Dominicans Embrace US Journalists After Thieves Heist Equipment

The casket of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras is lifted and pushed into a mausoleum. Thousands turned out in Sosua, Dominican Republic, as Taveras was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dominicans Embrace Americans After Equipment Stolen

"There are few circumstances in which good journalists want to become a story rather than cover one, but through no fault of their own two Post-Dispatch staffers became the center of attention while reporting on developments this week in a foreign country," Dan Caesar reported Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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"Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold and photographer Chris Lee were in the Dominican Republic to cover the funeral of Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, 22, who, along with his girlfriend, were killed Sunday in a car accident there. But the attention soon turned to the journalists.

"They arrived Tuesday and because the visitation already was under way they rented a car and were led directly to that site, not having time to check in to a hotel.

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" 'We had to race there,' Goold said.

"The funeral followed, as did Taveras' coffin being carried through the streets of his hometown of Sosua en route to a cemetery. It was quite a scene, with Goold saying 'thousands and thousands of people descended.'

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"The journalists were separated. Lee took dramatic photos of the events and Goold conducted interviews and spent time with Cards pitcher Carlos Martinez, a longtime friend of Taveras, in compiling his compelling report.

"When they had completed that phase of their work, they returned to their rental car and discovered that it had been broken into and all their belongings that had been inside were gone — among them computer equipment, a camera lens, clothes and personal items — including a journal Goold had kept that included entries about his young son's life. Three other vehicles also had been broken into, police told them.

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"All they had was what had been on them, which fortunately included their passports.

"It became a big deal there, with the local media taking hold of the story of American journalists becoming crime victims while in their country to help honor a hometown hero and relay the information back to the U.S.

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"That led to local citizens embracing the journalists.

' 'Carlos Martinez was very helpful to us,' Goold said. 'Many people were tremendous to us. This town is grieving, has just lost a beloved son and the people rally to help us. It was remarkable.'

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"Goold still had to write his story and Lee had to process and file his photos to the Post-Dispatch.

" 'It became a community effort to find a place' for us to work, Goold said. 'They made the best of the situation.'

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"Lee said Ydelqui Brito, Taveras' attorney, was especially helpful, doing whatever was necessary to accommodate them — accompanying them for four or five hours after already having spent all day running the funeral proceedings after more than a day of planning.

" 'He was instrumental in helping us being able to complete our jobs,' Lee said. 'I can't say enough about him.'

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"Lee and Goold were taken to multiple places to try to find internet access and computers that would accommodate what they needed. They ended up at an art gallery, but it was unsuitable for their needs. So the man who runs it, one of Brito’s friends, took them to his home — where his son was about to have his ninth birthday party. The journalists were able to complete their jobs there, although they had to work on a keyboard set to type in Spanish. It was a highly unusual experience. . ."

Visiting African Sees "Hysterical" Ebola Coverage in U.S.

A visiting African journalist who was originally scheduled to visit a Florida university that backed out of hosting his group in fear of the Ebola virus says that after seeing American media coverage, he can understand the fear.

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"I got an email from a student — this was like a week before we came here — saying that USF St. Pete had canceled because of parents' fears that there was Ebola, and they weren't really sure if we'd pass that onto their wards," Bernard Avle, director of news programming at Ghanian radio outlet CITI, told Benjamin Mullin of the Poynter Institute on Friday. Poynter stepped in to host the journalists after the University of South Florida St. Petersburg backed out.

Avle continued, "I was a bit surprised — but then again, coming to the U.S. and watching U.S. media, I understood where the apprehension came from. I think the media is a very powerful tool for information and misinformation — and regrettably, I think, on this particular point — there's been a lot of hysterical reporting, for whatever reason.

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"I think there's a lot of ignorance of Ebola, of public health issues, and that has contributed to the public concern. So I have no problems with the parents who requested USF St. Pete to cancel. Because if I were a parent and I saw the reports I did on TV, I would be very concerned for my ward."

Mullin asked Avle, "What advice would you give to United States media organizations that are trying to cover this thing compassionately and accurately?"

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Avle replied, "I can't pretend to give advice. What I can say is they know their audience better than I do. And so the interest of your audience can sometimes drive the way you cover a story, because news must be contextualized.

"So the concern for people is whether Africans are bringing Ebola to the U.S, so that tends to become the angle from which you frame the story. Having said that, you need to get more information about what happens on the ground so that you can give your listeners, your readers, your viewers the information. I'm not going to advise anybody on how to cover Ebola, but I'll just say there's a lot you can learn from journalists who are closer to the situation. . . ."

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Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The Ebola Hysteria

Dylan Byers, Politico: Critics: '60 Minutes' Ebola report one-sided

Columbia Journalism Review: Ebola scare spotlights media's retreat from science coverage

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Juan Gonzalez, Daily News, New York: Quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox is bravely fighting policy not based in science

Mark Joyella, TVNewser: CNN's Brian Stelter on Cable News and Ebola Fear: 'It's Partly the Fault of the Viewer'

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Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Panicky pols heighten the Ebola hysteria

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Ebola should not spawn more useless 'security theater'

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Ben Smith, BuzzFeed: Jina Moore's Ebola Story, And Why BuzzFeed News Is Investing In Foreign Correspondents

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: President Obama links 'headlines' to Ebola fear

Michael Paul Williams, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Virginia's tie to Liberia should bind us in Ebola fight

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Editorial Writer Who Called Brown an "Animal" Is Fired

"The Charleston Daily Mail fired longtime editorial writer Don Surber after his personal blog described Michael Brown as an 'animal' that police in Ferguson, Mo., had to put down," Allan Taylor reported Thursday for MetroNews in Charleston, W.Va.

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"Daily Mail publisher Brad McElhinny announced Surber's dismissal Thursday on the newspaper's website, criticizing Surber's commentary as 'unfortunate, inflammatory and, in our view, inexcusable.' . . .'

Meanwhile, quoting law enforcement officials, Sari Horwitz and Kimberly Kindy reported for the Washington Post Friday that "Justice Department investigators have all but concluded they do not have a strong enough case to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson," the white police officer who shot and killed Brown.

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In another development, "On Thursday, the Toronto Star published an article by Natasha Grzincic called '5 other labels for people of colour er… non-whites uh… racialized people', " Andrew Beaujon reported for the Poynter Institute. "Later that day, it took the article down. . . ."

Public Editor Kathy English told Beaujon by email, "The piece was flippant and commented on instead of reporting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission's arguments. The writer of the piece is not a columnist with latitude to make such comment."

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Stephen Deere, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Ferguson police chief fires back at reports his department is disbanding

Shaun King, Ebony: Is Darren Wilson Lying to the Grand Jury?

Lawrence Lanahan, Columbia Journalism Review: Behind every Michael Brown is a story of structural racism waiting to be told

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: McCulloch finds no grand jury leaks in Ferguson case

St. Louis Public Radio/NPR "Code Switch": Some St. Louis Teachers Address Ferguson With Lessons On Race (audio)

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Joanna Lee Williams, HuffPost BlackVoices: Media Often Depicts Black Youth as Criminals, and Rarely as Heroes

José Díaz-Balart Awarded Second Hour as MSNBC Anchor

The MSNBC show left behind by Chuck Todd now has a host in the form of José Díaz-Balart, who will anchor an expanded 'Daily Rundown' from 9 a.m.-11 a.m., individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap," Jordan Chariton reported Friday for the Wrap.

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"The Miami-based Díaz-Balart, who debuted on MSNBC at 10 a.m. in July and also anchors an evening newscast on Telemundo, will anchor the morning show that under Todd was based in D.C. and focused on politics.

"But the nation's [capital] will still be front and center, as Jose will frequently toss from Miami to MSNBC's D.C. bureau during the program to MSNBC talent like Peter Alexander, Kasie Hunt, Chris Jansing, Andrea Mitchell, Kelly O'Donnell, Luke Russert, Kristin Welker, and Pete Williams. We're hearing in some cases, Díaz-Balart could throw to one of these personalities to interview politicians on-set in D.C.

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"Hosting at 10 a.m. since July, Díaz-Balart has averaged 237,000 viewers and 53,000 24-54 demographic viewers. . . ."

Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, was confronted with a wide-ranging list of complaints from Latino journalists when he spoke before the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in San Antonio in August.

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"It's important. We want to lead the way" on diversity, Griffin told the journalists then.

In Voluntary Exodus, Cincinnati Newsroom Losing 1 in 6

"More than a dozen newsroom staffers at the Cincinnati Enquirer, including its No. 2 editor, are departing as the region's largest local media company embarks on the biggest shakeup in its history," Chris Wetterich reported Thursday for the Cincinnati Business Courier. Among those leaving are Managing Editor Laura Trujillo, who is Mexican-American, and Entertainment Editor Tasha Stewart, who is African American.

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"Earlier this month, editor Carolyn Washburn announced major changes would be coming as the Enquirer tried to devote fewer resources toward the production of its print products and more toward its expanding digital ones," Wetterich continued. "Most staffers are being required to reapply for positions with new titles and new responsibilities that Washburn describes as 'fundamentally new jobs.'

"The reorganization — ordered up by the Enquirer's parent company, Gannett Co., in its markets across the United States — has unleashed the voluntary exodus of at least one out of every six newsroom staffers as veteran journalists with hundreds of years of experience opt to walk instead of re-applying. . . .

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"In an email obtained by the Courier, Washburn announced on Friday that managing editor Laura Trujillo — who was set to be 'news director,' the No. 2 spot in the new system — is instead leaving.

"Washburn handpicked Trujillo in 2012 to move to the Enquirer from the Arizona Republic. She is married to Enquirer reporter John Faherty, who writes about urban affairs.

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"Newsroom sources say Washburn and Trujillo clashed over reorganization-related decisions, including some people chosen for senior management roles. That team skews toward younger staffers with more experience in digital journalism but has less experience managing people. Trujillo declined to comment on the topic. . . ."

Trujillo told Journal-isms by email that "I don't know what I will do yet" in her career but that she would "remain with Gannett for a few weeks to help transition and finish a project."

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Also among those leaving, Wetterich wrote, are sportswriters Bill Koch and John Erardi; local reporters Mark Curnutte, Sheila McLaughlin and Jessica Brown; editorial writer Julie Irwin Zimmerman; arts columnist Julie Engebrecht; projects editor Lee Ann Hamilton; sports editors Rory Glynn and Nick Hurm; and photographers Jeff Swinger, Gary Landers and Leigh Taylor.

C-SPAN on Outs With White House for Last 4 Years

"C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the public affairs network has received scant-to-no cooperation from the White House over the four years since it engaged in a spat with key presidential aides over video footage," Wemple reported Friday on his Washington Post media blog. " 'We've always been bewildered by this incident,' Mortman said yesterday afternoon.

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"As reported in Sharyl Attkisson's new book, 'Stonewalled,' C-SPAN's Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama in the Oval Office on Aug. 12, 2010. In that session, Lamb asked Obama what he’d changed in the Oval Office. The president responded, in part: 'We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.” Lamb’s session with the president was part of a documentary on the White House that C-SPAN was planning for a later date.

"Notwithstanding the decision to 'hold off last year,' the Oval Office got a new look just days after the president’s Aug. 12 chat with Lamb. On Aug. 31, The Post published a story on the makeover. Concerned that C-SPAN would publish the interview with Obama in the wake of the news in The Post, White House officials contacted C-SPAN to 'make sure' that the network didn’t release the Obama remarks until weeks later, when the full documentary was ready, Attkisson writes.

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"C-SPAN defines its mission as a 'public service,' a calling at odds with taking orders from the White House. It dropped its Obama-Oval Office footage on Aug. 31. According to Attkisson’s book, Josh Earnest, then deputy press secretary, threatened to 'withhold future access' from C-SPAN. . . ."

Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America: Obama's Approval Rating Remains Unchanged This Year, So Why All The Press Coverage About "Sinking" Poll Numbers?

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CJ Ciaramella, Washington Free Beacon: Transparency Groups Seek White House Position on FOIA Reforms

Paul Farhi, Washington Post: On Obama's Asia trip, members of media will have to pay $60,000 each for flights

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"Red State," "Blue State" on AP List of Clichés to Avoid

The Associated Press Friday issued a reminder of style guidelines for election coverage, listing some common clichés and providing alternatives. It also advised against the terms "leftist" and "ultra-leftist," "rightist" and "ultra-rightist" and "Democrat Party."

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The clichés to avoid include "red state," "blue state," "horse race," "messaging," "war chest" or "coffers" and "white paper."

Alternatives are, respectively, "Republican-leaning," "Democratic-leaning," "A closely contested political contest," "The candidate's pitch to voters," "campaign bank account" or "stockpile of money" and "a document of policy positions distributed by a campaign."

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Salvatore Colleluori & Cristina Lopez G., Media Matters for America: Miami Herald Papers Rarely Mention Medicaid Expansion's Relevance To The Hispanic Community

George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Blacks, Not Hispanics, Key to Election Victory

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Lee A. Daniels, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Voter ID Laws Are 'Democracy Turned Upside Down'

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Mary Landrieu's comments about Obama and race followed by phony Republican outrage:

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Mississippi was working to provide poor folks health insurance — until Obama

Josh Feldman, Mediaite: O’Reilly: 'The White Republican Power Structure Is Afraid of Black Americans'

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Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Nov. 4 election lacks historical firepower but still has implications

Mark Joyella, TVNewser: Blitzer, Cooper to Lead CNN's 'Election Night in America' Coverage

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Nick Massella, FishbowlDC: Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff to Lead PBS NewsHour's Election Night Coverage

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: White Voters Bringing Destruction on Themselves

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Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Media Cry Foul When Democrats Talk About Race

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: The taken-for-granted voters

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Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Clinton had a rough time, too

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Do Republicans have a plan for the country? The answer is 'no'.

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Mark Trahant, indianz.com: Native voters must be prepared on election day

Mark Trahant, indianz.com: The Native vote could decide the 2014 election

PBS Series on America's Browning Also Showing Online

If you have been missing "America by the Numbers," a series of eight-half hour episodes that examine the demographic shifts that will culminate in the United States becoming majority people of color by 2043, the episodes may still be viewed online.

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The series, hosted and led by journalist Maria Hinojosa, premiered the first week of October.

Viewers may watch past full programs on this program page.

The episodes are also are streaming at the PBS video portal: video.pbs.org.

Carolina Moreno, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Why Maria Hinojosa Is 'Less Afraid' Of How The U.S. Will Deal With Demographic Change (Oct. 9)

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Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) Press: Idaho: A lack of diversity? (Oct. 14)

How Rev. Al Became the Incredible Shrinking Sharpton

There were 60 candles on the cake — but none of it in Al Sharpton's stomach," Justin Rocket Silverman wrote Tuesday for the Daily News in New York.

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"Even at his own birthday party at the Four Seasons this month, surrounded by the governor, the mayor and Aretha Franklin, the Rev didn’t take a bite of the sugary treat.

"It's not simply that he hasn't had any sweets in years. He hasn't had dinner in years, either.

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"Call it 'the Al Sharpton Diet,' but this once-rotund reverend has dropped from 305 pounds to exactly 129.6 pounds. The precise weight was recorded this week on Sharpton’s bedroom scale at 5 a.m., when the man of the (much less) cloth begins his day.

"Sharpton has shed 60% of his much-mocked weight — and he did it without surgery, diet pills or a single Weight Watchers meeting.

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" 'I could take all the cartoons in the tabloid newspapers, but I couldn't take my daughter punching me in the belly and asking why I was so fat,' Sharpton recalled. 'That was my inspiration to lose the weight. And probably the last time anyone hurt my feelings.'

"That incident with his daughter happened nearly 15 years ago, when she was 12. But it wasn't until more recently that Sharpton devised his strategy to drop the pounds — just stop eating.

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"That's only a minor simplification. . . ."

Short Takes

"Hugo Balta, a Coordinating Producer for ESPN’S SportsCenter since 2011, has been promoted to a new role within the company," Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday on her Media Moves site. Balta, immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists "has been named Senior Director, Multicultural Content for ESPN's Digital & Print Media team. He officially starts the new position on December 1. In his new role, Hugo, has been assigned to help raise the quality, profile and delivery of content targeting English and Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics for all of ESPN's digital and print properties. . . ."

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"When an event becomes news, there is often an implication that it is an exception — that the world is mostly working as it should and this event is newsworthy because it's an aberration," Chris Ip wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review in a profile of Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic. "If the race-related stories we see most often in the media are about personal bigotry, then our conception of racism is limited to the bigoted remarks or actions — racism becomes little more than uttering the n-word. If we see each shooting as an isolated case of fear or provocation, without being told that young African-American men are 21 times more likely than their white counterparts to be shot dead by the police, according to a recent ProPublica report, then we miss the real question of why there is a systemic, historical difference in the way police treat blacks versus whites. . . ."

"The winner and loser of the lawsuit between Al Jazeera America and former Current TV CEO Al Gore is yet to be determined, but ratings comparisons between the two show a clear winner," Jordan Chariton reported Wednesday for the Wrap. "After buying Current TV in early 2013, and debuting over the summer that year, Al Jazeera has lost almost half of Current TV's audience. . . ."

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Summarizing the newly published "Respect: the Life of Aretha Franklin" by celebrity biographer David Ritz, Caroline Howe reported Tuesday for Britain's Daily Mail Online that Jet and Ebony magazines were tools the Queen of Soul used to create the image she desired. "Franklin liked to create a narrative about her life, especially in the pages of Jet magazine, the weekly targeted towards African-American readers. It made her a frequent cover girl, but some of the stories were part of how she saw her life as a soap opera," the publication reported. Howe also wrote, "She tried to bury rumors about going crazy and having breakdowns by using Jet Magazine to clean up her image, something she had done for decades. . . ."

"A new video ad titled 'No Honor in Racism' denounces the name of the Washington Redskins, comparing it to other racial slurs," the Grio reported on Thursday. "The video is a joint project between Red Circle Agency and the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media. The 30-second spot was uploaded to YouTube and starts with a black woman staring at the camera and saying, 'I am a N*****.' . . ."

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"After allegations of rape resurfaced, The Queen Latifah Show has opted not to have comedian Bill Cosby on the show," Philiana Ng reported Thursday for the Hollywood Reporter. "Cosby, prepping a stand-up comedy tour, was originally scheduled to appear on the daytime talk show, but has postponed an interview with Queen Latifah two weeks after comedian Hannibal Buress called the 77-year-old comedian 'a rapist' during an Oct. 16 Philadelphia show. . . ."

"Edna Schmidt returns to Univision Chicago… but this time, as part of a story," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday on her Media Moves site. "Starting next Monday, November 3, the station will be running a 5-part series with a half-hour Saturday special about women and alcoholism, and Edna is the centerpiece. Edna, the founding anchor of Univision Chicago's newscast, shares her story about her own struggles with alcohol on 'Mi Verdad: Edna Schmidt.' . . ." 

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"Veteran broadcaster Rafa 'El Alcalde' Hernández Brito will be doing the play-by-play Spanish-language narration of the Cleveland Cavaliers 2014-15 regular and post-season games," Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday on her Media Moves site. "This will mark the first time in club history that Cavs games will be broadcast in a second language. . . ."

Sean Jensen, former Chicago Bears/NFL beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, was last in this space in December, when he became executive editor of a Minneapolis-based startup sports site, Thrive Sports. Jensen started in September as an NFL columnist for the Bleacher Report and in October as a columnist for RantSports.

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The French-American Foundation is accepting submissions for its third annual Immigration Journalism Award for best immigration reporting, the first of its kind to honor excellence in coverage of immigration worldwide. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 13.

In Mexico, "Jesús Antonio Gamboa Urías, a journalist and editor of the weekly online news site Nueva Prensa, was found dead last week in the north-western state of Sinaloa, considered one of Mexico's most violent regions," the International Press Institute reported on Thursday.

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"Two Cameroonian journalists face military court charges of failure to report a destabilization plot," Reporters Without Borders reported on Wednesday. "Journalists Felix Cyriaque Ebole Bola of the daily Mutations and Rodrigue Tongue of Le Messager, were charged following a 28 October military court hearing in Yaoundé with 'non-denunciation' of facts potentially endangering state security. Baba Wamé, a former journalist and professor was accused of the same charges. . . ."

Reporters Without Borders Tuesday joined Journalist in Danger, its local partner, in calling for a thorough investigation into a shooting attack on a TV cameraman in the eastern Congolese city of Goma on Oct. 25. The local group said reporter/cameraman Philémon Gira "was clearly the victim of a targeted attack because of his work as a journalist. JED calls on the authorities to take this threat seriously in a province that has become a minefield for media personnel, one where ten journalists have been killed in the past decade."

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The U.S. State Department said it was "deeply concerned by the October 27 sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn to three years in prison for 'provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information.' "Temesgen becomes the first journalist who's accused and found guilty only for what he's written in a newspaper," lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told William Davison of Bloomberg News on Oct. 14. "The evidence was only his writing, nothing else." 

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