Read more of The Root's Trayvon Martin coverage here.
Update: ESPN Sunday reversed its decision not to allow employees who tweet to post photos of themselves wearing hoodies in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida youth killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
"It's a tragic situation that has led to much thoughtful discussion throughout the company," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told Journal-isms. "As a result, in this circumstance, we have decided to allow this particular expression of human sympathy."
On Friday, Krulewitz cited the network's social media policies in warning ESPN staffers.
"We completely understand the strong feelings involved," he said then. "Our decision is in keeping with our long-standing policy for ESPN content [PDF]. There are other avenues for our people to represent issues outside of sports beyond ESPN Twitter feeds."
Not everyone complied. On Saturday, Michael Smith, NFL reporter for ESPN, was still shown wearing a hoodie on his Twitter account.
Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade changed his Twitter avatar, or profile picture, to a shot of himself in a hooded sweatshirt on Friday, Miami's WFOR-TV reported. "He also used the hashtags hoodies, stereotype, trayvonmartin in the post with the photo. . . . A little after 1:30 p.m, the entire Miami Heat team followed suit and posted a picture of the team in hoodies.
"The team picture was released on LeBron James’ Twitter account with the hashtag, #WeAreTrayvonMartin."
When some ESPN journalists apparently tried to follow suit, they were told not to do so by their employer.
Meanwhile, Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera, drew strong criticism when he cautioned parents and children that, "His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman did."
"Remember when my friend and colleague the estimable Juan Williams got fired from NPR for saying that Muslims formally garbed freaked him out at airports?" he wrote. "Juan is among America's sharpest commentators. He wasn't justifying his reaction, he was copping to it. Maybe shock therapy or a semester of sensitivity training could change it, otherwise it is what it is.
"No one black, brown or white can honestly tell me that seeing a kid of color with a hood pulled over his head doesn’t generate a certain reaction, sometimes scorn, often menace.
"When you see that kid coming your way, unless you specifically recognize him you are thinking ghetto or ghetto wannabe high-style or low-brow wise-ass. Pedestrians cross the street to avoid black or brown hoodie wearers coming their way.
"Because this is a teachable moment let me speak plainly.
"Whatever Reverends [Al] Sharpton and [Jesse L.] Jackson say in Florida Friday, after listening to the 911 tapes and hearing the witness’ testimonials, I believe Trayvon Martin would be alive today but for his hoodie."
Chris Ariens wrote for TVNewser, "Rivera’s remarks on TV, which he first expressed in a Tweet last night, immediately drew fire in the Twittersphere and have made him a worldwide trending topic. Fox News Rivera says even his son Cruz — who he 'constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles' — disagrees with his position."
And soon enough, an old photo of Rivera himself wearing a hoodie surfaced.
Donna Britt, a former Washington Post columnist, found the hoodie issue raised Thursday when she discussed her recent memoir, "Brothers (& Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving," which suddenly had a tragic news peg in Martin's slaying by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watchman.
Britt's book, published in December, examines how the killing of her brother Darrell by a white policeman 30 years ago has affected her relationships with the men in her life.
Britt, in Washington, appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" Thursday with her sons Justin and Darrell Britt-Gibson, by telephone from Los Angeles.
Justin Britt-Gibson told host Steve Inskeep: ". . . it's gotten a lot better, but I feel like the more things change the more they stay the same. And, um — you know, having my little brother and having to worry about him, you know, walking down the street wearing a hoodie, is something I was talking, yesterday, about the Trayvon Martin situation. And somebody asked me, like, are you surprised by it? And to answer that question, am I hurt? Absolutely. Does my heart break? Without a doubt. But am I surprised? No. And I think that's part of the bigger problem."
Britt also appeared Thursday on PBS "NewsHour" and is scheduled Monday for "The Diane Rehm Show," which originates on Washington's WAMU and airs nationally on NPR.
Another black journalist who is mother of a son, freelancer Mary C. Curtis, appeared on Public Radio International's "To the Point" to discuss her essay in the "She the People" section of washingtonpost.com, headlined, "Trayvon Martin should be every mother’s son." That the story bubbled up from social media and was publicized early by such African Americans as Don Lemon of CNN and Sharpton on MSNBC "is a good argument for making sure there is more diversity in decision making in media," she said.
In a story Thursday in the Christian Science Monitor, Daniel B. Wood quoted an academician agreeing that black journalists played a crucial role in gaining the Florida case national attention.
Maurice Hall, chair of the communication department at Villanova University about 18 miles from Philadelphia, "cites four in particular: Trymaine Lee at the Huffington Post; Charles Blow of The New York Times; Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post; and Tulane University professor Melissa Harris-Perry, who has appeared on MSNBC," Wood wrote, counting Harris-Perry among the journalists.
BET News announced that it would air a half-hour special, “Shoot First: The Tragedy of Trayvon Martin" on Monday at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
CNN is severely cutting back the staff that puts together the "In America" documentaries that began with "Black in America" and "Latino in America," and those who remain must reapply for their jobs, sources at the network told Journal-isms on Friday.
A CNN spokeswoman would not respond to a question about the number of cuts, saying only in an email, "The In America series, including Black In America and Latino in America, will continue. In addition, we are expanding the In America section on CNN.com, to ensure even more multicultural coverage within CNN.com reporting."
Alex Weprin reported Thursday for TVNewser that CNN laid off "dozens of employees" in its two documentary units.
"In a statement, the channel says that while it will continue to produce in-house docs — such as the 'In America' series — much of its long-form journalism will now come from outside production companies.
"The reorganized unit will have one documentary team focused on producing and acquiring docs, and a second team dedicated to investigative reporting on weekdays."
The inaugural "Black in America" series, shown in July 2008, drew 13 million viewers. In 2010, its host, Soledad O'Brien, was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. "Latino in America" aired in 2009 and "Gay in America" in 2010. The series continued with other "Black in America" topics.
Mark Nelson, vice president and senior executive producer for CNN Productions, said the project was born of the channel's diversity initiative, Felicia R. Lee reported in 2008 for the New York Times.
"The channel's executives concluded that too many reports in the news media about black lives were told in mostly negative snippets and deserved a bigger platform. 'What's a more complex story in America than race?' Mr. Nelson asked."
"TVNewser has learned Bloomberg TV has laid off up to 30 reporters, producers, associate producers, editors and other staffers this morning as the company shifts to a digital-centric newsroom," Chris Ariens wrote Thursday for TVNewser.
"As TV employees are cut, Bloomberg plans to add 13 new positions and create a Digital Video Desk focused on moving video productions to web platforms, including tablets, smartphones and desktops. Among those let go[:] Cris Valerio, a San Francisco-based technology reporter and host of the weekly show 'Venture,' which was canceled last year."
The number of African-American male journalists who have been fired, laid off or made to resign recently — Sunni Khalid of public radio station WYPR in Baltimore is the latest example — prompted an inquiry to Wil LaVeist, a Hampton, Va., journalist whose 2006 firing from Johnson Publishing Co. led to his self-published 2008 paperback, Fired Up: How to Win When You Lose Your Job.
"My advice to all journalists, but specifically black men who have been fired, is to lock in on 'Me Inc.' Don't spend too much time focusing on whether you've been treated unfairly, unless of course you have a legal case. That's wasted energy.
"For black men, there's no time to pout about 'the burden of being a black man in America.' Besides, blacks and other people of color who have influence in newsrooms are often involved in firing or not standing up for fellow minorities on the chopping block, so pouting is a waste of your energy.
"If you have a young family like I did in 2006 when I got fired (a wife and two of my three children still in high school), plus a mortgage to pay and lights to keep on in your house, you know that failure is not an option. All eyes are on you.
"Take inventory of all of your assets, including your transferable communication skills and put them to work for YOU immediately. Be open to new opportunities. You'll be pleasantly amazed by the truth of the biblical principle 'a man's gifts will make a way for him.'
"Also, do not neglect your health; if you don't take care of your body you won't be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor (or worse, you won't be around), so what's the point?
"Lastly, realize that going forward, you must have multiple revenue streams. Even if you get another job, make sure that you have a legit business on the side — a family business, perhaps. When one stream dries up, you'll still have another to drink from."
"Rush Limbaugh's opponents are starting a radio campaign against him Thursday, seizing upon the radio star's attack of a Georgetown law student as a 'slut' to make a long-term effort aimed at weakening his business," David Bauder reported for the Associated Press.
"The liberal Media Matters for America is using a past campaign against Glenn Beck as a template. In Limbaugh, however, they're going after bigger game. He's already fighting back and the group's stance has provoked concerns that an effort to silence someone for objectionable talk is in itself objectionable.
" … Ad time was purchased in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Seattle; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Macon, Ga.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The cities were selected to support active local campaigns against Limbaugh or because of perceptions Limbaugh may be vulnerable in that market, said Angelo Carusone of Media Matters."
- Bob Ray Sanders, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Talk radio a little more civil after Limbaugh controversy
"NYDailyNews.com, the fifth largest newspaper website in the United States, and NewsCred, a platform that connects brands and publishers with the world's best journalism, today revealed an online editorial section designed to serve the South Asian community in the Tri-state area and across the country," News Cred and the Daily News announced on Wednesday.
"The 'Desi News' section, accessible on NYDailyNews.com, will utilize NewsCred's SmartPress technology to deliver customized content on Indian politics, entertainment, cricket, and US-Indian relations from leading international publishers.
" 'The New York metropolitan area has seen a growing interest in news — from an American perspective — about India, Bangladesh and the surrounding Pan-Asian areas as that community thrives throughout New York and New Jersey, as well as across the country,' said Steve Lynas, Senior Vice President of Daily News Digital.
" … With a range of respected and proven journalism sources, NewsCred will provide Daily News editors with access to fully licensed articles and images from over 750 publications of interest to this growing community. The 'Desi News' section will be refreshed daily with relevant content custom-tailored and curated by NewsCred's SmartPress technology."
"Spanish-language title Siempre Mujer is aiming to expand its brand presence with the first Siempre Mujer Music Festival," Stefanie Botelho wrote Wednesday for Folio:
"The June 16th event will begin with a free family-friendly daytime program of editorially inspired seminars and activities, with a ticketed nighttime concert closing the festival. Ford is signed on as the Charleston, South Carolina event's presenting sponsor.
"Enedina Vega-Amaez, vice president/publisher with Meredith's Hispanic Ventures and Siempre Mujer, talks about the goal of the launch[:] 'It's about getting our name out to the marketplace. We're still a young magazine [Siempre Mujer debuted in September 2005], and this is a great opportunity to interface with the marketplace.' "
Siempre Mujer, published six times a year by Meredith Corp., which also produces such magazines as Ladies Home Journal, recorded a circulation of 510,765 for 2011, up 9.7 percent over 2010.
The annual Essence Music Festival, held last year over the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans, drew more than 422,000 people, in the process publicizing Essence Communications products, including Essence magazine.
A war of words between CQ Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, and its former internship coordinator might give the impression that the publication has compiled a stellar diversity record.
Debra Bruno wrote Wednesday for the Christian Science Monitor, " … I was told that out of three interns hired each semester at Roll Call, one of them had to be from a racial minority: African-American, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, Native American … It was part of an overall push to improve diversity at the newspaper, which is owned by The Economist Group."
Mike Mills, the paper's editorial director, protested, "Ms. Bruno is wrong. Our policy is to strive to bring in as many candidates from diverse backgrounds as possible, not to tip the scale in anyone's favor. Her allegation does a disservice to the many employees who were hired during her tenure."
That aside, how successful was Roll Call's diversity effort? "We don't discuss personnel matters at CQ Roll Call," spokeswoman Rebecca Gale told Journal-isms on Friday. She repeated Mills' statement about Bruno.
Since 1978, hundreds of news organizations have participated annually in the American Society of News Editors' annual diversity census. ASNE decided then, "There should be at least an annual accounting by ASNE of minority employment, including not just total jobs but types of positions held."
Results from the latest survey, listed by publication, are to be announced on April 3.
Apparently, Roll Call's "personnel matters" won't be among them.
Black Protestants and those who are unaffiliated are most likely to view news reporters and the news media as friendly toward religion. White evangelicals are least likely, according to a survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
" … A majority of Republicans (56%) see the media as unfriendly to religion, while most Democrats and independents say reporters are neutral or friendly to religion," the center reported on Wednesday. "About half of white evangelicals in the survey (53%) say reporters and the news media are unfriendly toward religion. Among other religious groups, half or more rate the news media as neutral or friendly to religion."
Among black Protestants, 27 percent said news reporters and the media are friendly toward religion; 37 percent said they were neutral, and 30 percent said unfriendly.
Overall, "slightly more than half of the public (54%) says that churches should keep out of politics, compared with 40% who say religious institutions should express their views on social and political matters. This is the third consecutive poll conducted over the past four years in which more people have said churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics than said they should express their views on social and political topics. By contrast, between 1996 and 2006 the balance of opinion on this question consistently tilted in the opposite direction."
- Nadra Kareem Nittle, Maynard Institute for Journalism Education: Media Coverage of Evangelical Christians Ignores Blacks and Latinos
In the West African nation of Mali, "Reporters Without Borders condemns the occupation of the headquarters of the state radio and TV broadcaster ORTM by renegade soldiers since yesterday and the interruption of broadcasting by many other radio and TV stations as a result of an apparent military coup against President Amadou Toumani Touré," the press freedom group said on Thursday.
" 'Whether this is a real coup or just a mutiny, we are appalled that soldiers have occupied the state broadcaster and taken control of its broadcasts,' Reporters Without Borders said. 'As it is often the case in such circumstances, control of news and information is primordial and the media are among the mutineers’ first targets.
" 'The state media are now broadcasting the same message over and over, while the privately-owned broadcast media were suspended to prevent independent coverage of what is going on. All the journalists who cannot go to work have our support, and our thoughts go out to the people of Mali, who have been deprived of so many sources of information.'
"Soldiers overran ORTM at around 4 p.m. yesterday, firing into the air inside the complex and forcing all the personnel to leave. At around 4 a.m. today, they broadcast a communiqué announcing a curfew and the dissolution of state institutions. This communiqué has been broadcast repeatedly on state radio and TV ever since."
- Elizabeth Dickinson, World Affairs: Mali's Colonel Coup Syndrome
- Corey Flintoff, NPR: Mali's Coup: Echoes From a Turbulent Past
- Mohamed Keita, Committee to Protect Journalists: With coup, quiet #Mali generates noise on Twitter
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- Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
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