Google Engineer Fired Over Diversity Screed

  • Writer Wants Attention to Ideology, Not Gender
  • Kent Johnson Dies, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Visuals Editor
  • Police Forced to Reinstate 450+ Fired Officers
  • Susan Leath Resigns as Gannett Publisher in Del.
  • LaSharah Bunting Joins Knight Foundation
  • Kimberley Martin Named Buffalo Sports Columnist
  • Trump Administration Challenges Value of Diversity
  • ‘Detroit’ Movie Not Impressive at Box Office
  • Israel Seen as Threatening to Censor Al Jazeera
  • Short Takes
As part of a diversity initiative, Google has launched Howard West, a three-month engineering residency on its campus for Howard University computer science majors, male and female. The students are shown at the Googleplex. Engineer James Damore took issue with the company’s efforts at gender diversity. (Google)

Writer Wants Attention to Ideology, Not Gender

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley,” Mark Bergen and Ellen Huet reported Monday and Tuesday for Bloomberg News.

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.’ He said he’s ‘currently exploring all possible legal remedies.’

“The imbroglio at Google is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in the tech enclave. Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick lost his job in June amid scandals over sexual harassment, discrimination and an aggressive culture. Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more women are speaking up to say they’ve been sidelined in the male-dominated industry, especially in engineering roles.


“Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo ‘violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.’ But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

“Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused Google of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of women in tech and leadership positions. It circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.


“After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News. . . .”

Levi Sumagaysay wrote Sunday for the Bay Area News Group, “while it’s true that Google publicly champions the hiring of women and minorities to diversify its workforce, which like many others in the corporate world continues to be largely white and male, the tech giant was actually accused by the Department of Labor of routinely paying women less. The government is asking the company to provide detailed employee data, which Google is fighting. . . .”


Google reported in June that its global employee workforce was 69 percent men and 31 percent women. In the United States, its ethnic composition was 56 percent white, 35 percent Asian, 4 percent two or more races, 4 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black.

John Blackstone, CBS News: Ex-Google employee reacts to memo on women in tech

Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report: It’s Getting Real – Google Censors the Left. And Us. (Aug. 3)


Eileen Naughton, Google: Making progress on diversity and inclusion (June 29)

Marisa Kendall, San Jose Mercury News: Ellen Pao’s diversity project shows small gains in first report


A Project By Students From San Francisco State University: Facing Diversity

Levi Sumagaysay, Bay Area News Group: Google diversity push attacked by one of its own


Kent Johnson Dies, AJC Visuals Editor

[Update: The family announced Tuesday that services would be held at Donald Trimble Mortuary, 1876 Second Ave., Decatur, GA 30032. Visitation Friday,


Aug. 11, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; celebration of life service, Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. Burial, Melwood Cemetery, 5170 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Stone

Mountain, Ga. 30083. Repast to follow at Bethel, next to Donald Trimble Mortuary.]


Kent Johnson, visuals editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, died Saturday while on assignment for the newspaper, a spokeswoman confirmed on Monday. He was 57.

Details were sketchy, but spokeswoman Drue Miller said the death was not necessarily connected to the assignment. “We’re still waiting for the coroner to do his work,” she said.


Sandra Brown, senior visuals editor, said Johnson was covering the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in Conyers, Ga., 24 miles east of Atlanta. Mike Siebert, deputy coroner in Rockdale County, which contains Conyers, said through a spokeswoman Tuesday that he would have no comment pending the results of an autopsy.

The Journal-Constitution did not immediately publish an obituary or news report of the death.


“I’ve never been in such a quiet newsroom before,” Miller said of Monday’s workplace.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Johnson attended Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., from 1973 to 1977, and Oklahoma State University from 1977 to 1982.


He was photo editor at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., from 1993 to 1995 and photo editor at the Charlotte Observer from 1995 to 1998 before joining the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August 1998.

Friends and colleagues took to social media. “I’m still coming to grips with devastating news of the death last night of former AJC colleague Kent Johnson,” Akili-Casundria Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association, wrote Sunday on Facebook. “One of the sweetest souls you could ever meet. A great friend, a dedicated family man, and a passionate advocate for photojournalism and photographers as a photo editor.


“His humor and compassion were unfailing. When I first returned to Atlanta and was getting my freelance business off the ground, he was the first to re-open the door for an opportunity to work again. My heartfelt prayers to his beloved wife Leslie and children. One of the things I . . . admired most was his love and commitment to them. . . .”

J. Scott Trubey, an economic development reporter at the AJC, tweeted, “. . . Kent was a pro whose influence can’t be overstated.”


Police Forced to Reinstate 450+ Fired Officers

Since 2006, the nation’s largest police departments have fired at least 1,881 officers for misconduct that betrayed the public’s trust, from cheating on overtime to unjustified shootings,” Kimbriell Kelly, Wesley Lowery and Steven Rich reported Thursday for the Washington Post. “But The Washington Post has found that departments have been forced to reinstate more than 450 officers after appeals required by union contracts.


“Most of the officers regained their jobs when police chiefs were overruled by arbitrators, typically lawyers hired to review the process. In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses.

“A San Antonio police officer caught on a dash cam challenging a handcuffed man to fight him for the chance to be released was reinstated in February.


“In the District [of Columbia], an officer convicted of sexually abusing a young woman in his patrol car was ordered returned to the force in 2015. And in Boston, an officer was returned to work in 2012 despite being accused of lying, drunkenness and driving a suspected gunman from the scene of a nightclub killing. . . .”

Dalton Bennett, Washington Post: Here’s how an officer fired for killing an unarmed man got his job back. (video)


Editorial, Washington Post: Police chiefs need the freedom to weed out bad cops

Sharing her personal journey, Susan Leath told a 2015 audience, “I can remember the old ad slogan ‘You’ve come a long way, baby.’ But we need to go further.” (Delaware Business Times)

Susan Leath Resigns as Gannett Publisher in Del.

Susan Leath, the only female African American publisher of a general-circulation daily in the United States, has resigned “to pursue other opportunities,” the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., a Gannett Co. property, reported July 20.


Leath was regional president and publisher of the News Journal, the Daily Times in Salisbury, Md., and 10 weeklies along the Delaware coast and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia.

“Leath came to The News Journal in 2014 from the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she served as publisher,” the News Journal reported. “A graduate of the University of Alabama, she began her career at the New York Times Regional Group in the circulation department in Ocala, Florida.


Tom Donovan, regional president of Gannett’s Northeast group and president of the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, will lead the largest media organization on the Delmarva Peninsula on an interim basis. . . .”

In November 2015, Leath, a one-time foster child, shared her personal story with the New Castle Chamber of Commerce in Delaware.


Kathy Canavan reported for the Delaware Business Times that Leath “told the crowd of 850 that her family circumstances presented many challenges, but she decided at an early age to fight through them and embrace the opportunities that life presented.

“ ‘We all have our drivers — what makes us get out of bed in the morning. For some it is necessity, some money, some status, you name it. For me, growing up in foster care, it was about breaking the cycle and making a positive impact,’ Leath said.


“After graduating from high school, she packed up everything she owned, got on a Greyhound bus and left Mobile, Ala., headed for a relative’s home in California. She attended a community college there, then earned a four-year degree in advertising at the University of Alabama. ‘I made sure I never took for granted the value of my education and that my degree was not an automatic guarantee to success, just the starting point.’

“The New York Times hired Leath for a management-training program in Florida, where she met her husband Randall. One woman let out a loud ‘ooooh’ and others smiled when Leath asked her husband to stand up and said, ‘He is my biggest champion, and I simply would not be me without him.’” . . .”


LaSharah Bunting Joins Knight Foundation

LaSharah Bunting

LaSharah S. Bunting, who took a buyout last month at the New York Times, where she was senior editor for digital training and recruitment, has joined the Knight Foundation, a major funder of journalism programs as well as a supporter of those in the arts and technology. Bunting is the new director of journalism programs.

Bunting announced the news on Facebook as “incredible news,” declaring, “I’m excited to use my passion for journalism and digital transformation to support and advance the industry.”


According to the journalism section of the foundation’s website:

We fund for impact in these areas:

“First Amendment: We champion a broad interpretation of the First Amendment in the digital age. We fund research, training and litigation in support of the people’s right of expression, public access to information and journalists’ right to practice their craft.


“Journalistic Excellence: We support the transformation of news organizations and institutions committed to meeting the demands of the digital age. We support innovative approaches to the use of technology to advance the practice of journalism and inform community.”

Kimberley Martin Named Buffalo Sports Columnist

Kimberley Martin

Newsday sports reporter Kimberley Martin will join The Buffalo News as a sports columnist later this month, Editor Mike Connelly announced Wednesday,” the News reported. Martin will be one of the few African American female sports columnists at a daily newspaper, if not the only one.

“Martin has been Newsday’s lead Jets writer for the past five seasons and was a backup Jets writer for two and half years before that. Prior to covering the NFL, Martin covered high school sports for Newsday and got her start at the Bergen County Record.”


“ ‘We are excited that Kimberley is joining a great News sports staff,’ Connelly said. ‘She knows sports, she knows football and I can’t wait for Buffalo fans to get to know her.’ . . .”In 2011, Martin was named “Emerging Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists. Hank Winnicki, Newsday’s assistant managing editor of sports, said then, “She’s a terrific writer and reporter and has handled every challenge thrown her way. This honor is well-deserved.”

Martin’s first day with the News is Aug. 21.

Trump Administration Challenges Value of Diversity

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller stood in front of a gaggle of reporters this week and declared that ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ was an embarrassing footnote in American history,” Dara Lind wrote Friday for

“He was talking about the White House’s push on the RAISE Act, a bill that would cut legal immigration to the US in half over the next decade (mostly by slashing family-based immigration and ending the country’s ‘diversity visa’ lottery). This was part of an effort by the White House, as John Cornyn said, to reopen a national conversation about legal immigration — specifically, to introduce the possibility that it might in fact be bad in current quantities.


“The White House also recently held a press conference to talk about how Central American immigrants are feeding into the gang MS-13: that they rape and murder people instead of assimilating, that they are criminals who have taken over America’s streets.

“These aren’t just messages being sent from the White House, a ‘Too Much Immigration Is Bad’ week along the lines of ‘Infrastructure Week’ and ‘American Heroes Week.’ They’re messages sent throughout the Trump administration — and sometimes, the tiniest changes are the most revealing ones.


“A couple of weeks ago, the Trump administration quietly changed the name of a grant given by US Citizenship and Immigration Services to local organizations from ‘Citizenship and Integration’ to ‘Citizenship and Assimilation.’

“The small tweak was a shot across the bow. It’s a declaration of who should be considered fully American: not just putting down roots in a community, becoming integrated into its economy and civic life, but assimilating — sloughing off something of one’s ancestral culture to take on something American instead.


“The Trump administration is reopening a conversation much bigger than ‘how many immigrants should the US admit.’ It’s reintroducing the idea that diversity itself might not be a good thing for America. In Trump’s America, diversity has rendered swaths of the country unrecognizable and even hostile to longtime Americans — largely the white voters who make up Trump’s base. Not only do they want to take their country back, but they are anxious never to ‘lose’ it again. . . .”

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’

Philip Bump, Washington Post: Why the NRA is going after the media

Editorial, Boston Globe: Trump’s Cycle of Lies

Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times: Where’s the crime in wanting to work?

Editorial, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: The Justice Department’s attack on affirmative action puts higher ed in a tough spot


Renée Graham, Boston Globe: On transgender troops, Trump misjudges the military

Roy S. Johnson, Might America actually elect another black president in 2020?


Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Lady Liberty’s impact revisited

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Team Trump’s affirmative action war: Not for whites only


James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: Here’s how President Trump should respond to affirmative action on campus

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: White House refugees, it’s time to unite to help save the GOP and America from Trump


Trevor Timm, Columbia Journalism Review: Why arguments against WaPo’s Oval Office leaks are wrong

Noah Weiland, New York Times: Reporters Not Being Pursued in Leak Investigations, Justice Dept. Says

A scene from “Detroit.” (Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures)

‘Detroit’ Movie Not Impressive at Box Office

‘Detroit’ is making a good impression on most critics and moviegoers who’ve seen it,” Julie Hinds wrote Monday for the Detroit Free Press.


“But its weekend box-office numbers weren’t impressive.

“The dramatization of Detroit’s 1967 Algiers Motel killings by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow made more than $7 million in its first weekend of wide release at more than 3,000 theaters — much less than analysts had predicted. . . .”


Hinds also wrote, “Detroit continues to show a lot of interest in ‘Detroit.’ It’s the third best box-office market for the movie, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

“ ‘We’re incredibly proud of this film, and wanted to make sure that audiences around the country could see it. It was an honor to world premiere in Detroit where the film, filmmakers and cast were so generously embraced. The box office is absolutely huge here (and across Michigan) — among the best in the country,’ said Erik Lomis, president of distribution for Annapurna Pictures, in a statement to the Free Press. ‘We have terrific reviews and strong exits. We hope the film has legs, and that the conversation continues.’


“So why did the film, directed by Oscar-winner Bigelow, (and featuring a talented ensemble cast led by John Boyega of ‘Star Wars’ fame) underperform? There could be several reasons, some because of timing and painful content, others as complex and intensely felt as the movie itself. . . .”

Dwight Brown, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Film Review: Detroit

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: In powerful ‘Detroit,’ brutality, outrage, and blind spots


John Eligon, New York Times: The Summer That Changed Detroit

John Eligon, New York Times: A White Director, the Police and Race in ‘Detroit’

Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press: Understanding 1967 unrest can move Detroit forward (July 20)


Jemele Hill, the Undefeated: ‘Detroit’ tells story of the ’67 riots only without black women

Jarrett Hill, NBCBLK: ‘Detroit’ is Going to Hurt, But It’s Worth It 

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: ‘Detroit’ film leaves a disturbing feeling of grief, nothing to celebrate


Israel Seen as Threatening to Censor Al Jazeera

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Israel should not try to censor Qatari-based broadcaster Al Jazeera (the network’s U.S. operation discontinued broadcasts late last year),” John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.


“CPJ was responding to a report on Al Jazeera that there was an effort to close its offices in Jerusalem and revoke its journalists’ credentials.

“The report cited a statement by Israeli Communications minister Ayoub Kara, a press conference Al Jazeera says it was barred from attending.


“ ‘We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work,’ Kara said, according to Al Jazeera, who also said the channel is being used by groups to ‘incite’ violence, a charge that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has leveled and which Al Jazeera denies.

“CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said censoring Al Jazeera could put Israel ‘in the camp of some of the region’s worst enemies of press freedom’ . . .”

In one of her first assignments since returning to Chicago from a tour in Beijing, CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz embedded with several Chicago gang members. (Second item)

Short Takes

For a multitude of reasons, there are no credible statistics regarding the number of hate crimes directed at Sikhs each year,” A.C. Thompson reported Friday for ProPublica. “But it is not hard to appreciate the very real fact of those crimes. Talk to a member of the faith. They’ll likely know of an incident. They for sure will know of their history of victimization. They might have a personal connection that explains the threat they feel at this moment. I spent time with three of them in recent months. I also researched the life of the American man who murdered six Sikhs at a temple in Wisconsin. What follows are four profiles, stories of hurt and worry and resilience. . . .”


In one of her first assignments since returning to Chicago from a tour in Beijing, CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz embedded with several Chicago gang members,” Chris Ariens wrote Monday for TVNewser. In the second installment of “CBSN: On Assignment,” which aired Monday, “Diaz talks to community leaders about why the gun violence epidemic continues and what can be done to slow it down. . . . .The young men we met said they, more than anyone, wished they didn’t have to carry guns. But many told us they don’t feel safe unless they are armed. Long running disputes escalate into attacks that then lead to a cycle of retaliation. They told us even if you’re not directly involved in the dispute, if someone you’re associated with is, you have a target on your back. . . .”

An African-American woman who formerly served as a dean in Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication has filed a lawsuit claiming that administrators in that college discriminated against her, and then retaliated against her for reporting that discrimination,” Conor Morris reported July 19 for the Athens (Ohio) News. “According to the complaint, Michelle Ferrier was the only African-American administrator in the Scripps College at the time that she allegedly was stripped of her deanship . . . . The lawsuit, filed in the Ohio Court of Claims, further alleges that there’s a ‘history of abuse’ in the Scripps College toward African-American women in leadership roles . . .


The Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists Monday expressed “concern over the recent release of Anchor/Reporter Tia Ewing and Multi-Media Journalist Shanice Dunning. They are both valued members of Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists. We are very disappointed and dismayed that Cleveland 19 News has decided to release them from employment. . . .” News director Fred D’Ambrosi, to whom the group’s letter was addressed, told Journal-isms by email Tuesday, “We do not comment specifically on personnel matters, but Cleveland 19 remains focused on having a newsroom that well-represents the diversity of our area.”

Divorce proceedings can be nasty, especially when dirty laundry comes out in the open,” Nicole Livas reported Friday for WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Va. “But for one local man, his breakup led to a discovery that his daughter was not his biological child. He wrote a book and is working to change Virginia paternity laws.” Journalist “Wil LaVeist spoke to Nicole Livas on The Hampton Roads Show about how he wants to help daddies and daughters heal, and break the cycle. . . .”


Associated Press Sports Editors “is accepting applications for the 2017-18 Diversity Fellowship Program from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31,” Jorge Rojas, Miami Herald sports editor, wrote Aug. 1 on the APSE website. “The Fellowship, in its seventh year, is an in-depth, nine-month course of study for working, mid-career professionals who are interested in pursuing a path as a manager (typically a sports editor, assistant sports editor or sports reporter) in sports journalism. . . . “

A diverse group of associations, including the American Cable Association, as well as media consolidation opponents and conservative news outlets, are getting together to formally oppose the merger of Sinclair and Tribune, which would result in the nation’s largest broadcast TV group,” John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.


The International Center for Journalists has announced six winners of its Bringing Home the World Fellowship, which “helps U.S.-based minority journalists cover compelling yet under-reported international stories, increasing the diversity of voices in global news.” They are Asma Khalid of WBUR-FM in Boston; Kanwalroop Kaur Singh of KALW San Francisco Public Radio; Karen Falla of Univision; Luis Velarde, also of Univision; Melissa Noel of NBCBLK; and Richard Yeh of WNYC, New York Public Radio. Last year the program had 11 awardees; “this year our funding only allowed for six fellows,” program manager Zainab Imam said by email on Monday.

Writing in the New York Times Friday, Claudia Dreifus cited veteran journalist Joel Dreyfuss as an example of “a new type of retiree, the professional who, late in life, deploys his or her training in some new way. In doing so, this person is blurring the lines between work and leisure, and redefining traditional ideas about the nature of retirement.” Dreyfuss, “a 71-year-old Haitian-American journalist and editor, had long sought to write a book about his family’s 300-year involvement with Haiti’s history,” and moved to Paris to do so.

Padma Lakshmi (Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe)

The celebrity host of Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ television show told a federal jury Monday that she was ‘terrified’ in June 2014, when the van she was riding in pulled up to a restaurant in Milton, and several Teamsters members began to surround the vehicle yelling profanities,” Milton J. Valencia and John R. Ellement reported Monday for the Boston Globe. “One guy came up, was coming toward the car, and he seemed really mad. They all seemed heated up,” Padma Lakshmi told jurors.” Four members from Teamsters Local 25 “were accused of using threats of violence to shut down the filming of “Top Chef” in an attempt to extort jobs from the show, which filmed in Greater Boston with non-union drivers in spring 2014. . . .”


Facebook “rolled out a tool this week to help Kenyan users spot fake news ahead of a hotly-contested presidential election that has seen supporters of rival candidates trade bitter words online,” Duncan Miriri reported Friday for Reuters. “. . . .A survey of 2,000 Kenyans carried out through mobile phone messaging found that nine out of every 10 respondents had seen fake news and half of consumers got news through social media, according to a study by Geopoll and Portland Communications last month. . . .”

Independent Cuban journalist Sol García Basulto, editor of the magazine La Hora de Cuba, will file a formal complaint before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Camagüey against the precautionary measure of house arrest imposed on her July 24.” Paola Nalvarte reported Aug. 1 for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Nalvarte also wrote, “Since March 20, García Basulto and fellow journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro, also of La Hora de Cuba, have been accused by the Cuban State of the crime of “encroachment of legal capacity,” according to 14ymedio. . . .”


Nine radio stations in Greece, Cameroon, Colombia, Lebanon, Brazil, Indonesia, the United States and Germany are staging “a worldwide art exhibition on air” called “Every Time A Ear di Soun” (Every Time I Hear the Sound). “Every Time A Ear di Soun is a documenta 14 Radio Program in collaboration with Deutschlandfunk Kultur that explores sonority and auditory phenomena such as voice, sound, music, and speech as mediums for writing counterhegemonic histories,” according to the website. WPFW-FM in Washington is the participating U.S. station.

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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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