File photo)

In Cleveland, an “armed teenager stuck a gun into a Channel 19 cameraman’s ribs Thursday evening and robbed him and a coworker,” Kaylee Remington reported for

“The robbery happened just after 5:30 p.m. on East 99th Street near Colonial Avenue in the city’s Glenville neighborhood. The cameraman and a reporter told police that two teens robbed them and ran east through a vacant field, according to a police report.

“They described the teens as between 16 and 18 years old. . . .”

The two station employees were parked in front of a home working on a story when the robbers approached their company van, according to news reports. They demanded cell phones. The reporter told police that at first “she did not think anything of the people walking up to the van because people always walk up to the van to either take pictures with it or the news anchors in the vehicle.”


Vince Grzegorek added for Cleveland Scene, “The brazen crime was naturally the talk of Twitter. . . .”

It also generated comments on, which is published in conjunction with the Plain Dealer.


Many of the remarks focused on guns and race, and on what the news reports deliberately did not mention: The names of the news crew, their race and the race of the suspects. An apparent consideration for the editors: If an ordinary citizen robbed of a cell phone is not deemed newsworthy for his or her name to be publicized, is the same true of members of a television crew?

Race seemed more important to many.

“How is it possible for a news team from Channel 19, and then for a crime reporter for, namely, one, Kaylee Remington, to not be able to give a description of these two perpetrators beyond that they were 16 or 17 years old? Were they white, Latino, Asian, Black? Surely, somebody at the scene from Channel 19 reported to the police, and Ms. Remington could have interviewed the victims or read the police report and gleaned a better description than what we get reported here. What is trying to hide?


“@OldRuss Lets be serious. Does anybody really think that the robbers could possibly be a couple of Latino, Asian or White kids? In that neighborhood at that time? Some things can be said without saying.

“@nrwm @OldRuss -It could be white boys or latinos paying them to do their dirty work for them, after all that is what many of the elite people do.”

From NewsBlues

The police report identifies the reporter and cameraman as white and the suspects as black. Still, one account, on the national subscription-only site NewsBlues, used an illustration showing a white perpetrator.


In general, news organizations identify people by race when it is deemed to be relevant. The Associated Press says use of race is appropriate for “suspects sought by the police or missing person cases using police or other credible, detailed descriptions. Such descriptions apply for all races. The racial reference should be removed when the individual is apprehended or found.”

The suspect who walked up to the WOIO company car was described as “BLK male juvenile with a brown jacket, blue jeans and a neoprene face mask.” The second was a “BLK Juvenile male wearing a dark colored hooded jacket with a neoprene face mask and dark complexed.” One was described as 16 to 18 years old, 5'7", 130 to 140 pounds, black hair and brown eyes; the second as 16 to 18 years old, 5'4 to 5'5", black hair and brown eyes.


Many would contend that those descriptions could apply to too many people to be useful.

Another commenter wrote that the episode argued for concealed carry laws. Still another wondered what young men that age were doing with guns in the first place.


The possibility of attacks on journalists factors into some decisions on deployment. Certain areas are deemed to be more dangerous. Estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey say the Glenville neighborhood is 94.9 percent black, with 42.6 percent of households receiving food stamps, but it is not considered particularly dangerous.

In 2016 in Philadelphia, a woman interrupted and then threw a sucker punch to an eye of Telemundo 62 reporter Iris Delgado while Delgado was broadcasting in front of City Hall. She pleaded guilty to simple assault and was sentenced to 60 days in jail with credit for time served.


In 2015, Roanoke, Va., reporter Alison Parker and a colleague were killed on live television while on assignment by a former employee at the television station where they all worked. Last month, Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, won a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates after “leaving my career at the station where she worked to fight for the causes she and I value the most.”

The San Francisco Bay Area has seen several robberies of television news crews.

After the Philadelphia attack, Mike Cavender, then executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, told Journal-isms by email, “Let’s face it…reporters/crews who are set up for live broadcasts in public areas are all too often targets for assaults — both physical and verbal. The causes, no doubt, are myriad. Whether it be from someone who is mentally unstable to another who thinks he/she can have a ‘moment of fame’ on live TV by doing something like this. Crews have even been attacked by criminals seeking to steal equipment or other valuables.


“That’s why it’s more important than ever that a field crew be acutely aware of their surroundings. And they should not hesitate to break down and/or go elsewhere if they feel potentially threatened or even uncomfortable. Some stations, especially in larger cities and rough neighborhoods have begun to deploy an extra person or even a trained security guard to keep watch over the crew.

“I don’t know that the attacks are necessarily increasing in number. It’s just that, via social media especially, those that do occur get more exposure now than ever before.”


In any case, the Cleveland teenagers’ choice of booty might not have been the wisest. Cell phones can easily be deactivated by their owners.

Walter Middlebrook has been in Detroit since 2007.

Middlebrook Taking Buyout From Detroit News

Walter Middlebrook, an assistant managing editor at the Detroit News well-known as a recruiter and mentor, is taking a buyout from the newspaper where he has worked since February 2007, sparing the newspaper the need for layoffs.


Middlebrook, 65, told Journal-isms he had no specific plans, though he plans to continue his acting avocation by appearing in “Kiss Me Kate” in Ann Arbor, Mich., for four days in February.

“Two colleagues took a year-end buyout, Walter and (retiring) sports copy editor Joe Adams,” Jon Wolman, News editor and publisher, told Journal-isms Friday by email.


“Walter is wrapping up a terrific career after 11 years as a senior editor at The News and in his previous work at such papers as NY Times, Newsday, USA Today, Boston Globe, Minneapolis and St Paul and Memphis.

“Most recent he oversaw our investigative and projects group and had some invaluable administrative duties. Walter’s been an A-plus mentor for many young journalists over the years and some not so young! He’s enjoyed many great performances in local theater and will return to the stage quickly after his final days at The News. Walter is wrapping up at The News in late January.”


Bill Shea reported Wednesday for Crain’s Detroit Business, “A year ago, The News laid off or bought out 19 newsroom employees, a cost-cutting trend that’s hit both Detroit daily newspapers and their brethren across the media industry for several years.

“This year, the entire staff was given a Dec. 4 deadline to act on the offer, which was made to all newsroom employees. The buyout offer includes one week of severance for every six months of service at a maximum of 26 weeks. A similar offer was a made a year ago. . . .”


Congratulations and tributes flowed on Middlebrook’s Facebook page. “This is a huge loss for the industry. Walter Middlebrook is an absolute gem. He’s been [a] true leader and mentor to so many,” said one. “ I wish there were more [Walters] in this world and at newsrooms across the country. You were a wonderful mentor,” said another.

In addition to holding editing roles at the aforementioned publications, Middlebrook has been president of the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit, was named a top journalist of the past century by Unity: Journalists for Diversity and has been an active, 37-year member of the National Association of Black Journalists.


An Apology From BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo


Carrasquillo, who became White House reporter for BuzzFeed News a year ago after reporting on politics with an emphasis on Latino issues, was fired Wednesday after an internal investigation. He did not respond to a request to disclose what he called his attempt at a joke.

Workneh, Formerly at Black Voices, Joins Blavity

Morgan DeBaun, founder of Blavity, left, and Lilly Workneh

Lilly Workneh, who left HuffPost BlackVoices as senior editor on Dec. 1, has landed at, a website for black millennials, where she is to be editor in chief, she announced on Friday.

Workneh will also lead Blavity’s Shadow and Act website.

Above all else, authenticity and integrity are what black millennials care about most and it is also what drove me to work at Blavity as these qualities are crucial components of the company’s identity,” Workneh wrote in a message to readers.


“As the first-ever editor-in-chief of and Shadow & Act, I will strive to build these platforms to offer the best black news and entertainment coverage on the web. As a journalist/advocate for black people and our stories, I want to work with writers to provide thorough and credible coverage of issues important to communities of color. As an Ethiopian-American, I want to identify successful ways we can better tell the stories of black people not just in America but in Africa and all over the world.

“I want to expand our contributor network to share more voices on our platform. I want our stories to entertain, inform and educate, which eventually will lead to greater collective wisdom.


“I want us to celebrate our wins, embrace our flaws and effectively manage our missteps.

“I want us to tap into our creativity and spread our influence across every corner of the internet and the real world.


“I want to encourage us to be more politically engaged and have increased awareness on every issue that affects our daily lives so we can make the best decisions for us and our loved ones. . . .”

Carl Brooks Jr., Inside Blavity, the Startup on a Quest to Be the News Source for Black Millennials (Feb. 15)


John Ketchum, CNN: Blavity’s CEO on taking risks and building a community for black millennials (April 20)

Workers: Comcast-NBCUniversal No. 1 on Diversity

With feedback from 442,624 employees on more than 50 survey questions anonymously rating their employers, Comcast NBCUniversal came in first place as the best workplace for diversity in 2017,” Becky Hughes reported Friday for Parade magazine.


The survey was conducted by the organization Great Place to Work and by Fortune magazine. “An impressive 91 percent of Comcast employees surveyed (including both Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal) agreed that their workplace is great, and 91 percent also said they want to work at Comcast for a long time,” Hughes reported. Comcast-NBCUniversal was the only media company in the top 50.

“Great Place to Work took into account the responses of diverse employees — those who are racial or ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ, disabled or were born before 1964 — compared to the responses of their colleagues, along with overall representation of diversity within each organization. . . .”


According to the survey, 93 percent said “I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary”; 91 percent said “Management is honest and ethical in its business practices”; and the same percentage said, “I’m proud to tell others I work here” and “I want to work here for a long time.”

Emilio Gutierrez with Michele Salcedo of the Associated Press at the National Press Club in October. (Noel St. John/National Press Club)

Mexican Reporter Seeking Help Gets Shot of Hope

A Mexican reporter and his son who were on the verge of deportation earlier this month after being denied their request for asylum will be able to appeal the decision, their lawyer confirmed on Thursday,Julian Aguilar reported Thursday for the Texas Tribune in Austin.


Emilio Gutiérrez and his son Oscar were nearly sent back to Mexico from El Paso on December 7 after fighting to stay in the country since 2008. Their deportation was quickly halted that day after their attorney requested an emergency reprieve and asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider the case. The appeal was initially rejected after the government said their former attorney, Linda Rivas, didn’t file the request on time.

“But in a letter dated December 22, 2017, the board said it would agree to honor the request for appeal after all.


“ ‘Upon consideration of the arguments and evidence presented with the motion, we agree that reinstatement of the respondents’ appeal is warranted in the interest of fairness,’ the decision reads.

“As of Thursday morning, it was unclear if Gutiérrez and his son will remain in detention as the latest round plays out.


Eduardo Beckett, the attorney for both Gutiérrez and his son, said the board now has three options: agree with the immigration judge and deny the asylum, send the case back to the judge to reconsider, or take it upon itself to disagree with the judge and grant the asylum. . . .”

Eduardo Beckett, William McCarren and Emilio Gutiérrez Soto with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, “Democracy Now!”: Deportation Now on Hold for Mexican Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, But He Remains in Detention


Reflections on a Year of ‘Diversity Fatigue’

In the late nineties, people running corporations and overseeing newsrooms began complaining of an affliction called ‘diversity fatigue,’ “ Hua Hsu wrote Tuesday for the New Yorker.

Hua Hsu (The New Yorker)

“While many of these institutions broadly supported efforts to create a more diverse American workforce, actually doing that, by recruiting and nurturing minority talent, was hard, often exhausting, work.


“ ‘Diversity fatigue’ described the stress that managers felt when tasked with realizing these goals. Over time, the term drifted from its workplace roots and took on a wider, more everyday meaning. Soon, everyone was free to feel tired of diversity.

“In 2006, the writers Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explained that it often felt like ‘walking on eggshells’ to worry so much about offending those around them. They wondered if part of the problem wasn’t that diversity had become such a compulsory feature of American life, at least in their liberal circles. ‘People are willing to be tolerant,’ they wrote, ‘but past a certain point it feels like being ordered to eat the peas.’


“For many, the rise of Donald Trump was a manifestation of this long-brewing and ideologically varied skepticism toward diversity. On the right, it was a backlash against things changing too fast, and too much. And, for some on the left, the success of Trump-style populism suggested that liberals had focussed too much of their energy on multiculturalism and identity.

“Over the last couple of years, this skepticism has rippled outward in bizarre, troubling ways. For decades, diversity was generally accepted across the political spectrum as a common goal, something that at least merited lip service. In Trump’s wake, it’s become increasingly mainstream to question the concept’s very legitimacy. . . .”


Hsu also wrote, “Institutions have never been particularly good at dealing with those diverse bodies and viewpoints once they are a day-to-day reality. They may . . . create chances for interesting kinds of problem-solving friction. But the structures don’t change, just the symbols, from the diversity hire to the engineer with regressive views, whose firing becomes a piece of P.R. It should be no surprise that the backlash against diversity has become safe and mainstream, too.

“The true casualties of ‘diversity fatigue’ are the ones who never feel entitled enough to complain about it. We’re living in a time when those drafted in the name of a more diverse society have new ways to speak for themselves, and, in many cases, a different perspective than the trailblazers of previous generations. As the past few months’ stories about sexual assault and harassment in the workplace suggest, just being present is not sufficient.


“There’s a familiar refrain to so many of these stories, as women entered into spaces previously closed to them and then underwent a kind of hazing. They’re stories of diversity told from the inside out, by people who were assured that this is the way it is because this is the way it has always been: a boys’ club, business as usual.”

Carlos Illescas Helped Denver Post Win Pulitzers

Carlos Illescas

In a chaotic newsroom during some of Colorado’s worst crises of the past two decades or on a placid mountain lake with a fishing line dipped into the water, Carlos Illescas carried with him the humble compassion and thoughtfulness for others that defined him, his friends and colleagues recalled Wednesday,” John Ingold reported Wednesday for the Denver Post, updated Thursday.

“Illescas, a longtime Denver Post reporter who was part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, died recently of unknown causes. His body was found Sunday evening at his home in Arvada by a friend. Illescas was 54.


“During his 19 years at The Post, Illescas was deeply involved in the coverage of just about every major event to strike the state — mass shootings, fires, floods and blockbuster criminal trials, to name a few. But he showed just as much dedication to his craft in covering local city council meetings or the minute details of education policy. His bylines at The Post numbered well into the thousands. . . .”

Ingold also wrote, “Illescas began working at The Post in 1997 after stints at newspapers in Aspen and Fort Worth, Texas. He at first covered education but quickly grew to become a Swiss Army knife of a journalist — equally adept at covering police as he was covering politics. He hustled across the state chasing breaking news. He worked as a news editor for a time. . . .


“Illescas was part of The Post’s team covering the Columbine High School shooting, work that was recognized in 2000 with the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting. More than a decade later, he was part of the team covering the Aurora movie theater shooting, which also won a Pulitzer.

“When one of the planes carrying members of the Oklahoma State University men’s basketball team crashed one snowy night in 2001 near Byers, killing all 10 people on board, Illescas was the only reporter working the news desk. He assembled a team, eventually taking dispatches that night from 11 other journalists, and quickly wove together a story that combined a vivid explanation of what happened with poignant remembrances of those who died. . . .”


Short Takes

  • At KABC-TV Los Angeles:Rob Fukuzaki, left, David Ono and Veronica Miracle

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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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