• Media Were ‘Shockingly Backward’ on Blacks
  • Tweets Show Media Are Considered Clueless
  • . . . Income Inequality, Wealth Gap Have Widened
  • Tapper Blasts Politicians Who Meet With Farrakhan
  • Unity Votes to Dissolve
  • Indian Country Today Revived; Trahant to Edit
  • Amy Holmes to Co-Host Conservative PBS Show
  • Brazile Calls Russian Hacking ‘National Emergency’
  • RTDNA Asks Journalists to Counter NRA Claim
  • Writers Union, Ebony Reach Settlement Agreement
  • NAHJ Complaint Followed by Unexpected Change
  • Short Takes
A Michigan State police officer searches a youth on Detroit’s 12th Street where looting was still in progress after the previous day’s uprising. July 24, 1967
Photo: AP Photo/File

Media Were ‘Shockingly Backward’ on Blacks

“‘Shockingly backward.’ That’s how the 1968 Kerner Commission report described U.S. journalism’s representation of Black Americans,” Janine Jackson wrote Wednesday for ColorLines. “Formally the ‘Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders,’ the Kerner report indicted news media, along with police and politicians, for their role in driving the racial divisions that roiled the country in the late 1960s. . . .”

(Credit: University of California, Berkeley)

Jackson, who is also program director at Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), also wrote, “The Kerner report didn’t call for ‘diversity.’ It called for U.S. journalism to de-center its White male view. Media ‘report and write from the standpoint of a white man’s world, the Commission declared; coverage ‘reflects the biases, the paternalism, the indifference of white America.’ This is not merely lamentable; it is ‘not excusable in an institution that has the mission to inform and educate the whole of our society.’

Janine Jackson

“For Kerner, the meaningful representation of Black people in editorial roles was not a sop, or a nicety, but a core value. It recognized that media’s White supremacy problem couldn’t be solved with a few sensitivity seminars. Inclusion was crucial as a means toward an end — media that would ‘meet the Negro’s legitimate expectations in journalism.’


“If the media industry has fallen short in Kerner’s goals for hiring and retaining journalists of color, that has much to do with its failure to take seriously that more radical charge.

“We see that failure all around. It’s there in the contrast in corporate media’s depictions of Black and White protestors, or their compassionate coverage of opioid addiction among White people compared to their pathologizing treatment of crack cocaine, or their ‘balancing’ bogus charges of voter fraud with documented evidence of voter suppression.


“Above all, it’s reflected in elite media’s continued disinterest in confronting the forms of institutional racism — redlining, job discrimination, over-incarceration — impacting African Americans as crises, rather than simply stories to (sometimes) cover. The problems that send Black people into the street, Kerner famously stated, are not ‘just another story.’ . . .”

Farai Chideya with Stephen Henderson, “Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson,” WDET-FM: Farai Chideya: 50 Years After Kerner Commission, Are Media Still Failing to Tell Minority Stories?


DePauw University: Panel of Journalists to Examine Race in America on 50th Anniversary of Kerner Commission’s Report (on March 6)

Ford Foundation: Represent! Forging A New Future for Journalism and Media Diversity (March 5 conference in Detroit)


Gabriel Greschler, Student Press Law Center: February 2018 Podcast: Richard “Dick” Prince on the need for newsroom diversity (transcript and audio)

President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses the nation from the Oval Office about urban riots and civil disorder on July 27, 1967. The next day, he signed an executive order establishing the Kerner Commission to study what had caused the riots and what could be done to prevent them from happening again. (Credit: LBJ Library)

Les Payne, National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Report

Reginald Stuart, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education: The Changing Landscape for Aspiring Black Journalists


Sandra Dawson Long Weaver, National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Report

Francis Ward, National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Report


Tweets Show Media Are Considered Clueless

“In 2016, the Toronto Star‘s long-serving film critic, Peter Howell, suffered an internet beat-down to remember,” Cliff Kuang reported Tuesday for fastcodesign.com. “In an attempt to praise the film Moonlight, he called out director Barry Jenkins’s resistance to any kind of ‘coatswitching’ — cleaning up street vernacular, to better gain acceptance with mainstream society.


“There was just one problem: The term isn’t ‘coat switch.’ It’s ‘code switch.’ Twitter flayed Howell, then boiled his bones for soup. The hashtag #coatswitch almost immediately became a byword for racial cluelessness. Thus did a well-meaning attempt to support a black filmmaker end up making its author look like a fool.

Deen Freelon (Credit: Sharon Farmer)

“This might seem like a goofy accident, readily avoided by anyone else keen on the mores of social media. But a surprising new study sponsored by the Knight Foundation, out today, reveals that the #coatswitch incident isn’t the exception when it comes to how the media [deal] with minority communities on Twitter — it’s the rule.

“And when media outlets do try to cover minority groups, they actually drive up disdain on the platform. Not only [are] hate-tweeting articles a real thing, [they] may be the dominant mode for how minorities talk about media coverage about their communities.


“The study was authored by Deen Freelon, a media studies professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (and son of architect Phil Freelon), and three co-authors: Lori Lopez, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Meredith D. Clark, University of Virginia; and Sarah J. Jackson, Northeastern University. Freelon led the quantitative part of the study.

“The ingenuity lay in the setup. To figure out the boundaries of three virtual Twitter communities — Asian Americans, African Americans, and feminists — his team pored over the hashtags used by community leaders and scraped news coverage mentioning both those groups and also containing a hashtag. Freelon then turned those terms into a cloud of affiliated hashtags that provided a rough map of the community. . . .”


The study follows up on one that Freelon co-authored in 2016. It concluded that the advent of social media has meant that the Black Lives Matter movement and other protesters have generally been “able to circulate their own narratives without relying on mainstream news outlets,” making more critical the need for mainstream media to staff their newsrooms with journalists whom protesters can trust if the news outlets want the story.

Olivier Kamanda added for the Knight Foundation, “On March 8 Knight Foundation will host a Twitter chat at noon E.T. to answer questions about the report and connect with people around ways to strengthen the relationship between journalists and these communities. And on March 26 Knight will host an event in New York in collaboration with Postlight; the event will be streamed live on Knight’s Twitter page starting 3 p.m. ET.”


. . . Income Inequality, Wealth Gap Have Widened

When dozens of urban areas across the country erupted in flames in the late 1960s, a commission appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson concluded that pervasive poverty and racism were major causes of the unrest,” Vanessa Williams reported Monday for the Washington Post.


“Fifty years later, those twin conditions are again causing friction in American society, say the authors of a new report, who include the last living member of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. The report calls for a commitment by political leaders to large-scale social spending at a time when the administration of President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress are preparing for drastic cuts to programs for low-income families and individuals.

“ ‘Healing our Divided Society,’ a report to be released Tuesday by the Eisenhower Foundation, acknowledges strides in closing the economic, social and political gaps between racial groups in America. The African American and Hispanic middle classes have grown significantly, and the United States elected and reelected a black man as president.


“But since the late 1960s, the percentage of American children living in poverty has increased, income inequality and the wealth gap have widened, and segregation has crept back into schools and neighborhoods.

“ ‘Racial and ethnic inequality is still with us. It’s a real problem and it is worsening,’ said Fred Harris, a former senator and member of the panel that came to be known as the Kerner Commission, named for its chairman, Otto Kerner Jr., a Democrat who was then governor of Illinois. . . .”


Jared Ball, imixwhatilike.org: Race, Rebellion, Reporting and Research: Baltimore and The Kerner Commission at 50

C-SPAN: 1968: America in Turmoil TV Schedule

Will Kane, UC Berkeley: Kerner@50 speakers find progress scant – and the fight against racism in peril


Katie Pearce, Johns Hopkins University: 50 years ago, a landmark report laid bare the racial inequality fueling urban unrest across the nation

At 3:15, Farrakhan calls Jews ‘the mother and father of apartheid, the

Jews.”https://t.co/WE5ys7It8R— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 28, 2018

Tapper Blasts Politicians Who Meet With Farrakhan

CNN’s Jake Tapper was incensed when Reverend Louis Farrakhan gave a blatantly anti-Semitic speech for Saviours’ Day, a national convention organized by the Nation of Islam, and it was attended by thousands, including Womens’ March co-chair Tamika Mallory. (Tapper incorrectly identified her as a co-founder.),” Rachel Dicker reported Wednesday for Mediaite.


(Farrakhan’s title is “Minister,” as “Reverend” is a Christian appellation.)

“Tapper unleashed a tweetstorm noting the time stamps of some of Farrakhan’s most heinous comments, including that ‘the Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.’


“The CNN anchor condemned not only Farrakhan and Mallory, but also the political leaders who have given Farrakhan a platform despite his views and statements.

“ ‘This is who Farrakhan is. It’s why folks are legitimately so offended when they found out that then-Sen. Obama and members of the CBC met with him in 2005,’ Tapper tweeted, including a picture of Barack Obama smiling with the reverend. . . .”


The reference is to a photo taken during a mid-2005 Congressional Black Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill showing Farrakhan and then-Sen. Obama, newly released in a book by journalist Askia Muhammad, a member of the Nation. Muhammad ultimately surrendered the disk to Farrakhan’s chief of staff so as not to damage Obama’s political career.

Muhammad reported on the speech Tuesday in the Final Call. “When they found that picture in his book, did you know the Jews went crazy,” said Min. Farrakhan. Think, he said, what have I done that they hate me so much that they want Mr. Obama to denounce me again? “He hasn’t done it yet and I hope he doesn’t,” said the Minister.


“Jesus the prophet and the last prophet to the Jews was 2,000 years too soon but I’m on time, said Min. Farrakhan. These are wicked Jews, not righteous Jews that you find in revelations, that’s what the late Rev. Billy Graham said to Richard Nixon, he added. . . .”

Farrakhan also said, “The government is my enemy. The powerful Jews are my enemy. And scared to death Negroes are my enemy. And weak Muslims and hypocrites are my enemy, but here I stand! I told President Trump, he Tweets everybody, but he won’t Tweet back at me, and here I stand!”


Isabel Kershner, New York Times: Israel Moves to Expel Africans. Critics Say That’s Not Jewish. (Feb. 2)

Final Call: Pseudo slavemasters and an assault on Black leadership (Feb. 14)

YouTube: Minister Louis Farrakhan Live — Saviours’ Day 2018 Address (video)

Unity Votes to Dissolve: Finances Cited in Quest Begun 30 Years Ago

In a high point for the coalition, then-Sen. Barack Obama addressed the Unity ‘08 convention in Chicago. (Credit: Unity)

Unity: Journalists for Diversity, the most recent iteration of a three-decade-old idea for a coalition of journalists of color, “has started the process of dissolution,” Unity President Neal Justin told Journal-isms Tuesday.

“We voted unanimously to start the process.

“We are not financially feasible anymore,” Justin said by telephone. “We have no money coming in.”


Unity: Journalists for Diversity consists of the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, which now calls itself NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.

The coalition originated with the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, AAJA and NAJA, and for most of its life was known as Unity: Journalists of Color.


However, NABJ pulled out in 2011 and NAHJ followed in 2013. The remaining members voted to add NLGJA.

After a disappointing convention in 2012 in Las Vegas without NABJ, the renamed Unity: Journalists for Diversity decided to abandon national conventions in favor of smaller gatherings. But in so doing, it eliminated its prime revenue source, Justin said.


Amy Holmes to Co-Host Conservative PBS Show

Amy Holmes

Columnist Michael Gerson and commentator Amy Holmes are teaming to start a conservative-oriented talk show on PBS that takes its cue from William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, which aired from 1966 to 1999,” David Bauder eported Wednesday for the Associated Press.

“The new show, ‘In Principle’, will air Friday nights starting April 13. PBS will decide after an eight-week run whether to continue.


“The hosts plan to interview two guests each show, hoping for an in-depth discussion on issues and their formative political experiences. No guests have been announced yet, but Gerson said he’d like to discuss issues like race, gun control and whether conservatism is the right message for the working class. . . .”

Bauder also wrote, “Gerson is known to the PBS audience as a frequent guest on ‘NewsHour’. Holmes worked on MSNBC and for Glenn Beck’s media company . . .”


Brazile Calls Russian Hacking ‘National Emergency’

Donna Brazile tells the Journal-isms Roundtable in Washington on Tuesday, “This hacking stuff is real.” President Trump should “stop focusing on 2016. Focus on 2018. “ (Credit: Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks)

Donna Brazile, who has authored a book about the trauma of being hacked by the Russians while interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, is pleading with President Trump to take the continuing Russian efforts seriously.

“Call Merkel. Call France. Call the Netherlands” and ask for help, Brazile told the Journal-isms Roundtable on Tuesday, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


“I don’t think the White House has taken any prudent steps. The only thing they [the Russians] will understand is building a firewall. Every state should get a grant to update their election systems. Call it a national emergency.

“I’m a Democrat but I’m an American. I love my country. I’m willing to help President Trump,” Brazile continued. “I am that desperate to help our country right now. My family has been there for over 300 years. . . .”


Brazile also said, “This hacking stuff is real.” Trump should “stop focusing on 2016. Focus on 2018. Make sure we have the firewall. We need presidential leadership. Without that, we need congressional leadership.”

As the roundtable proceeded, NBC News reported, “The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.”


A story credited to Cynthia McFadden, William M. Arkin, Kevin Monahan and Ken Dilanian reported, “Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.. . .”

Brazile, whose “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House” was published late last year, said she was proud of the investigative coverage of the hacking that she’d seen in the Washington Post and the New York Times. “But in 2016, it wasn’t there,” she said.


She also called upon black leaders to be more outspoken. “Trust Russian embassies to use bots and trolls to sow racial division. We haven’t heard the end of what they did,” she said. Of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who disclosed in November that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease , she said, “I miss that voice.”

African Americans of means should be investing in political candidates who share their vision, she added, saying that under Obama, the Democrats lost 1,000 state legislative seats.


Max Bergmann and James Lamond, Foreign Policy: Trump’s Attitude Toward Russia Sanctions Makes a Mockery of the United States

RTDNA Asks Journalists to Counter NRA Claim

RTDNA launches its “This is Journalism” campaign (Credit: RTDNA)

The Radio Television Digital News Association is asking journalists to take a stand on social media against the National Rifle Association’s claims that the media loves mass shootings,” Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel reported Monday for TVSpy.

“ ‘Still reeling from the NRA’s outrageous claim that legacy media loves mass shootings? Take action and widely circulate on your social media channels,’ wrote RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley in a Facebook post.


“The campaign, which aligns with the organization’s First Amendment Task Force, focuses on journalists beliefs and their contributions to the community.

“Last week, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch addressed the Conservative Political Action Committee conference telling them ‘legacy media love mass shootings.’. . .”


Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News: Gun control historically has meant prohibiting blacks from owning one

Writers Union, Ebony Reach Settlement Agreement

The National Writers Union has reached a final settlement agreement with the Ebony Media Organization and CVG Group LLC (which acquired Ebony magazine in 2016), over the magazine’s failure to pay freelance writers, editors and designers for contracted and published work, the union said Tuesday.


“This settlement covers 45 freelancers who are collectively owed $80,000 by the new owners of the iconic magazine. Six writers who were part of the original group non-payment grievance were paid-out about $8,000 before this settlement.

“According to the terms of the agreement, Ebony will pay all of the freelancers 100% of their owed invoices in four quarterly payments, starting with the oldest invoices first. Almost half of the invoices go back to 2016. The payments are guaranteed by Ebony’s ownership group, CVG, who also signed the settlement agreement.


“Ebony writer and Editor Adrienne Gibbs said, ‘This is a great success for the Ebony writers and NWU. That said, settlement agreements are only as good as the cleared checks. I hope that Ebony magazine and its parent company make good on their renewed promise to pay.’ . . .”

Indian Country Today Revived; Trahant to Edit

Mark Trahant (Credit: indianz.com)

The demise of Indian Country Today will be short-lived following a Wednesday announcement by the National Congress of American Indians that it plans to relaunch the publication and hire a veteran Native journalist to lead it,” Kevin Abourezk reported Wednesday for indianz.com.

Mark Trahant, an independent journalist and journalism faculty member at the University of North Dakota, will serve as editor of the publication, which will be under the ownership of NCAI.


“’We are excited to have Mark Trahant on board to help us lead this next chapter of Indian Country Today,’ said NCAI President Jefferson Keel in a statement. ‘Mark is respected in and beyond Indian Country for his professionalism, journalistic skills and keen insight into issues and developments impacting tribal nations.’

“Trahant, a citizen of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, has had a storied journalism career, having worked at a host of mainstream daily newspapers like the Arizona Republic, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Salt Lake Tribune, as well as tribal publications like the Navajo Times and Sho-Ban News.


“He is the former president of the Native American Journalists Association and publishes a blog called TrahantReports.Com.

“NCAI also has hired Vincent Schilling, 50, as the publication’s associate editor. Schilling brings his 10 years of experience with Indian Country Today as the former arts and entertainment, sports and powwows editor. He is the author of four books promoting role models in Indian Country and a U.S Army veteran.


“Trahant said the third iteration of Indian Country Today likely won’t include a print edition and will have a much smaller staff than its most recent one. . . .”

Abourezk also wrote, “Trahant told Indianz.Com he plans to run the publication more as a news service that will offer its content to tribal newspapers, radio stations and websites at no cost with proper credit attributions. . . .”


NAHJ Complaint Followed by Unexpected Change

Austin-based Texas Monthly, the award-winning magazine that covers politics and culture in the Lone Star State, has a new face at the helm, at least temporarily,” Cary Darling reported Thursday for the Houston Chronicle. The announcement came three days after Editor Tim Taliaferro met with James Barragain, president of the Central Texas Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists,over a mislabeled photograph in Texas Monthly’s newsletter that confused one Latino state senator for another.

Carlos Sanchez

The mislabeled photo was not cited as a reason for the reassignment of Taliafferro to the position of chief innovation officer. Rather, Darling noted that Taliaferro had indicated he wanted to move the magazine in more of a lifestyle direction and that he had been accused of putting the founder of a dating app company on its February 2018 cover in a “pay for play” move. He denied the allegations.


Rich Oppel, who had been brought on last month as the publication’s first ombudsman, is now the interim editor-in-chief.

“But that’s not all: Carlos Sanchez, recently the executive editor at The Monitor in McAllen, joins as news and politics editor while Megan Creydt, fresh from stints as a senior editor and copy chief at Grantland and MTV News, will be digital managing editor,” Darling reported.


Asked about Texas Monthly’s reputation among people of color, Sanchez messaged Journal-isms, “TM does have a bad reputation for diversity. That’s about to change!”

On the photo mixup, “The magazine immediately apologized and re-issued the story with the correction. The magazine also alerted the wire service, where the image was mislabeled, who immediately corrected it,” the NAHJ Central Texas Chapter reported Wednesday on its Facebook page.


Taliaferro “immediately responded by phone to an NAHJ representative, apologizing for publishing the incorrect photo, scheduled time to speak with NAHJ President Brandon Benavides and jumped at an opportunity to work with the association,” the chapter said.

Short Takes

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of ‘Between the World and Me’ and one of the country’s best-known public intellectuals, announced Wednesday he would begin writing the Captain America title for Marvel Comics in July,” Jonah Engel Bromwich reported Wednesday for the New York Times. “Mr. Coates, a longtime comics fan who began creating them a little more than two years ago, announced the news in The Atlantic, for which he is a national correspondent. . . .”

Todd Johnson

“NBC News has announced that Todd Johnson is joining the NBC News Digital team as editorial manager for NBC BLK,” the network announced on Wednesday. “Todd is currently managing editor of theGrio.com. He starts at NBC News on March 5 and will report to executive editor, Catherine Kim.” Founding editor Amber Payne left late last year to join Condé Nast as executive producer of the Teen Vogue brand. NBC BLK launched in January 2015. Amy DuBois Barnett, executive vice president, digital and chief content officer of the Grio.com, said by email Wednesday, “I’ll be able to announce Todd’s successor next week.”


The Seattle Field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released documents stating that immigrant rights organizer Maru Mora-Villalpando came to their attention after she ‘stated that she is “undocumented” in a local web-based publication.’ “ Latino Rebels reported Monday. “The document, a Form I-213, also notes that Mora-Villalpando ‘has extensive involvement in anti-ICE protests and Latino advocacy programs’ and that she has become a well-known ‘public figure.’ Mora-Villalpando and supporters have requested information from ICE via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to find out how widespread the practice is and whether ICE is looking for other immigrant rights spokespeople. . . .”

“The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Asian American Journalists Association, The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting and The National Association of Black Journalists filed an amici brief with the New York Court of Appeals in support of New York Times journalist, Frances Robles, in a case involving reporters’ rights to prevent the government from compelling the disclosure of newsgathering information,” NAHJ said on Feb. 22. “Robles is seeking to quash a subpoena for her testimony and notes from a jailhouse interview with Conrado Juarez, who is on trial for the murder of ‘Baby Hope.’ . . .”


A new report on diversity in Hollywood shows what the blockbuster hit ‘Black Panther’ has already proven at the box office — diversity sells,” Luchina Fisher reported Tuesday for ABC News. “The report [PDF] from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), which was released Tuesday, shows that films in 2016 with casts between 21-30 percent minority had the highest median global box office and return on investment. . . .”

Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday it was “relieved to learn that the prosecutor’s office in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, has finally decided to drop charges against Ramón Nse Ebalé, a cartoonist who has been held since mid-September. RSF calls for his immediate release.” The organization also said, “Ebalé has been held since 16 September 2017 on a charge of ‘forging money and money laundering.’ He has always denied the charge and says the real reason for his arrest was his cartoons of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. . . .”


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