“The [neighborsgo] team covered our communities energetically and with an appreciation for what made each one special," Dallas Morning News Editor Mike Wilson said to the News staff via email. "The staff’s outstanding reporting on access to public records has been entered in prize competitions this year."
Courtesy Journal-isms

Morning News Cuts 13 "neighborsgo" Jobs

The Dallas Morning News yesterday shut down its neighborsgo section covering community news and its FD magazine covering the Dallas area's luxury market, cutting 13 neighborsgo jobs and six FD positions.

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"There is no pretending that this isn't a loss to us and to our readers," Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney said in an email to employees, Jeff Mosier reported in the Morning News.

Among those let go were Gary Piña, who is Hispanic and a past board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and Tommy Cummings, Muscogee Creek, believed to be the only Native American on the staff.

Editor Mike Wilson did not respond to a request for comment, but Mosier wrote, "The News will continue to cover communities in North Texas as part of a new team of local reporters being formed as part of a newsroom reorganization."  Some employees could return in different roles.

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The Dallas area is increasingly multicultural, and the neighborsgo section covered communities of color in South Dallas.

"Neighborsgo, which debuted in 2007, appeared Fridays in selected cities and neighborhoods for those who received The News at home," Mosier reported. "Staffers in the seven sections covered community news from Lewisville to McKinney to southwest Dallas County. They edited reader-submitted news and photos.

"The staffers also reported on stories from the community, like the series of stories on the deadly tornadoes after Christmas. And they also created a project to measure the transparency of local governments. . . ."

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One reader wrote on Facebook, "I will miss NeighborsGo. If I could, I would sit in my pajamas and read hyperlocal stories all dang day. Give me a story about some kid in my neighborhood rising to a challenge or overcoming obstacles and I'm ready to take on the world. Better than watching the presidential debates any day. . ."

Cummings messaged Journal-isms, "I was a digital editor. But I did do some reporting, mostly entertainment and sports. Yesterday, one of the Native stars from 'The Revenant' stopped by the office and [was] excited that another Native worked at The News. I told him, yeah, 'I was the last of the Mohicans.' " The actor was Arthur Redcloud, the Pawnee who nursed Leonardo DiCaprio's character back to health.

Cummings added, "I believe TDMN recognizes the need for diverse coverage in those underserved areas. I truly do. We've made strides and I believe they'll do everything they can to sustain that momentum. Neighborsgo and TDMN Metro were working in a unique way to accomplish this."

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Piña was a content editor/designer with neighborsgo, according to his LinkedIn profile, but he also wrote stories.

Karina Ramirez, president of Hispanic Communicators of Dallas/Fort Worth, told Journal-isms by email, "The communities of NeighborsGo did cover a couple of Latino neighborhoods. . . . I know that there are positions that still need to be filled and I hope that DMN will consider rehiring a couple of the colleagues who were laid off today. It's been a very challenging day." Ramirez works at Al Día, the Morning News' Spanish-language publication.

Mosier also wrote, "The News is currently undergoing a newsroom reorganization, and some departing neighborsgo and FD staffers had applied for new positions. News Editor Mike Wilson praised the journalists and their strong work.

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" 'The Neighborsgo team covered our communities energetically and with an appreciation for what made each one special,' he said to the News staff via email. 'The staff's outstanding reporting on access to public records has been entered in prize competitions this year.'

"About FD, he said that 'some high-end magazines are little more than shopping catalogs for the Platinum card crowd, but FD had the skill and daring to go deep without sacrificing its unique voice or independence.'

"Details about the profitability of the community newspaper section and the luxury lifestyle publications were not released Friday. But Moroney mentioned the newspaper industry's ongoing financial troubles.

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" 'It remains a challenging time for our industry,' he said in the email. 'We must focus on the parts of our business that can make a material financial contribution to our success. The unfortunate reality is that neighborsgo and FD have struggled financially for some time, and we have not been able to make them consistently and meaningfully profitable.' . . ."

According to 2014 Census figures, Dallas County is 68 percent white, 39.3 percent Latino or Hispanic, 23.1 percent black or African American, 5.9 percent Asian and 1.1 percent American Indian or Alaska Native.

For the 2015 newsroom diversity census of the American Society of News Editors [PDF] the Morning News reported that it employed 16.6 percent journalists of color, including 7.5 percent Hispanic, 4.9 percent black, 3.8 percent Asian American and 0.4 percent American Indian.

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Trump Boots N.Y. Times Reporter From Campaign Event

"A New York Times political reporter got the boot at a Donald Trump campaign event on Friday," Tom Kludt reported for CNNMoney.com.

"The reporter, Trip Gabriel, said he was told by a police officer that the gathering at a Pizza Ranch in Waukee, Iowa, was a 'private event.'

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"But in a blog post on the Times website, Gabriel said that 'about 20 other television and digital reporters continued to cover the event.'

"The episode is the latest in Trump's volatile relationship with the press. His campaign has been criticized for threatening to 'blacklist' reporters who stray from the designated media 'pens' at rallies, while Trump has repeatedly disparaged journalists he deems unfair, and called them 'scum' at his rallies.

"Gabriel said in his blog post that he had been given a press pass for a Trump event earlier on Friday near Urbandale, Iowa. It is not clear why he was denied access to the event in Waukee. A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

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"Gabriel noted that the Times ran an article on Wednesday on Trump's 'amateurish' ground operation in Iowa. . . ."

Meanwhile, the Daily News in New York used the front page of its Friday issue to slam Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, the conservative Texas senator. Cruz had "blasted wealthy businessman and Republican front-runner Donald Trump over his so-called New York values," Mark DeCambre reported Friday for MarketWatch.

"The paper's cover delivers a graphic of the Statue of Liberty making an obscene gesture with one finger and this headline: 'Drop Dead Ted.'

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"The cover, a riff on the paper's famous 'Ford to City: Drop Dead' headline from 1975, came after Republican contenders locked horns in a debate in South Carolina Thursday night — likely the last debate before the Iowa caucuses kick off the nominating process on Feb. 1. . . ."

Tommy Christopher, Mediaite: Black Fox News Guest Says Black Americans are 'Poorer, Dumber and More Criminalized' 

Jelani Cobb, New Yorker: The Complicated History of Nikki Haley

Bill de Blasio and Andrew M. Cuomo, Daily News, New York: Take that, Ted Cruz! Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio respond with real New York values

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Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Strong showing may lift Marco Rubio

Jason Johnson, The Root: Nikki Haley Makes the Case for Old-School Racism

Marshall Project: Republican Candidates on Criminal Justice: A Primer

Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Trump is the Teflon Donald

Greg Moore and Kay Henderson with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, "Here & Now," WBUR-FM, Boston: Trump And Cruz Dominate, Clinton And Sanders Expected To Clash (audio)

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Ben Carson caught being human

Chris Sommerfeldt, Thomas Tracy, Chelsia Rose Marcius, Daily News, New York: After Daily News cover, New Yorkers rip Ted Cruz over 'values' comments

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: New York Times rebuts Trump's accusation that 'they are always wrong' 

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N.Y. Daily News Promotes Eric Barrow to Sports Editor

The Daily News in New York Friday promoted Eric Barrow to sports editor, raising to five the number of black journalists leading sports sections of daily newspapers.

"Eric spent years in the department — most recently as Sunday Sports Editor — where he led a Sunday section that won dozens of awards. His wide-ranging talents will allow us to continue the incredible work we have always done in sports, while bolstering our digital and print efforts," Jim Rich, editor-in-chief, wrote to News staff members on Friday.

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According to his LinkedIn profile, Barrow has worked at the News since 2003. Before that, he was sports copy editor at the New York Post, sports layout editor at the Los Angeles Daily News and sports editor at the Trentonian.

In 2014, the departures of Michael Feeney, Enid Alvarez, Simone Weichselbaum and Jennifer H. Cunningham left the Daily News with an alarmingly low number of African Americans and Hispanics covering the majority-minority city. Last year, the News added Leonard Greene, a black journalist who had worked at the Boston Herald and New York Post tabloids, to its rewrite desk, and he has also written news stories and commentary.

The other African American sports editors at daily newspapers are Marcus Carmouche, sports manager at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans; Larry Graham, executive sports editor at U-T San Diego; Lisa Wilson, executive sports editor at the Buffalo News; and Jewell Walston, sports editor at the Winston-Salem Journal.

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Leon Carter, a black journalist now at ESPN, was Daily News sports editor from 1999 to 2010. 

President Obama announces a "new national effort" to cure cancer Tuesday during his State of the Union message. (video)

Blacks Have Greater Investment in Fighting Cancer

President Obama's announcement of a new national effort to cure cancer should grab the attention of African Americans and the black press, as blacks suffer from the disease at a higher rate than other Americans.

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"Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer," Obama said in his State of the Union message on Tuesday. "Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they’ve had in over a decade.

"So tonight, I'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he's gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. . . ."

Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, the son of the vice president and former state attorney general of Delaware, died in May after battling brain cancer for several years.

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According to the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, "African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. Death rates for all major causes of death are higher for African Americans than for whites, contributing in part to a lower life expectancy for both African American men and African American women."

The same is not true of other people of color.

Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives generally have lower cancer rates than the non-Hispanic white population, the office says. "However, disparities still exist in certain types of cancer."

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Obama's announcement was greeted with skepticism. Emma Court wrote Friday for MarketWatch, "Curing cancer is like winning the Powerball: great to envision but not so easy to do (as many of us found out Wednesday night)."

Court quoted Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who called the announcement "an aspirational goal."

Jenna Adamson wrote Thursday in USA Today, "Our current president wasn't the first to launch a medical moon race or to promise a cure in a speech before a joint session of Congress. Those distinctions go to Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton."

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However, Brawley wrote for CNN, "With current knowledge, we can do so much more to prevent considerable numbers of people from suffering and dying from this disease and do it much more efficiently. The more we learn, the closer we get to controlling this dreaded disease.

"I like the moonshot analogy. We need a concerted, organized effort with a leader and a goal …"

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The Other Obama Legacy

Raúl Mas Canosa, Fox News Latino: Opinion: Once again, Obama's lofty rhetoric obscures sad reality 

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Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress:  Saving the Best for Last

Kelly McEvers with Dr. William Nelson, NPR: Doctors Respond To Obama's Ambitious Moonshot To Cure Cancer

Media Matters for America: Fox's Geraldo Rivera: "The Nation Was Not Ready For A Black President"

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Media Credited With Elevating Story of Flint Water Crisis

As the water crisis in Flint, Mich., gains international media attention amid calls for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), the media are being credited with playing a constructive role.

"The city's water system has received intense media scrutiny after it has been connected to high blood lead levels found in some of the city's youngest residents," as Gary Ridley wrote Friday for mlive.com about the majority-black city's decision to hire a new manager for the city's municipal water system.

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"The media helped to elevate this story and forced the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder to respond and tell what they knew and didn't know," Bankole Thompson, columnist for the Detroit News, messaged Journal-isms on Friday.

"What happened in Flint is wrong on so many levels and the city would require sustainable and longstanding help. Basically the state government in Michigan failed Flint and the media has been telling the story. We now need to know who were actually the people responsible for this disaster. That's one of the questions the media need to be asking."

MLive Media Group, parent company of the Flint Journal, editorialized urging more transparency and a federal investigation into the water issue.

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Hosting Flint Journal Editor Bryn Mickle on "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC on Jan. 4, Maddow said, "The local Michigan press should get credit here for being tireless and fearless and creative and clear about this story, even in the face of their state government saying 'nothing to see here' [video],' relax, and by the way, you can't have access to any documents.

"Michigan Public Radio, the Detroit Free Press, even the Michigan chapter of the ACLU had a journalist/researcher working on this. Local press in Michigan has not let this go and they are still pushing. Look at this. This is from the editors of the Flint Journal on New Year's Eve," Maddow said as a page from the Flint Journal appeared on the screen. "Quote, Gov. Snyder needs to do more than just apologize for Flint water crisis. Flint Journal lists steps he ought to take, very specific steps . . ."

Flint Journal: How Flint Water Crisis Emerged

Keith A. Owens, Michigan Chronicle: Charging Flint residents for poisoned water is a crime

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Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Snyder legacy will be Flint water crisis

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Whistle-blower Flint doc to lead team to aid kids

Bankole Thompson, Detroit News: Flint crisis is Michigan’s Katrina

Bankole Thompson, Ebony: Who Is to Blame for the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis?

Philly's Al Día Reaches Beyond Spanish-Speaking Latinos

"Philadelphia has one of the country's most vibrant Chinatowns, and as new Chinese restaurants and Chinese-owned businesses open, many have turned to the city’s Latino community for new employees," Joseph Lichterman reported Friday for NiemanLab.

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"The influx of Latinos — many of them recent immigrants — to the city highlights Philadelphia' changing demographics. That's a key story for the city's news outlets to cover, but one that can be difficult for traditional English-language news organizations to report.

" 'My employer doesn't speak much English, and neither do I,' restaurant worker Jose Lemos told Ana Gamboa, a reporter with Al Día, a Spanish-language publication in Philadelphia.

"Last spring, Al Día partnered with the Chinese-language newspaper Metro Chinese to report on Chinese businesses hiring Latino employees. The story was translated into Spanish and English on Al Día's website and into Chinese on Metro Chinese's site.

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"The coverage is part of a larger effort by Al Día to reach readers outside of Philadelphia's Spanish-speaking Latino community. In July 2014, the paper launched a responsive English-language version of its website and began publishing original stories in English and translating stories between English and Spanish.

" 'We have a new generation preferring to read in English, but not necessarily liking what they see in English and in the rest of the media,' Hernán Guaracao, Al Día's CEO and founder, told me when I visited Al Día’s offices in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood last fall.

" 'They may have switched their language preference, but there's still desperation to have their stories told in the manner they feel that is representative of themselves,' he said. . . ."

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. . . New York's El Diario/La Prensa in Steady Decline

"The country's oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper, El Diario/La Prensa, began 2016 facing an uncertain future, as staff cuts and tensions between the union, the NewsGuild of New York, and the paper's owners compound an already difficult transition to the web," Roque Planas reported Friday for the Huffington Post.

"The paper's steady decline has continued in the four years since Argentina's La Nación, a leading conservative daily, bought El Diario's parent company ImpreMedia, promising to pump new investment into the struggling institution and usher it into the digital age.

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"But despite a multimillion-dollar cash injection, current and former employees describe a pessimistic atmosphere presided over by foreign managers unfamiliar with New York, who have redirected their coverage toward national news and have cut roughly three-quarters of the paper's editorial staff since taking over. The company planned to announce another round of newsroom layoffs Friday. . . ."

Court Stroud, medialifemagazine.com: For Hispanics, it's more than just news

Charleston Killings Ranked High Among Race Stories

Police brutality, corruption and Black Lives Matter protests might collectively have seemed like the big racial story of 2015, but they ranked only fifth in a ranking of race and immigration topics given time on the broadcast networks' evening news programs, according to calculations published Thursday.

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The top 10 race and immigration stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news broadcasts, calculated by Andrew Tyndall of the Tyndall Report, were:

1. European Union faces influx of refugees and migrants, 174 minutes.

2. AME black church massacre in Charleston, S.C., 117 minutes.

3. Confederate flag on public grounds controversy, 57 minutes.

4. College campus racism outrages, 56 minutes.

5. Police: brutality, corruption, race bias protests, 28 minutes.

6. Syrian-American immigration: seek refugee status, 25 minutes.

7. NAACP leader may be white, passing as black, 19 minutes.

8. Illegal immigration backlash, regulation, crackdown, 17 minutes.

9. Race relations, frictions between whites, blacks, 11 minutes.

10. Black churches in Missouri suffer string of fires, 10 minutes

Miguel Almaguer of NBC topped the list of "most used reporters" (excluding anchors), with 284 minutes. Others of color on the list are Jeff Pegues of CBS, 238 minutes; Nancy Cordes of CBS, 208 minutes; Gabe Gutierrez of NBC, 182 minutes; Tom Llamas of ABC, 177 minutes; and Gio Benitez of ABC, 160 minutes.

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Andrew Tyndall, Tyndall Report: Top Twenty Stories of 2015

Essence Features Three February Covers

"In ESSENCE’s first-ever 'Black Girl Magic' February 2016 issue, the magazine presents three covers celebrating young women who embody the spark and shine that exists in every Black girl: activist Johnetta Elzie, Chi-Raq’s leading lady, Teyonah Parris, and black-ish co-star Yara Shahidi," the magazine announced last week.

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"Plus, ESSENCE’s 'Class of 2016' showcases even more young women from the worlds of activism, fashion, the arts, sports and tech whose dynamic actions make us all shine bright, including: Zendaya, Willow Smith, Aja Naomi King, Quvenzhané Wallis, Gabby Douglas, Bree Newsome and more. . . ."

Short Takes

The Washington Post's Michael A. Fletcher is joining ESPN's the Undefeated as a senior writer concentrating on criminal justice, social issues and politics, and ESPN.com columnist Jason Reid, formerly of the Washington Post, has been named senior NFL writer, ESPN's Mac Nwulu announced on Friday. Kevin Merida, formerly managing editor at the Post, also chose Steve Reiss, who edited Merida's pieces for the Post's Style section, as deputy editor for narrative and enterprise. Reiss leaves Crain's Chicago Business, where he is managing editor.

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"LeBron James will co-produce and star in a reality TV series called 'Cleveland Hustles,' " Tom Withers reported Thursday for the Associated Press. "James and his close friend and business partner, Maverick Carter, are producing the series which will debut this summer on CNBC. On the show, James and Carter will give four aspiring local entrepreneurs the chance to realize their own dreams while revitalizing a neighborhood in Cleveland. . . ."

Seven additional journalists have been chosen Punch Sulzberger Program fellows at Columbia University Journalism School, Doug Smith, executive director, told Journal-isms on Friday. They are Vickie Walton-James, senior supervising national editor, NPR; Dax Tejera, executive producer, Fusion; Katie Nelson, national editor, Huffington Post; Zheng Huang, CEO/founder, ViewFind; Subrata De, VP multi-platform newsgathering, ABC; Paul Cheung, director of interactive, Associated Press; and Hugo Balta, senior director of multicultural content, ESPN. They join Irving Washington, deputy director, Online News Association, whose appointment was disclosed in December. The year-long fellowship "immerses high ranking news media executives in the use of strategy, innovation, marketing, demographics, journalism values and other critical approaches to help resolve challenges confronting their organizations and create long-term performance and change within their organizations," according to its website.

"The main focus of this piece is analysts and how their role is defined in the ESPN ecosystem," Jim Brady, ESPN ombudsman, wrote on Friday. "This group is made up largely of former players, coaches and executives who are brought on to bring insight into what is happening on fields and in locker rooms and front offices. And if you believe — as many readers do — that these analysts are on a looser leash than they have been in years past, you are right. . . ."

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"Howard University said Wednesday that it would join other broadcasters in taking part in a Federal Communications Commission auction that could entail selling the rights to the spectrum on which it broadcasts the nation's only black-owned public television station," Nicholas Fandos reported for the New York Times.

For the 23 years Karen Meyer was a reporter at ABC 7 in Chicago, her news station covered the city's disabled population, a community important to Meyer because she belonged to it," Jackie Spinner wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "Meyer was a trailblazing deaf reporter whose on-air reports tackled issues about wheelchair accessible playgrounds and problems with public accommodations for people with disabilities. . . . But when Meyer retired from ABC 7 in 2014, the station decided to stay on the disability beat, giving it to special projects producer Sylvia L. Jones and Hosea Sanders, a prime-time anchor at the station. . . ."

"I remember thinking it was the most riveting television program I’d ever seen, and that it demonstrated the very best that the medium could be," Paul Greeley reported Friday for TVNewsCheck. "Eyes on the Prize returns to television this Sunday night at 8 ET on the World Channel. The World Channel delivers the best of public television's nonfiction, news and documentary programming through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. . . ."

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Longtime anchor and reporter Pam Cross is leaving WCVB-TV ABC 5 in Boston, her professional home for the last 35 years, she has announced," Derrick Santos reported Thursday for New England One. He also wrote, "Pam is leaving to start a new entrepreneurial venture with her husband Ron Ancrum. They are starting a business called Ancrum Strategic Advisors that will offer assistance to non-profits and small businesses with program evaluation, planning development and will help them improve their public face through better communications. . . ."

PBS and WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public television station in the nation’s capital, today announced that PBS NewsHour will produce the first Democratic presidential candidates debate following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 9 PM ET," PBS announced on Monday. "NewsHour co-anchors and managing editors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will moderate the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, to be broadcast nationwide on PBS stations." Nick Massella, director of audience engagement and communications, confirmed for Journal-isms by email that the event will not only have a black journalist, Ifill, as a moderator, but that a black journalist is producing. "James Blue is PBS NewsHour's senior content and special projects producer. And in that capacity, he is coordinating the planning and production of this event."

Lester Holt moderates the Democratic presidential candidates debate on NBC-TV on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

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"The Society of Professional Journalists joins other members of the Sunshine in Government Initiative in applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for approving the 'FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015' (H.R. 653), which improves the Freedom of Information Act," SPJ announced on Monday. " 'This legislation helps journalists and other citizens better access their government, and today's vote proves that Congress can work together to make government more transparent and accountable,' said SPJ National President Paul Fletcher. . . ."

"A Palestinian journalist detained last week after reporting that Palestinian security services had assisted Israel in apprehending the suspected murderers of two Israeli settlers was freed Tuesday on bail," the International Press Institute reported Friday. "Salim Sweidan, owner of Nablus TV and a member of the board of directors of the Ma’an News Network, was granted bail of 1,000 Jordanian dinars [$1,408.75]. According to the news site Al Monitor, an apology published by Nablus is thought to have facilitated his release, although the apology was later removed. 'I would have rather spent 10 more days in jail than publish this humiliating apology,' Sweidan told Al Monitor in an interview …"