Ebony Misses Deadline to Pay Freelancers

  • Union to Writers: You’re Having a Ripple Effect
  • N.Y. Times Walkout Backs Copy Editors
  • Media Unite in Backlash Against Trump Tweet
  • ‘Unprecedented Attack on Voting Rights’
  • In ONA, You Can Join as ‘Gender Fluid’
  • Australia ‘Just So White’ to U.S. Black Journalist
  • Indians Drop Fight Over NFL Team Trademark
  • Public Housing Called Enabler of Gang Violence
  • Short Takes
Ebony’s June issue (@TheBullhorn__/Twitter)

Union to Writers: You’re Having a Ripple Effect

Ebony magazine missed its self-imposed Friday deadline for paying the thousands of dollars it owes freelance writers, Larry Goldbetter, president of the National Writers Union, told Journal-isms.

“One woman was paid a small invoice ($150) that predates the current owners,” Goldbetter said by email. “Another, who was a real organizer and may have started #Ebonyowes, was paid right away ($1500), as soon as we contacted the company more than a month ago. Of all the 26 other freelancers we represent who are owed close to $60,000, all quiet.

“They were supposed to start a ‘rolling schedule’ based on the oldest invoices first. Everyone was to be paid in full by June 30.”


On May 7, Michael Gibson, chairman of the CVG Group LLC, which purchased Ebony from Johnson Publishing Co. last year, said by email, “We have the list of everyone and are working to get them paid asap. Our apologies that this had taken this long to resolve. We will pay everyone what is owed.”

Neither Gibson nor Renee Lewis, Ebony’s general counsel, responded to inquiries Friday.


On June 2, Lewis promised Goldbetter by telephone that the company would pay the writers it owes within 30 days, Goldbetter said at the time. NBCBLK released a statement it received from Ebony that said, “This organization is fully committed to paying its writers and freelancers in their entirety and should have this issue resolved within the next 30 days. . . .”

In an interview with Adeshina Emmanuel for Columbia Journalism Review published June 6, CVG Group co-founder Willard Jackson attributed the magazine’s deep problems to prior ownership.


‘It’s unfortunate that it’s gotten to this point with these freelancers,’ says Jackson,” Emmanuel wrote. “ ‘But these freelancers, these guys — and ladies — we work with them a lot and we’re going to continue to. They will absolutely be paid in short order here.’ . . .”

Emmanuel also wrote then, “On Monday, when CJR reached out again, Jackson responded via text message: ‘Prioritizing of the cash flow from the business to cover all the overhead and expenses is what we’ve had to address. That’s why payments have been delayed and that’s also what prompted the layoffs and downsizing.’ . . .”


In May, Ebony laid off nearly all of its masthead — as many as a dozen key members of its editorial team, and said it was consolidating editorial operations with sister publication Jet in Los Angeles.

Goldbetter wrote Thursday to his Ebony clients, “As we head into the weekend and past EMO’s [Ebony Media Operations’] deadline, I just want you to know that you are not only fighting for your own pay, and for each other’s pay, but you are shaking things up in the industry and shedding light on the plague of non-payment to freelancers.


“This was really reflected when the social media buzz that accompanied our press release reached 1.3 million people. And as you can see by this email chain, our numbers are growing by the day.

“Based on the very public stand you’ve taken, we have been contacted by freelancers who write for Uptown who want to fight for their money. And yesterday I heard from a freelancer who wrote this story about non-payment at Nautilus, a science magazine that isn’t paying [its] freelancers. He heard about Ebony and wanted NWU’s outlook on this for a follow-up story. And then there was a story about Latina Magazine, which hasn’t paid its staff writers in a month. For freelancers I’m sure [it’s] been much longer.


“You are all doing something that can have a ripple effect far beyond EMO and your own invoice, as important as that is. On behalf of our entire union, I am grateful for the chance to be working with all of you. We are building something that will live long past your cashing your overdue EMO checks!

“PS — I also heard about one EMO freelancer who is owed thousands of dollars and is facing eviction! They have received some short-term help and I hope they join us. . . .”


Zerline Hughes, who started the hashtag #EbonyStillOwes, confirmed that she was paid the last of two installments in April. “I did like writing for them, but that’s over now,” she said by telephone.

Ronald E. Childs, Crain’s Chicago Business: Johnson Publishing’s departure is black Chicago’s monumental loss


N.Y. Times Walkout Backs Copy Editors

As part of a 15-minute walkout dubbed a ‘collective coffee break’ by their union, dozens of Times employees facing layoffs and their colleagues marched around the historic paper’s building, chanting, ‘They say cutbacks, we say fight back!’ and ‘No editors, no piece!,’ “ Andy Campbell reported Thursday for HuffPost.


“Several Times employees told HuffPost that 109 copy editors were offered buyouts as part of a company plan to cut copy desk staff down to as few as 50 people. That revelation ― along with a bizarre interview process, labeled ‘death panels’ by employees, in which copy editors were reportedly forced to justify their continued employment ― led the desk to fire back at the company in an open letter to Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn on Wednesday:

“ ‘You turned your backs on us,’ the letter read.

“ ‘We abhor your decision to wipe out the copy desk. But as we continue this difficult transition, we ask that you sharply increase the available positions for the 109 copy editors, as well as an unknown number of other staff members, who have effectively lost their jobs as a result of your actions.’


“The buyout window closes on July 20, after which layoffs are expected. Employees who decide not to take a buyout will have an opportunity to apply for other jobs within the company, staffers confirmed with HuffPost. Those applying for other jobs will be interviewed, but it isn’t clear how many jobs are available to them. . . .”

Diana Moskovitz, Deadline: The New York Times Is Killing Its Soul

New York Times: Reader Center: Ask Dean Baquet About Changes in Editing at The Times


NewsGuild of New York: New York Times Reporters Join Fight in Solidarity With Copy Editors

Friday’s cover of the Daily News in New York

Media Unite in Backlash Against Trump Tweet

President Trump’s extraordinary attack on the television host Mika Brzezinski on Thursday capped a week of mounting acrimony between the White House and the press,” Michael M. Grynbaum reported Thursday for the New York Times.


“But at a moment when the news media is increasingly fractured, the personal and crude nature of Mr. Trump’s Twitter remarks about Ms. Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ proved to be an equal-opportunity stunner, sparking a backlash that spanned the news industry’s usual divides.

“Shortly before 9 a.m., Mr. Trump taunted Ms. Brzezinski and her co-host and fiancé, Joe Scarborough, as ‘low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe’ and described a meeting with Ms. Brzezinski in which, the president claimed, ‘she was bleeding badly from a face-lift.’


“The coarseness of his remark — which echoed previous instances in which the president attacked prominent women, including the anchor Megyn Kelly and the Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, about their physical appearance — drew rebukes even within the bulwarks of the Trump-friendly news media. . . .”

In a follow-up Friday, Grynbaum reported, “Mr. Scarborough told his viewers that the White House had urged him to seek Mr. Trump’s forgiveness for critical coverage, lest The [National] Enquirer, which is controlled by a Trump ally, run a story detailing his involvement with Ms. Brzezinski . . . .”Mr. Trump fired back on Twitter that it was Mr. Scarborough who asked him to quash the story. ‘I said no!’ the president wrote.


“The bizarre back-and-forth, which has drawn blanket coverage on cable news, left Washington veterans stupefied. . . .”


‘Unprecedented Attack on Voting Rights’

Four things happened yesterday that pose a grave danger to voting rights,” Ari Berman wrote Friday for the Nation.


“1. The House Appropriations Committee voted to defund the Election Assistance Commission, the only federal agency that helps states make sure their voting machines aren’t hacked. . . .

“2. The Department of Justice sent a letter to all 50 states informing them that ‘we are reviewing voter registration list maintenance procedures in each state covered by the NVRA [National Voter Registration Act]’ and asking how they plan to remove voters from the rolls. While this might sound banal, it’s a clear instruction to states from the federal government to start purging the voting rolls. . . .


“3. The White House commission on election integrity, led by vice chair Kris Kobach, also sent a letter to 50 states asking them to provide sweeping voter data . . .

“4. The Trump administration named Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation as a member of the commission, who’s done more than anyone other than Kobach to spread the myth of voter fraud and enact suppressive policies. . . .


“All four of these actions would be disturbing on their own, but taken together they represent an unprecedented attack on voting rights by the Trump administration and Republican Congress. The actions by Kobach, in particular, appear to mark the beginning of a nationwide voter-suppression campaign, based on spreading lies about voter fraud to justify enacting policies that purge the voter rolls, and make registration and voting more difficult. . . .”

Officials from California to Mississippi called the commission’s sweeping request for the personal and public data “an overreach and more than 20 states declared they would not comply,” Michael Wines reported Friday for the New York Times.


The Pew Research Center reported Wednesday that 59 percent of respondents believe “that everything possible should be done to make it easy for every citizen to vote.” At 79 percent, blacks agreed with the statement more than Hispanics, at 64 percent, and whites, 54 percent.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Trump’s Obama Obsession

Bill Bramhall, Daily News, New York: Trump’s Words of Wisdom (cartoon)

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Trump’s ‘Morning Joe’ tweet shows his ‘viciousness’ has no limit


Lizzie Crocker, Daily Beast: First Megyn, Now Mika: President Trump’s Weird Obsession With Bleeding Women

Jarvis DeBerry, nola.com | Times-Picayune: Trump’s ‘Morning Joe’ tweet is more evidence he’s a thin-skinned bully


Editorial, Daily News, New York: The ugly American President: Donald Trump’s tweet-rant against Mika and Joe reaches new low

Editorial, Miami Herald: POTUS vs. media in most vile terms

Editorial, New York Times: President Trump, Melting Under Criticism

Editorial, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Kill the gerrymander

Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair: Exclusive: Mika Speaks! A Day After Trump’s Horrific Tweet, Brzezinski Reveals How It All Went Down


Ryan Grim and Lee Fang, the Intercept: Here’s the Audio of Donald Trump’s Private RNC Fundraiser at His Own Hotel

Jenavieve Hatch, HuffPost Black Voices: Obama Photographer Reminds Us What A President Who Respects Women Looks Like


A.J. Katz, TVNewser: Chuck Todd Attacks the Trump Administration For its ‘War on the Press’

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: CBC Not Buying Trump ‘Brands’

Susan Page and Emma Kinery, USA Today: Poll: How are we feeling about Washington? Try ‘alarmed’ and ‘uneasy’


Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: There Trump goes again

Gabriel Sherman, New York: What Really Happened Between Donald Trump, the Hosts of Morning Joe, and the National Enquirer


Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker: The National Enquirer’s Fervor for Trump

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: ‘Morning Joe’ hosts respond on-air with authority, power to presidential ugliness


In ONA, You Can Join as ‘Gender Fluid’

Applicants for membership in the Online News Association have an additional choice in the boxes that ask them to list their gender. In addition to “male,” “female” and “prefer not to answer,” there is “gender other than male or female.”

Irving Washington

“Yes, it’s new for the membership form but it started with our conference registration last year,” Irving Washington, executive director of the 2,665-member organization, said Thursday by email. “We wanted to be more inclusive in our gender options. We looked at recommendations from NLGJA [”NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists”], and observed Facebook offers 50+ options now.


“We felt a fill-in-the-blank would allow people to add any identity they prefer. Based on feedback, we also changed it to a non-required question so nobody would feel they had to make a particular statement if they prefer not to share that information.”

In Britain, The Telegraph’s Rhiannon Williams reported in 2014, “UK Facebook users can now choose from one of 71 gender options, including asexual, polygender and two-spirit person, following the feature’s successful integration in the US. . . .”

New York Times correspondent John Eligon was in Australia filming a documentary in collaboration with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Foreign Correspondent” television news magazine. (Gregory Nelson/Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Australia ‘Just So White’ to U.S. Black Journalist

Creating change can be difficult for indigenous people, who make up only 3 percent of the population,” John Eligon reported Thursday from Australia for the New York Times. “That seems to make it harder for them to establish a broad resistance movement. The country is just so white. Virtually every news reporter I saw on television was white, as were all of the politicians I saw stumping during elections in the state of Western Australia.


“Even when I arrived on the Torres Strait Islands, the unique place in Australia where almost everyone is black, I was taken aback to see that many of the restaurants, shops and hotels were run by white people. . . .”

Eligon, an African American originally from Trinidad, was reporting for the Times’ “Race/Related” newsletter. He explained in a story that appeared Monday in the Times that “as part of The New York Times’s expansion into Australia, I traveled through the country’s indigenous communities to look at how they are confronting these challenges and the painful legacy of colonization.


“Working with filmmakers from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ on a 60-minute documentary, which will air on Tuesday in Australia and online, I heard stories from dozens of indigenous Australians who shared the details of their lives with a mix of outrage, resignation and courage. . . .”

New York Times: ‘It’s That Low Hum of Racism’: The New York Times reporter John Eligon trades stories of everyday racism with the Australian broadcaster Stan Grant. (video)


Indians Drop Fight Over NFL Team Trademark

The fight began nearly 25 years ago, an epic legal tussle over a single word: Redskins,” Ian Shapira and Ann E. Marimow reported Thursday for the Washington Post.


“But on Thursday, after protests outside NFL stadiums, vows by sports journalists never to use the word and even former president Barack Obama urging team owner Daniel Snyder to change the name, the battle petered out.

“On Thursday, the five Native Americans fighting the NFL team over its trademark registrations called it quits in federal appeals court. So did the Justice Department, which on Wednesday declared the team the winner.


“The Native Americans and the Justice Department didn’t have much of a choice. On June 19, in a separate case involving an Asian rock band, the Supreme Court declared that a key section of federal law banning trademarks that ‘may disparage’ people was a violation of the First Amendment. It was this section of the 1946 Lanham Act that the Native Americans relied upon to argue that the Redskins should be stripped of its trademark registrations.

“But once the Supreme Court ruled that the disparagement clause was not constitutional, the Justice Department and the Native Americans, led by Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo from Arizona, had little legal standing to move forward. . . .”

On Christmas Eve 2015, Trayquain Holmes was found dead on North 29th Street in Richmond, Va. Holmes was thought to be a member of the 2X gang in Mosby Court. (Shaban Athuman/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Public Housing Called Enabler of Gang Violence

There have long been neighborhood gangs in Richmond,” Ned Oliver wrote Sunday for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch for a “special report” headlined, “Why do teens keep getting murdered in Richmond? Inside the gang violence in the city’s public housing communities.”


“Multiple police officers described arresting the sons of men they’d locked up a generation ago. But between impossibly easy access to guns, a greater willingness to fire them, and social media outlets like Facebook ramping up disagreements, the situation has gotten observably worse in the past two to three years. . . .”

Oliver also wrote, “To prepare this report, the Richmond Times-Dispatch interviewed more than 30 people living and working in close proximity to the groups, including community advocates, police officials and residents of Mosby and the surrounding public housing communities.


“They attribute the proliferation of the groups and their battles to an overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness that permeates the neighborhoods — a culture they say has grown so toxic over successive generations that even the most dedicated parents describe a constant, uphill struggle to put their kids on a safe path up and out.

“ ‘If you isolate a community for three generations and remove community services, this is what it [looks like],’ said Art Burton, who has spearheaded a variety of nonprofit and community groups that put him in close contact with teens in Mosby. . . .”


Oliver concluded, “ ‘Here’s the truth: The schools are making the situation worse. Armstrong High School — our kids are coming out worse than when they go in,’ said [Craig] Dodson, who runs the cycling program. ‘Whose fault is that? No one’s. It’s just a fact of life. You’ve got concentrated poverty, concentrated trauma in public housing — then you concentrate it even more by sending roughly 950 kids from all these different neighborhoods into the same building for seven hours a day. Then you wonder why it isn’t working? It makes my brain hurt — how ridiculous that notion is.’

“There is widespread agreement that the only real solution is to redevelop public housing into mixed income communities in an effort to deconcentrate poverty — a model that’s been adopted around the country. . . .”


Separately, photographer Regina H. Boone wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review that she is returning to the Richmond Free Press, the African American newspaper her parents started 25 years ago, when she completes her Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan.

The Richmond Free Press focuses primarily on the city’s black community, which includes many people who are not covered — and sometimes seem unnoticed — by the daily newspaper. . . . When I first returned to the Richmond Free Press, I felt consumed by questions: How might we keep the paper relevant, and financially sound? Those questions evade easy answers, but they’ll power my research, and they sustain my conviction that no community deserves to be left behind.”


Editorial, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Too much shooting in this city

Shaun King, Daily News, New York: No, I won’t be writing about black-on-black crime


Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Nobody bothered to call 911

Short Takes

“Journal-isms” is seeking a copy editor to succeed Bill Elsen, who is moving on after seven years. Competitive rates. Those interested should contact Richard Prince at princeeditor (at) yahoo.com.


In the past three years, women in tech roles have grown from 17 percent to 20 percent (from 19 percent to 20 percent over the last year) and women in leadership roles have grown from 21 percent to 25 percent (from 24 percent to 25 percent over the last year),” Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president for people operations, reported Thursday about her company. “In the same period, our Black non-tech population has grown from 2 percent to 5 percent (from 4 percent to 5 percent over the last year). And in the past year, Hispanic Googlers have grown from 3 percent to 4 percent of our employees. . . .” Danielle Brown (pictured left), formerly at Intel, is joining Google as vice president of diversity.


CBS News President David Rhodes says he has no one in mind right now to replace former “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, Chris Ariens reported Thursday for TVNewser, “but added: ‘Should it be a woman? Could we benefit from having a person of color leading it? We wouldn’t be the only ones doing that right now. But that might be important as well. But that’s not going to lead the decision about what we do.’ ”

Loren Ghiglione, former dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, is to receive the Lionel C. Barrow Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., chairman of AEJMC’s Commission on the Status of Minorities, announced on Tuesday. The award “honors Barrow’s lasting impact, and recognizes others who are making their mark in diversifying JMC education.” Barrow, former dean of the Howard University School of Communications, died in 2009 at age 82.


Quotes from a keynote by the New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones last Saturday at the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Phoenix have been compiled using Storify. “Look across this room — the lack of diversity is obvious and shameful,” Hannah-Jones said.

Earlier this week FoxSports.com announced that henceforth the site would only feature videos,” Clay Travis wrote Thursday for outkickthecoverage.com. “Writers on the Fox Sports site are now out looking for jobs at the same time ESPN, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and other large site writers are also out looking for jobs. How does this keep happening? The simple truth is this — online sportswriting is a broken business. . . .”


More than half of Americans think the U.S. media reports news with a bias,” Mike Snider reported Thursday for USA Today. “The good news? The press gets a better grade today than in recent years, according to a new survey. . . .”

Los Angeles public works crews have cleaned 16,500 homeless encampments since 2015, removing more than 3,000 tons of trash,” Ben Poston and Doug Smith reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times. “But the $14-million citywide cleanup effort — increasing dramatically since it was launched — has made only a marginal difference in the number of encampments across the city’s sidewalks, alleys and riverbanks, a Los Angeles Times review found. . . .”


House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., are among members of Congress “calling on Angola to drop its prosecution of investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, whom Angolan authorities have charged with insulting the state,” the Voice of America reported Wednesday.

Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday,” Melissa Eddy and Mark Scott reported for the New York Times.


BET Networks has set a new executive leadership team, the Viacom-owned network announced Thursday,” Joe Otterson reported for Variety. “Michael D. Armstrong has been appointed general manager of BET Networks. . . . Jeanine Liburd has been appointed chief marketing and communications officer, a new role at BET Networks. . . .”

Rachelle Hampton

June graduate Rachelle Hampton has won the 2017 Walter S. and Syrena M. Howell Essay Competition, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications announced June 1. “Hampton will receive the annual competition’s $4,000 prize for a Medill student’s analysis of propaganda or distortion of the truth in journalism. Hampton’s essay, ‘Stranger Than Fiction: When BuzzFeed Dropped a Bombshell and American Politics Sounded Like a James Bond Movie,’ analyzed BuzzFeed’s decision to publish a ‘dossier’ of unverified memos. . . . BuzzFeed came under fire for publishing, and Hampton elegantly deconstructs the media debate around the decision. . . .” She is joining the New Republic as a reporter-researcher.

The proposed acquisition of Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group is worrying opponents of media consolidation. Harry A. Jessell reported Wednesday for TVNewsCheck, “In filings seeking approval of Sinclair’s $6.6 billion takeover of Tribune Media, the parties say they may have to divest stations in as many as 10 markets from Seattle to Des Moines to comply with the FCC’s local ownership rules. . . .” In Des Moines, Jeffrey Layne Blevins, head of the Journalism Department at the University of Cincinnati, wrote Thursday for the Des Moines Register that Sinclair would own and operate two major network affiliates in Des Moines, KDSM-TV, a Fox affiliate, and WHO-TV, the NBC affiliate.


More than half of the people who said they were the victim of a hate crime in recent years did not report the incidents to police,” Joe Sexton wrote Thursday for ProPublica, citing a new report from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. “ ‘Documenting Hate,’ a project on hate crimes involving ProPublica and a [coalition] of scores of news organizations, has sought to collect and report on people’s claims of victimization, from serious crimes to the defacing of residences and graveyards to bullying at school. . . .”

In 20 years of fighting for press freedom, I’ve come across some pretty awful media laws,” Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. “My all-time favorite might be Article 72 of the Cuban Criminal Code, often called the law of social dangerousness. Under its provisions, Cuban authorities can detain someone for up for four years based on a belief that he or she is likely to commit a crime in the future. The law has been used repeatedly to jail critical reporters. Police can even issue a warning, alerting a suspect that he or she is in danger of becoming dangerous. Another doozie comes courtesy of Iran and is called moharebeh, generally translated as ‘waging war with god’. . . .”


Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday it was deeply saddened to learn that “an explosive device killed French journalist Stephan Villeneuve and Iraqi Kurdish journalist Bakhtiar Haddad while they were covering Iraqi counter-terrorist operations in the Ras Al-Jadah district of Mosul, in northern Iraq. . . .”

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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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