Florida A&M University
Florida A&M University

Adviser Reportedly Cites Prospect of "Negative" Stories

"The editor of the student newspaper at Florida A&M University learned via email today that he's being replaced," Michael Koretzky reported Wednesday for the Southern Drawl, a blog of the Society of Professional Journalists. "This is the totality of that email …


"Thank you for submitting your application for the editor-in-chief of The FAMUan for the Spring 2013 semester. It was a pleasure to interview with you on Jan. 22, 2013. I regret to inform you that after careful consideration I have selected another applicant. Best wishes in your future endeavors.

"It was written by Kanya Stewart, the new Famuan adviser who still hasn't been formally announced as the replacement for the fired Andrew Skerritt. [Skerritt remains on the faculty.]


Karl Etters, "being a quality journalist, searched out Stewart for illumination. 'She explained that I was not the best fit for the job because I didn't fit into the vision of The Famuan,' he told me. And what's that vision?

"She said my answer about holding the administration accountable and publishing 'negative' stories as she called it — which I did not say in the interview — was not in the vision of the paper.


"I tried to reach Stewart to see if Etters is describing her vision correctly, but she hasn't returned calls to two separate phone numbers in her name. . . ."

The Student Press Law Center reported, "Etters said he does not know who the new editor is, but believes at least one other person applied for the position. Stewart could not be reached for comment. Journalism school Dean Ann Kimbrough declined to comment on the selection of the new editor or adviser.


"Stewart confirmed in a tweet she posted Tuesday that the paper will resume publishing on Jan. 30, almost two weeks after Kimbrough suspended the paper's publishing and removed the paper's adviser. Editors were told then that they would have to take part in training sessions and reapply for their positions.

"Etters said he was disappointed but not surprised to learn he was not rehired. He served as the paper's top editor last semester and in December, reapplied and was hired to serve for this semester as well.


" 'To me it seems like this was all a ruse to put somebody else as editor,' Etters said. 'That's how it feels. A horse is a horse no matter which way you look at it.' "

"He said he asked Stewart for feedback as to why he was not rehired Wednesday afternoon.


" 'The short answer is I didn't fit into the vision of the paper,' Etters said, noting that Stewart objected to one of the answers he gave in his interview.

" 'I said something along the lines of 'we publish the truth whether it's positive or negative, good or bad,' he said. 'She said that she didn't like my answer about negative stories. … I would never say that's a goal, writing negative stories. But holding people accountable doesn't constitute negative stories.' "


Kimbrough and Stewart could not be reached for comment.

Valerie White, the director of the Division of Journalism who fought student censorship as leader of the Black College Communication Association, told Journal-isms by email Thursday:

"Concerning the issues at hand, there isn't much I can say right now due to the lawsuit, FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] and privacy concerning personnel matters." A libel lawsuit was filed in December by a former Marching 100 drum major.


"I wrote a note to faculty on Jan. 16 urging them to refer all requests for comments to the Office of Communications or the University General Counsel. The new adviser was announced in that communication to faculty and to students at the training on Friday. I understand that Kanya Simon Stewart spoke and entertained questions. I was away on family medical leave.

"The decision to delay the first issue of The Famuan was made in an effort to preserve The Famuan, but a few students made it about them instead of seeing the big picture.


"Some of the information that has been reported is not true. And the truth will come out, but not right now due to pending litigation."

After the administration "delayed" publication until Jan. 30, the Famuan students published online, calling their product Ink and Fangs. They also attended the training the administration mandated. Etters confirmed by telephone the quotes he gave to SPJ and the Student Press Law Center and said he planned to continue Ink and Fangs.


"Maybe once a week, post a few things there," he said, "provide another outlet for journalism students." Etters said he had made a conscious effort not to write about the Famuan situation on the site.  "It didn't seem like the right thing," he said. He thought he would be "taking the high road."

Detroit City Hall Reporter Taken Off Beat After Affair

"The Detroit News has removed its veteran city hall reporter from his beat following allegations that he was having an affair with the ex-wife of state Treasurer Andy Dillon and then threatened to kill her with a baseball bat, sources at the newspaper and Lansing confirmed today," Steve Neavling reported Wednesday for the blog Motor City Muckrake.


Detroit News Executive Editor Donald Nauss confirmed for Journal-isms by telephone that Leonard Fleming, who once competed with Neavling as a city hall reporter, "was reassigned last week. We haven't figured out a spot for him," Nauss said. "We're temporarily putting him in the general assignment pool." Nauss said that he could not discuss personnel issues and that Fleming was on vacation.

Neavling, who was fired in April from the Detroit Free Press, continued, "The allegations are serious, for one, because reporter Leonard Fleming was closely covering Dillon's office as it negotiated a controversial state takeover of Detroit City Hall. Fleming continued to report on Dillon's takeover plan until at least last month, when editors learned of the affair.


"In the meantime, Fleming's relationship with Carol Dillon apparently went sour, and he began harassing her and even sent her a picture of his penis, according to a personal protection order granted to her two weeks ago. . . ."

NBC News, CNN Most-Watched During Inauguration

"The Nielsen ratings are in, and NBC News and CNN were the big winners on Inauguration Day," Dylan Byers reported Tuesday for Politico.


"NBC News was the most-watched broadcast or cable television network, drawing an average of 5.081 million viewers during its 10am - 4:30pm broadcast, according to Nielsen ratings provided by NBC. CBS News averaged 3.671 million; ABC News averaged 3.922 million*.

"On cable, CNN scored an average 1.923 million total viewers throughout the day, 3.573 million total viewers in primetime, and 3.136 million viewers during President Obama's address, according to Nielsen numbers provided by CNN. Fox News averaged 1.104 million during the day, 1.666 million in primetime, and 1.316 million during the address. MSNBC averaged 1.095 million viewers during the day, 1.365 million during primetime, and 2.273 million during the speech."


The asterisk refers readers to this paragraph: "*ABC News is now claiming 4.57 million viewers, based on Nielsen's decision to adjust the average to include the Oath of Office and President Obama's speech. We'll have new totals as soon as the official numbers for Nielsen are released across all networks."

Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times: Inauguration 2013: What foreign media say about Obama's second term


Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: Michelle, rhymes with belle

Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: In Obama's 2nd inauguration speech, a strong defense of modern liberalism


Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The most depressing day of the year?

Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review: Climate policy, act two

Anthea Butler, MSNBC: 'Post-racial'? No: with a black president, all issues are racialized


Bill Carter, New York Times: More Than 20 Million Viewers Watched Coverage of Inauguration

Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: The long road from King to Obama

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: Cornel West and Tavis Smiley upset Barack Obama isn't Martin Luther King


Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: The next rung upward on the civil rights ladder

Rubina Madan Fillion and Liz Heron, Wall Street Journal: How The Inauguration Played Out on Social Media


Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Another Inaugural Call for Bipartisanship and Involvement

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Journalists Say Obama Still Too Mean to Republicans


Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: Obama's call for citizen action

Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: A progressive start to Obama's second term

Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: President Obama needs everyone's help to make history


Colbert I. King, Washington Post: We still aren't good enough

Steve Kornacki, Salon: The first black vice president

Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: Connecting the Past with the President

Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: GOP: Stop Being Afraid to Talk to Minorities


Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: For Obama, the time has come to talk about race

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: The second time around is still pretty good — and just as emotional


Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Martin Unchained: MLK Jr. if the South Had Won the War

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: Wrong signal from the White House


Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Some still in disbelief over Obama's wins

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Obama: The sequel

Jason Parham, Complex: iPresident: How Social Media Shaped the Narrative of Barack Obama


Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: End War of Drugs to honor King

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: A brighter dawn

Sara Rafsky, Committee to Protect Journalists: New term to settle Obama legacy on leaks, whistleblowers


Janell Ross, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Latino, White Population Trading Places, But Politics Still Behind New Demographic Reality

Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: There's more to know about Sarah T. Hughes than swearing in LBJ


Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune: King would still be fighting poverty

Julio Ricardo Varela, NBCLatino: Spanish featured at inauguration, and English-only crowd stays quiet


DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Obama needs more blacks in Cabinet

Jen Christensen to Lead Lesbian, Gay Journalists

Jen Christensen, a writer and producer with cnn.com, has been chosen by the board of directors of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association as its new president, succeeding the late Michael Triplett, the association announced on Tuesday. Christensen is to serve the remainder of the term, through the 2014 convention.


". . . Since 2009, Christensen has served as NLGJA's vice president for broadcast. She previously served on NLGJA's board of directors for three terms, as president of the Georgia and Carolinas chapters and as the founding president of the Kentucky chapter," the announcement said. Christensen is also a board member of the Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition.

Meanwhile, Triplett's family announced a memorial service to be held Saturday, Feb. 2, at noon at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 4900 Connecticut Ave. NW in Washington. Visitation is scheduled for 11 a.m. prior to the service in the church's baptistry. A reception follows.


The family has requested that memorials be made to St. Paul's Lutheran Church; NLGJA, 2120 L Street NW, Suite 850, Washington, D.C. 20037;  or Hospice Family Care; 3304 Westmill Dr. SW, Huntsville, AL 35805.

18-Month Project Finds, Photographs the Exonerated

Billy Smith II of the Houston Chronicle produced a photo essay this week for the Chronicle about people who were wrongfully convicted.


". . . The stories of each of the 20 men and women in these pages, are, like DNA, uniquely their own," reads an accompanying text by Tony Freemantle. "But the one thing they have in common is that their lives and the lives of their families, the jurors who convicted them, the judges who presided over their conviction, and the witnesses or victims who got it wrong, were irrevocably altered."

Smith, a member of the 2008 class of the Maynard Institute's Media Academy, told Journal-isms by email that the project took a year and a half.


"The Exoneree Project was my story idea from the start," Smith wrote. "Tony, one of the best wordsmiths at our paper, came to me wanting to be a part of it. This was always first and foremost a photo-driven project. I tracked down all of these guys myself. We are talking late-night drives to addresses that may or may not be them and cold-calling numbers hoping it's the guy you're looking for. I did the audio interviews and each portrait is in a setting or posed is a way that tells each exoneree's story. The web presentation was produced by fellow co-worker and Photo Coach Smiley N. Pool. Smiley did a stunning job with the presentation.

"Tony Freemantle knew from the beginning the importance of this being a photo-driven project. He treated his written essay as the foreword to the images. The photos needed a entry point for the viewer and he supplied that. He also did a lot of fact checking and data work.


"As you know no good project is done alone. we had an excellent team here at the Chronicle working to make this an excellent project."

In the middle of the project, Smith's son was born three months premature and spent 50 days in neonatal intensive care.


"I am proud to say we celebrated is first birthday the same weekend the project was published."

Scholar Challenges 2nd Amendment Tie to Slavery

Legal scholar Paul Finkelman is challenging "The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery," an assertion by author and talk-show host Thom Hartmann on the Truthout website that was highlighted last week in this space. 


Hartmann's piece began, "The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of 'Country' (the Framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too."

Writing on the Root on Monday, Finkelman disagreed.

"The idea of Madison, Henry and Mason teaming up in 1787 or in 1789 (when Madison wrote the Second Amendment) would make an entertaining Saturday Night Live skit," Finkelman wrote. "Madison and Henry could not stand each other. They were political opponents throughout this period. After 1787 Mason joined Henry in opposing the Constitution (which Madison worked so hard to create), and both Henry and Mason opposed the Bill of Rights. Indeed Virginia was the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights (in 1791) because of Henry's opposition to the Bill of Rights. Henry wanted to scuttle the whole Constitution and not make it better. So he opposed all the amendments.


"Thus, Hartmann's 'conspiracy' falls flat because a conspiracy would require that the people allegedly involved talked to each other.

"This is not to say that slave patrols were not important to the South and slavery. They surely were. But the Second Amendment was directed solely at the federal government, which was prohibited from disarming state militias, and thus allowed the states to arm their militias if the federal government did not do so. Even if the amendment did not exist and the national government had abolished the state militias, the states would have been free to create their own slave patrols, just as they can create police departments and other law-enforcement agencies. . . ."


George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: NRA Maintains Stranglehold on Congress

George E. Curry: Slavery and the Second Amendment (2005)

Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Ramsey: Gun-control debate is not going away


Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: Mixed Reactions to Obama's Gun Proposals

Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Video games and violence: There's research, and there's your gut (Jan. 4)


Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: King’s message of nonviolence resonates

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: NRA's choice: Be part of solution or continue to make problem worse


Ana Veciana-Suarez, Miami Herald: NRA's new game app: Callous, tone-deaf

Edward Wyckoff Williams, the Root: Fear of a Black Gun Owner

Los Angeles Times Had Cameo Role in "Dreamgirls"

The Los Angeles Times had a role in the movie version of the "Dreamgirls" blockbuster released in 2006. Who knew?


"There's a scene where Jennifer Hudson's character is yelling at Jamie Foxx's character that was shot in the atrium," Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning told Journal-isms Wednesday by email. "There's a scene in Jamie Foxx's character's record company office that was shot in the Chandler Pavilion. There's a scene where police (I think?) come to seize records that was shot in what we call the round table room."

Christine Haughney reported Sunday in the New York Times that over the last several years, the Los Angeles paper "has rented its offices for use in the films 'Argo,' 'Moneyball,' 'Frost/Nixon,' 'Dreamgirls' and 'The Soloist.' " Haughney quoted Manning saying  the rentals were part of a strategy "to maximize the value of our real estate assets and diversify our revenue streams to best support The Times's core journalistic mission."


The L.A. Times is not the only newspaper with the idea. "While most newspapers lack cash, employees and a clear strategy for finding greater profits in the digital age, they do not lack for office space," Haughney wrote.

Online Only, Readers See What the Fuss Was About

Online readers of the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., were warned Sunday, "The artwork, which can be seen lower in this column, may be offensive to some readers." A portion of the drawing depicted a white man holding the head of a naked black woman to his groin, her back to the viewer.


"The painting that caused such a ruckus at the Newark Public Library is uncovered again, viewable by all, and the controversy around it gone," Barry Carter's story said. ". . .The huge drawing was done by Kara Walker, a renowned African-American artist whose themes deal with race, gender, sexuality and violence. This piece shows the horrors of reconstruction, 20th-century Jim Crowism and hooded figures of the Ku Klux Klan."

The artwork actually ran twice online, editor Kevin Whitmer told Journal-isms by email. The first time was in a December column by Carter headlined, "Censorship or common decency? Newark Library covers up controversial artwork."


The second time came Sunday in "Controversial painting in Newark Library is bared once again."

"The photo in has run only online and we used it both times," Whitmer said, citing the editor's note about its potential to offend. "Our feeling is that it's hard to write about controversial art without showing the artwork somewhere. I suppose that's another great frontier the internet has opened for us. If people want it, they can have it.


"Gone are the old days when a 4-column photo on a cover page was one of the only options."

Dolores Prida, Advice Columnist, Trailblazer Was 69

" . . . Dolores Prida, legendary playwright, columnist and Latina trailblazer, died this morning at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City," Lee Hernandez wrote Sunday for Latina magazine. She was 69.


"The author of Latina's 'Dolores Dice' column, and one of the founding members of the magazine, Dolores was a part of our Latina family and our hearts are heavy this morning as we report the news of her passing.

" 'In many ways, Dolores was the heart and soul of the magazine,' said Damarys Ocaña Perez, Latina's executive editor. 'She loved helping Latinas understand their self-worth and potential whether it was through her column's combination of witty and wise advice or by helping those of us putting together each magazine issue stay true to our mission of celebrating Latina life and accomplishments. She was an irreplaceable mentor and friend,' she said, adding that Prida received hundreds of letters a month and readers mentioned time and again 'how Dolores Dice was the first feature they turned to each month.'


"Last night, hours before she passed away, Prida attended a party for a group called LIPS — a journalism and advocacy group for Latinas that had been meeting for 20 years. . . . "

Damarys Ocaña, Latina: Latina's Executive Editor on Remembering Dolores Prida, Columnist & Latina Family Member


Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN: Dolores Prida, Latina 'Dear Abby,' dies

Clinkscales' "Shadow League" Sports Site Launches

Keith Clinkscales, the entrepreneur and former magazine publisher and ESPN executive, announced Wednesday he had launched the Shadow League, a digital sports platform he promised in June.


". . . ESPN announced a relationship with The Shadow League that consists of funding as well as the potential to develop various content opportunities. The Shadow League remains an independent company with its own editorial voice," an announcement said.

The site is "led by editor in chief Vincent Thomas ('The Black Quarterback Is Dead'), and supported by the site's deputy editor Khalid Salaam and social media editor James Carr ('Marijuana Propaganda and Mathieu'). Its roster of writers is a potent mix of veteran sports journalists and up-and-comers including: J.R. Gamble ('The NCAA Is Failing Its Black Student Athletes,'), Keith Murphy ('The Chronic: When Dr. Dre Put Conscious Rap In The Coffin'), Maurice Bobb, Michael Tillery, Sandy Dover, Kelley Carter, Michael Arceneaux, DJ Dunson and Glenn Minnis ('Is Derrick Rose The Most Valuable Person In Sports?'), and Zach Dillard. The site has featured articles from pop culture experts Nelson George ('Op-Ed: Native Son Nelson George's Take On Brooklyn and Barclays'), Kevin Powell ('An Open Letter To Rick Ross And The Gangster Disciples') and Harry Allen."


Asked whether he is hiring, Clinkscales said by email, "i have done some hiring. and Vince Thomas [vince (at) theshadowleague.co]m is always taking pitches and working with people."

Short Takes

"The Boston Globe's longstanding Newspaper In Education (NIE) program is launching a digital pilot program that is putting iPads — as well as digital subscriptions to BostonGlobe.com — into public school classrooms in Boston and Stoneham," the newspaper announced Tuesday. "This pilot program is using $65,000 of vacation donation funds from Globe subscribers to pay for 75 iPads and projectors — 50 in the Boston Public Schools and 25 in Stoneham High School." All participating schools for which student demographics are listed are majority students of color: English High (Jamaica Plain), Boston Community Leadership Academy (Hyde Park), Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (Fenway), Charlestown High (Charlestown), Boston Adult Technical Academy (Dorchester), Mildred Avenue K-8 School (Mattapan), Excel High School (South Boston), Community Academy (Jamaica Plain). Demographic data are not listed for Mary Lyon School (Brighton) and Mario Umana Academy (East Boston).


"Al Jazeera, which is set to replace Current TV with the launch of Al Jazeera America, has posted 105 new jobs in the United States — 98 in New York City, where AJ America will be based, and seven in Washington," Dylan Byers reported Tuesday for Politico. List of jobs.

Longtime journalist and historian Ted Talbert, 70, died Tuesday, his family confirmed, Darren A. Nichols and Oralandar Brand-Williams reported Tuesday for the Detroit News. Talbert had congestive heart failure, said his sister, Edna Bell. "Talbert was inducted into Michigan's Journalism Hall of Fame in 2000. He is credited with producing some of the best documentaries in the country," Nichols and Brand-Williams wrote. 


 "James Earl Jones is back to intoning 'This is CNN' for the cable news channel after a long absence," Brent Lang reported Tuesday for the Wrap. "The Oscar-nominee and voice of Darth Vader was a mainstay of the network for years, but his voice hasn't been used between commercial interruptions for awhile. It will once again be a staple of CNN thanks to Jeff Zucker."

"The nonprofit Vision Maker Media is partnering American Indian and Alaska Native college students with Public Television stations for summer internships, a great opportunity for Native Americans to get a toehold in a media landscape traditionally bereft of Native perspective," Alec Luhn reported Monday for the Nation. "The nonprofit, which receives funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will select undergraduate and graduate students to complete a 10-week paid internship at a Public Television station in the US."


In Mexico City, "Televisa president Emilio Azcarraga said his network is aiming to provide English-language content for a new channel that brings together its U.S. partner Univision and ABC News," John Hecht reported Tuesday for the Hollywood Reporter.

The Buffalo News Wednesday put out a call for candidates for its 2013 diversity advisory board "to provide feedback on the paper's coverage of minorities. The board will meet quarterly or more with News editors and reporters to discuss news coverage and offer ideas. Membership will be for one year." Columnist Rod Watson told Journal-isms by email, "They critique our coverage, provide story ideas, and sometimes serve as a sounding board on stories we're considering. For instance, last summer a reporter did an in-depth piece on the N-word and really wanted to spell it out to have maximum impact. Editors were divided, but after bouncing it off the advisory board — whose members were universally opposed to spelling out the word — we went with 'N' and dashes, as they suggested."


Rochelle Riley, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, wrote this tribute Thursday to photographer Hugh Grannum, who died Jan. 11 at 72: ". . . To me — a single woman, living in a state without family, without a husband, without her brother — he became father, brother, mentor, uncle and friend. He was the one who talked to my daughter about boys and to me about men. He was the one who shot a portfolio for my daughter when she wanted to be a model. He also was the one who taught me perseverance in a changing industry, about being your own best protector and your own worst critic. He taught me — and so many others — about excellence. . . ."

In Rapid City, S.D., "Bill Clayton, the Rapid City council member charged with making racist comments, publicly apologized Tuesday night to a black television reporter for questioning her citizenship and suggesting she be deported to Kenya during a telephone interview," Aaron Orlowski reported Wednesday for the Rapid City Journal. "He also said in his apology at the city council meeting that he was unaware of Taisha Walker's race when he made the statements during the interview about an August 2012 vote on property taxes."


"Kenyan authorities must hold to account soldiers with the General Service Unit, Kenya's paramilitary force, in connection with their reported assault of two journalists on Sunday," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday. "Dennis Okeyo, a photographer for the Daily Nation, and John Otanga, a cameraman for Nation TV, said they were attacked by GSU soldiers while they were attempting to cover politically motivated clashes in Kibera, a neighborhood in Nairobi, according to news reports and local journalists. . . ."

"A former Thai magazine editor was jailed for 10 years on Wednesday for insulting the royal family under the country's draconian lese-majeste law, a sentence that drew condemnation from international rights groups and the European Union," Amy Sawitta Lefevre reported for Reuters. "Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of publishing articles defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 when he was editor of a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. . . ."


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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