Fire Official Out After Dissing Reporter

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Bill Pugliano/Getty
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Bill Pugliano/Getty

Mayor "Unappoints" Deputy Who Slapped Away a Mic

"Detroit deputy fire commissioner Fred Wheeler has been removed from office following a physical altercation with WJBK reporter Charlie LeDuff on Tuesday," Andrew Gauthier reported Thursday for TVSpy.


"Working on a story about filthy conditions at a number of Detroit fire houses, LeDuff approached Wheeler on the street and things instantly went south.

" 'You better get the [four-letter expletive — should we spell it out as the original story does? Tell us here.] away from me,' Wheeler told LeDuff once he saw him. When LeDuff stepped closer to ask a question, Wheeler slapped the microphone out of his hand.

"Detroit mayor Dave Bing, who LeDuff continually addressed by name in his report, issued a statement today, announcing that Wheeler had been 'unappointed.'

" 'My administration has investigated the incident between Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and Fox2 reporter Charlie LeDuff,' Bing said in his statement. 'We have a code of conduct for our appointees and we determined the Deputy Fire Commissioner violated that code in this unfortunate incident.'

"In a follow-up report on Wednesday, LeDuff recited from the fire department’s code of conduct."

LeDuff, who is one-eighth Native American (Ojibwa). worked for the New York Times from 1995 to 2007 and was part of the paper's prize-winning 2001 series, "How Race Is Lived in America." A University of Michigan graduate, he left for the Detroit News to write investigative and human interest features, then left the News in 2010.


"A man's got to find a reason after 45 years to feel it," LeDuff told Bill Shea of Crain's Detroit Business at the time. "I want to feel it."

Shea wrote, ". . . LeDuff — who is sometimes a polarizing figure among readers — always has struck me of a blend of George Plimpton's curiosity with Jimmy Breslin's nose for interesting characters others ignore, Hemingway's succinctness and Dennis Hopper's frenzied photojournalist character from Apocalypse Now, but without the servile insanity. That's probably a bit over the top and slightly hagiographic, but I tend to think in sweeping terms."


Charlie LeDuff, WJBK-TV: Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler removed from office after confrontation

ESPN Backs Hugo Balta's Race for NAHJ President

Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, said Friday he had secured the permission and endorsement of his employer to run for president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


"The nomination process officially ends on 6/9," Balta said in a message to Journal-isms. "I expect to hear from NAHJ about the guidelines (to campaign). Afterwards — it's laying out the argument to members as to why I am the best candidate for President."

Associated Press writer Russell Contreras, NAHJ's vice president for print and chief financial officer, had been the only declared candidate for president until members urged Balta to run last week and circulated nominating petitions. Balta thanked them on Friday, notifying them of ESPN's approval, and said, "now, on to Las Vegas!," the site of the Aug. 1-4 Unity Journalists convention.


Contreras said last week he welcomed Balta into the race. "I'm running on my record and expect other candidates who get on the ballot to do the same," he said. Balta, a former NAHJ vice president/broadcast, lost the presidential race to Michele Salcedo two years ago by 13 votes.

Clinkscales to Launch "Digital Sports Platform"

Keith Clinkscales, who left ESPN last year after supervising ESPN's publications and a media incubator that produced such prize-winning movies and specials as "30 for 30," is ready to launch his next project, "a digital sports platform with the unique mission of delivering sports news with the real… Insights, commentary and analysis."


"The Shadow League" will be fully launched in late summer, Clinkscales told Journal-isms on Friday. As reported in this space on Wednesday, Vincent Thomas of SLAM Magazine, and formerly of, has been hired as editor-in-chief.

"Keith is my boss. We work very closely," Thomas told Journal-isms by email on Thursday. "And that was definitely a factor in taking the gig. I have confidence in his vision and he has confidence in mine, as well." Thomas has an essay on the site, "All Stacks, No C'hips: Can Generation Y finally crack the championship code?" Clinkscales called that a preview for the site.


Clinkscales was chairman and CEO of Vanguard Media, publishers of Savoy, Honey and Heart & Soul magazines, from 2000 to 2003 and from 1992 to 1999 was president and CEO of Vibe/Spin Ventures, which included Vibe magazine.

"Currently he is producing a four-part documentary on Hip Hop, entitled 'The Message' with Jac Benson of BlacJac Productions for Black Entertainment Television (BET)," Clinkscales says on his LinkedIn profile.


"This project is being developed through Shadow MediaWorks, also home to a digital content producer entitled, Shadow Digital. SD is currently developing digital content for the Alchemy Digital Network (a YouTube Premium Channel), among other outlets. Later in the summer SD will launch The Shadow League ( The Shadow League is a digital sports platform with the unique mission of delivering sports news with the real…Insights, commentary and analysis."

Ed Gordon Debuts Radio Show in Detroit, D.C.

Ed Gordon, the anchor-host of news and interview shows whose return to Black Entertainment Television two years ago caused less of a splash than some anticipated, is turning his attention to radio.


"First two cities to get new radio show, Weekend with Ed Gordon, DC and Detroit," he messaged on his Facebook page Friday. "Look for the show this Saturday @ 7AM on WHUR and this Sunday on 92.3 FM in Detroit noon-2 PM!!!! I promise you're going to love this show!!! More cities to come. Next week you'll be able to find it online…stay tuned."

Gordon told Journal-isms by telephone Friday, "It's not a news show or a conventional public affairs show. It's like the 'Today' show on the radio." Regulars include comedian Joe Torry, judges Lynn Toler (relationship tips) and Glenda Hatchett (legal advice), and Boyce Watkins (hot topics).  


Gordon announced more in the past few days via Facebook: "Our new radio show Weekend with Ed Gordon will have a segment called 'That's My Jam' where celebrities/newsmakers tell us their favorite song from back in the day," he wrote on Wednesday. "Some of the people who tell us their 'Jam': Whoopi Goldberg, Anthony Anderson, Eddie Levert, Lamman Rucker, Vivica A. Fox and even Condoleezza Rice & Louis Farrakhan plus many more! You'll also get a chance to share you favorite song!"

On May 22, Gordon wrote, "In studio working on our first 'Star's Story' for the new radio program Weekend with Ed Gordon…up close and very personal with Charlie Wilson" of the Gap Band. "He has a fantastic story and is very candid about his life, his comeback and past drug use. REAL radio on the way."


Gordon and BET spokesman Luis Defrank said Gordon's weekly public affairs show, "Weekly With Ed Gordon," is off the schedule, but that Gordon would be part of BET's political convention coverage.

Gordon said he is producing the radio show himself, working with fellow Detroiter Gerald McBride of Voice Over Productions.


Veronica Miller, Does BET have a bias against dark-skinned blacks?

Native Press Wants Answers From Elizabeth Warren

"The campaign of U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, has done something that Elizabeth Warren, his main Democratic challenger for his seat in Congress, has failed to do for the past month as a major controversy has swirled over her self-reported Cherokee ancestry: it responded to inquiries from the American Indian press," Rob Capriccioso reported Friday for Indian Country Today.


"Jim Barnett, campaign manager for Scott Brown, said in an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network on June 1 that Warren should have reached out to American Indians by now to explain herself.

" 'Elizabeth Warren has a lot of explaining to do to everyone, but I would think in particular to the Native American community, since that is the heritage that she has claimed without any evidence,' Barnett said. 'It seems to me that any time a person tries to attach themselves to a group of people without rationale for doing so, except for maybe personal gain, it seems very seedy to me.' "


The Warren campaign did not return a call from Journal-isms on Friday.

Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today: Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media (May 31)


Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Is 'one-drop' rule overruled? (May 9)

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Massachusetts’ wacky campaign for the Senate (May 21)


Jesse Washington, Associated Press: Who's an American Indian? Warren Case Stirs Questions

Denver Post Rejects Criticism of Online Birther Poll

Denver Post Editor Gregory Moore is rejecting criticism from Columbia Journalism Review about an online poll the Post conducted on whether readers agree with the "birthers" that President Obama was not born in the United States.


The poll was conducted after Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., said to supporters: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."

Greg Marx wrote Friday in CJR, "An online poll . . . has no useful purpose; it's pure junk data. When the questions are about people's opinions or preferences, that just makes for a harmless diversion, and maybe a cheap and easy opportunity for reader engagement. In this case, however, the poll involves a newspaper — an institution whose core function is to learn and communicate facts about the world — suggesting that there is legitimate disagreement or difference of opinion about what is, simply, a fact. There may be harmful consequences to public knowledge as a result. There are certainly consequences for the Post's credibility."


Marx continued, "That credibility took a further hit thanks to the paper's decision to publish on Thursday a column by Mike Rosen, an AM radio host at Denver's KOA, under the headline 'Mike Coffman was right about Obama in the first place.' Much of the column is devoted to agreeing with Coffman's statement that Obama is not an American 'in his heart,' and to pillorying the president with a barrage of culture-war epithets. . . . "

Asked for comment, Moore told Journal-isms by email Friday:

"It is silly to be criticized for an online poll. No one thinks they are scientific, we don't use the results in our news coverage and it is a fun way for readers to engage and register feelings about issues in the public square. To suggest anything else is ridiculous.


"As far as Rosen, he is a freelance columnist, who is entitled to his opinion and our readers are just as smart as the CJR reporter in making up their minds about Rosen's point of view. Much ado about nothing in our estimation."

McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed: Mitt Romney Wins Over The Right By Confronting Obama

Michael H. Cottman, ANALYSIS: Romney's Greedy Past

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Romney's Outreach to Blacks, Good Photo-Ops But not Much Else


Brendan Nyhan, Columbia Journalism Review: Journalists: do no harm!: If you must cover the birthers, here's an annotated how-to

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Romney plays his Trump card

Mychal Denzel Smith, Romney's 'Promise of America' portrays a world without minorities 


Producer of Anti-Obama Video Loses Job Offer at CNN

"The Fox News producer behind a provocative four-minute anti-Obama video that aired Wednesday and caused the network considerable embarrassment has found his career on ice," Jeremy W. Peters reported Thursday for the New York Times.


"The producer, Chris White, had been offered a job by CNN before the video was broadcast. But on Thursday, a CNN spokeswoman said that the network would not be hiring him.

". . . The video, which aired twice on the morning show 'Fox & Friends,' was widely criticized as a thinly veiled attack ad. In it, President Obama is depicted as a failed leader who has not delivered on his 2008 campaign theme of hope and change."


On Friday, Chris Ariens of TV Newser quoted Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming. "Chris White will remain employed with FOX News. We've addressed the video with the producers and are not going to discuss the internal workings of our programming any further."

John Hudson blog, the Atlantic: MSNBC Produced Its Own Anti-Romney Video in February


Marvin King, FOX Should Have No Friends After Anti-Obama Cheap Shot

A South African television station showed footage of an unidentified man defacing a controversial portrait of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. (Credit: eTV) (Video)

S. African Paper Yields, Pulls Controversial Image

Under pressure from the ruling African National Congress, South Africa's City Press newspaper pulled from its website an image of a painting showing President Jacob Zuma as Lenin with his genitals exposed.


The Vienna-based International Press Institute, a press-freedom organization, condemned the pressure that led to the removal, as did the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which called it "harassment and intimidation."

Steven M. Ellis of IPI reported on Tuesday:

"City Press Editor and IPI Executive Board Member Ferial Haffajee wrote yesterday that the newspaper decided to take down the controversial image, which had accompanied a review of a satirical art exhibition in a Johannesburg gallery, 'Out of care and as an olive branch to play a small role in helping turn around a tough moment'.


"The image had inflamed tensions in South Africa and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party last week called for a boycott of City Press until the 'insulting portrait' was removed from the newspaper's website.

"IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said the pressure City Press faced was 'exactly the type of thing we fight against', adding: 'While we understand the sensitivity of the subject, City Press' reporting was on a matter of public interest. The actions taken by the ANC — which we again condemn as abuse and harassment — will lead only to future self-censorship by journalists. Worse, it will add fuel to the disturbing belief by those in power that they can muzzle the media to stifle unwelcome or embarrassing critiques of their behaviour.'


"Haffajee explained her decision yesterday in a column posted on City Press' website.

" 'We take down the image in the spirit of peacemaking — it is an olive branch,' she said. 'But the debate must not end here and we should all turn this into a learning moment, in the interest of all our freedom.' "


"She added, however: 'Of course, the image is coming down from fear too. I'd be silly not to admit that. The atmosphere is like a tinderbox: City Press copies went up in flames on Saturday; I don't want any more newspapers burnt in anger.' "

On May 22, the Associated Press quoted Sophia Morren, a ceramicist who saw the painting defaced after she brought her 17-year-old daughter to see artist Brett Murray's show. Morren said Zuma had shown little respect for himself. "She referred to Zuma's six marriages — he currently has four wives, his 21 children, and his acknowledgement in 2010 that he fathered a child that year with a woman who was not among his wives.


" 'He's famous for all his women, all his children. I get exactly what the artist is saying,' Morren said. 'Zuma shouldn't be complaining. Really.' "

In a column Sunday, "How a painting divided a nation," Haffajee asked herself if she would publish the artwork knowing what she does now.


"I would think 10 times before publishing because this week has caused me to pause and think about our nation," Haffajee wrote.

"Our common national dignity is a paper-thin one; a chimera in parts. It is in the process of being knitted and the media holds at least one knitting needle.


"The exposure of black genitalia is still a raw and festering wound – its resurrection in any form a painful flashback to the various and many indignities inflicted on the black body from colonialism to its later manifestation as apartheid. . . ." SOUTH AFRICA. Goodman Gallery resists attempts at censoring the Brett Murray's exhibition "Hail to the Thief II" (May 24)


Charl Blignaut, City Press: Art on the front line

City Press: ANC to withdraw Spear case (May 30)

International Press Institute: South Africa Ruling Party Calls for Newspaper's Boycott (May 27)


South African Press Association coverage

Short Takes

"In media coverage of women's issues such as abortion, birth control, and Planned Parenthood, men are doing most of the talking, a new study has found," Abigail Pesta reported Thursday for the Daily Beast. "Men are quoted around five times more than women in these stories, according to the research group The 4th Estate, which has been studying election coverage for the past six months."


"More than a month after he was captured by FARC rebels in Colombia, FRANCE 24 journalist Roméo Langlois was freed in a remote central Colombian village on Wednesday and handed over to a humanitarian delegation," the French television network reported on Thursday. The press-freedom group Reporters Without Borders said that although it had tried to defuse the controversy surrounding Langlois' captivity, "it firmly condemns tweets posted by former President Alvaro Uribe after his release that were designed to smear his reputation. Accusing Langlois of 'complicity with terrorism' was disgraceful."

Jeannine Hunter, "a key player on the homepage" for three years and two months, has decided to take the Washington Post's buyout offer, Post editors told staffers in a memo on Wednesday. "However, she isn't going far just yet. The one time overnight editor, weekend editor and night desk producer will spend the next six months as a producer for On Faith," a web and weekly print section. "Before coming to the Post, Jeannine reported on religion for The Tennessean and the Knoxville News Sentinel, and she has been a moderator for a community blog and for discussion forums on While her extensive experience dealing with religion issues, as well as her knowledge of Methode [content management system] and production skills, will make her an asset to the On Faith team, it's her calm, helpful and perpetually upbeat attitude that will ensure her continued success."


"The National Association of Black Journalists Arts & Entertainment Task Force is excited to announce the selection of Kevin Frazier as the 2012 NABJ A&E Task Force LEGACY Award recipient," the association announced on Thursday. "The selection committee was not only impressed with all the successes in Frazier's daily job at CBS' The Insider, but they also were inspired by his entrepreneurial efforts, an online portal Frazier launched that covers celebrities, music, news and fashion. His site filled a void, considering that he offers broadcast quality content that targets the media savvy urban consumer. Frazier will be the first broadcast journalist to be honored with this award."

In Houston, "KIAH (Channel 39) anchor Mia Gradney, who was the focus of a high-profile advertising campaign but then disappeared from the Tribune Co. station's prime-time newscasts as it transitioned to the anchor-free 'NewsFix' newscast, has left the station, station manager Roger Bare said Friday," David Barron reported for the Houston Chronicle. "Gradney's anchor role on the station's 'Eye Opener' newscast will be replaced with a similarly anchor-free NewsFix Morning segment, Bare said."


"Thursday night Good Magazine had a launch party for its newest issue. On Friday it laid off most of its editorial staff, according to multiple sources," Andrew Beaujon reported Friday for the Poynter Institute. Among those laid off was Senior Editor Cord Jefferson, Beaujon wrote.

"Hanah Cho, a business journalist at the Baltimore Sun, is leaving the paper and headed to Texas," Talking Biz News reported Thursday. "Cho tells Talking Biz News that she has accepted an offer to join the business news desk of the Dallas Morning News, where she will cover small business/entrepreneurship and banks."


"Just 7 months after Cristina Saralegui's show debuted on Telemundo, it has been canceled," Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday for Media Moves. "The last 'Pa'Lante con Cristina,' which airs on Sundays at 7 pm, is slated for June 17. . . . Cristina's arrival at Telemundo was announced with much fanfare during last year's upfronts, months after being ousted from Univision, where she spent more than 20 years."

"NFL Network says Warren Sapp, recently dropped by Showtime's Inside the NFL, will be back on NFLN for at least another year," Michael Hiestand reported Wednesday for USA Today. The former defensive tackle said in April he was motivated to file for bankruptcy with $6.7 million worth of debt to avoid going to jail.


"The Houston Chronicle has hired Alejandro Sánchez Sobrino as General Manager and Publisher of La Voz, the company’s Spanish-language newspaper, Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday for her Media Moves site. "He will also serve as VP of Marketing and Advertising for the Chronicle. He starts the new job on June 4."

"Yetta Gibson, who has worked as a reporter and morning field anchor for KTVK since 2010, has been promoted to evening anchor at the Phoenix independent station," Andrew Gauthier reported Thursday for TV Spy.


"Throughout his distinguished career, Bob Herbert has helped shine a spotlight on the lives of Americans living in poverty — a group that is too often ignored," Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, wrote Friday for and the Huffington Post. ". . . But when Mr. Herbert suggested that President Obama has 'given up' on the idea of opportunity and upward mobility, he was simply wrong." Herbert's column appeared on theGrio on May 21.

"Long-time WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM personality Lovell Dyett has died after a long illness, the station announced on its website today. He was 77," Colin A. Young reported Tuesday for the Boston Globe. "Dyett hosted a talk show on the station for nearly 40 years. His career at WBZ began on Dec. 3, 1971, as host of The Lovell Dyett Program, which was promoted as a 'telephone-talk show that dealt with all issues affecting the black community,' the station said in a posting on its website. ". . . In addition to WBZ NewsRadio, Dyett worked at WBZ-TV, WGBH-TV, and the former WNAC-TV, WBZ said." The Globe editorialized Friday, "His broadcast career at WBZ extended into an era when black anchors become commonplace, with some among the most trusted and iconic figures on radio and television. For Dyett, it must have been a welcome surprise, and a source of deep satisfaction."


"You might remember that Jose Rios, who had been the news director at Channel 2 in Los Angeles before he became the top news executive at Fox 11, moved over a year ago to a corporate job as vice president of digital news applications at Fox Television Stations," Kevin Roderick wrote Thursday for LAObserved. "He's retiring from there and he got an extended sendoff on the air during this morning's 'Good Day LA' from hosts Steve Edwards and Jillian Reynolds."

"It's a fairly common assumption that millennials don't read print media because they're all too busy browsing blogs, clicking on Facebook links and watching YouTube videos to crack open a physical magazine," Emma Bazilian reported Thursday for "Well, a new study from Condé Nast says young people's magazine readership is actually the highest it's been in decades."


"After a public audition on NBC's Super Bowl pregame last season, Hines Ward will join NBC to be a football analyst and bring star power to its fledgling cable sports channel," Michael Hiestand reported Friday for USA Today. Ward played 14 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring last year.

"Danica Lo, Glamour’s Senior Online Fashion and Beauty Editor since last year, is leaving to join Zimbio’ as Executive Editor," Chris O'Shea reported Tuesday for FishbowlNY. "Prior to her time at Glamour, Lo was the founding editor of and before that served as a fashion columnist for The New York Post for seven years."


"New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch as the largest brewer in Whiteclay," a Nebraska town that abuts the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Lisa Wirthman wrote Sunday in the Denver Post. A lawsuit accuses the breweries of encouraging the illegal bootlegging of beer onto the reservation. "If the breweries refuse to regulate themselves, a boycott of Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors may be an effective consumer-powered solution to fix what ineffective legislation and lawsuits cannot, Wirthman wrote. "If so, Colorado's voice carries a lot of weight."

"Two Oregon tribes say they're disappointed with the State Board of Education's decision last week to ban Native American-themed mascots in schools, Ryan Kost reported Tuesday in the Oregonian in Portland. The two are the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. ". . . Both tribes had previously opposed a blanket ban, asking the board to endorse an alternate rule that would have allowed local tribes to work with schools on their portrayal of Native culture."


Hampton, Va., journalist Wil LaVeist is featuring audio of this discussion on his website: "While honoring the legacy of the late Gil Noble, pioneering journalist Earl Caldwell, and veteran editor and professor Wayne Dawkins, both of Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, discuss the state of modern journalism. Noble's New York-based TV talk show 'Like It Is' was ground-breaking and inspirational in its coverage of black issues and the community."

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