The pay disparity between men and women that grabbed the attention of the White House and Capitol Hill this week has nearly vanished from newspaper newsrooms, Bernie Lunzer, president of the Newspaper Guild, Communications Workers of America, told Journal-isms on Friday.
"Likely still a small tilt in merit pay to men, but otherwise your statement is correct," Lunzer said by email. His declaration also referred to differences in pay among the races.
President Obama said Tuesday, "Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that's an embarrassment. It is wrong." However, Glenn Kessler, who writes the Washington Post "Fact Checker" column, said the figure was suspect.
"The president must begin to acknowledge that '77 cents' does not begin to capture what is actually happening in the work force and society," Kessler wrote Wednesday, citing calculations both above and below 77 cents.
Regardless, Obama signed a memorandum that would prompt federal contractors to disclose what they are paying their employees, and an executive order that would prevent federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation.
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women. Supporters of the bill, called the Paycheck Fairness Act, "say it would bring transparency to worker pay by making it illegal for employers to penalize employees who discuss their salaries and by requiring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay information from employers," David S. Joachim reported for the New York Times.
In November, the National Women's Law Center said "the wage gap is even larger for many women of color working full time, year round, as African-American women are paid only 64 cents, and Hispanic women only 54 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. . . ."
According to Lunzer, those broader statistics are no longer applicable to newsrooms. "The days of women being stuck in features and making less in the scale" are long over," Lunzer messaged. "So on its face it is likely that most issues of stated compensation probably look fair.
"Where we see merit data, it appears that men still continue to capture more.
"The biggest issues now likely go to hiring and employment generally. That is to say, anecdotally it appears that as newsrooms have lost substantial numbers, those remaining are whiter and more male. Part of that may be related to less part-time work and less flexibility in scheduling, at least when it comes to women who seem to value that more.
"We have committed as a union to not let seniority and layoff provisions hammer diversity. We’re not prepared to let management make all the decisions, but we have bargained language that allows diversity to still be a major consideration."
Asked what accounted for the closing of that pay gap in newsrooms, Lunzer replied, "Great strides were made in the 70's and 80's as regards getting one straight scale for reporters and in many cases that was the same scale for the desk. Prior to that there was a lot of differentiation for features writers and other so-called 'soft' news.
"The other major thing to change was the understanding that women could handle any beats that men could handle, even cops. As you look around there have been some truly remarkable women cops' reporters."
The Women's Media Center, which released "The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014" last week, was not as definitive. "We're not aware of any studies that compare newsroom salaries of men and women," Julie Burton, president of the center, said through a spokeswoman. "Our Women's Media Center Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014 report, however, shows that men dominate the media and hold the majority of decision-making positions. Women comprise 36 percent of all newsroom jobs and account for only 34.6 percent of supervisors. It's unlikely that the media industry is untouched by the gender wage gap. The Women’s Media Center supports all efforts to call attention to equal pay for equal work in all industries.”
Presidents of the journalist of color organizations said they had conducted no studies on compensation or did not respond to an inquiry.
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Why don't we blame women for being behind?
Zerlina Maxwell, the Grio: Wage gap exists among women too: Females of color far behind their white peers
Rich Holden, who for years has helped high school and college journalism students as a teacher and as executive director of the Dow Jones News Fund, was let go by Dow Jones, and his position eliminated, Holden told Journal-isms on Friday.
Holden, 64, had been with the fund since October 1992 and with Dow Jones for 41 years, working for 19 years as an editor at the Wall Street Journal in New York and The Asian Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong.
According to a bio, among his positions at the Journal were copy editor, day news editor, night news editor, copy desk chief, national news production manager, financial editor and senior editor overseeing recruiting, hiring and training. He has served on the advisory boards at schools of communication at Howard University, the University of Arizona, Rutgers University and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
The Dow Jones News Fund sends college undergraduate and graduate students to work as sports and news copy editors, multimedia editors and business reporters at news organizations as paid summer interns.
"In this time of Twitter and sound bites, it’s easy to resort to clichés like 'change maker,' " Dori J. Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, messaged Journal-isms. "In the case of Rich Holden that is not a cliché, it's a description. Through his work with us, the Dow Jones News Fund and other journalism organizations, Rich truly helped to change the industry. We will miss having a staunch ally at the Dow Jones New Fund, and will always be grateful for the work he did with us."
Frank O. Sotomayor, a co-founder of the Maynard Institute, added that Holden "has made an immense contribution to U.S. journalism and to increased diversity in the news media. The Maynard Institute was fortunate to have his services as a senior faculty member at the Editing Program for many years. He was a brilliant program teacher and a loyal friend to all. At the News Fund, he supported urban journalism workshops for decades, helped strengthen scholastic journalism and extended the scope of college internship programs. Hundreds of journalists today can trace their start in journalism to Rich and the programs he developed. We salute him and thank him."
Holden said he was given two weeks' notice that his job would end on April 1. "There's a lot of work with organizations that I didn't have an opportunity to do before," he said by telephone. "I enjoy working with the kids. We don't do well, but we do good," he said of the News Fund. He called the Fund one of the few remaining journalism organizations "that puts an emphasis on minority kids."
Colleen Schwartz, director of communications for Dow Jones, told Journal-isms by telephone, "We don't comment about personnel issues. The fund will continue its efforts as strong as they've ever been." Linda Shockley, the fund's deputy director, will keep her title, Schwartz said.
Evelyn Hsu, senior director, programs and operations at the Maynard Institute, said of Holden by email, "His generosity went beyond the sessions he led on, among other topics, math for journalists. For our program directors and faculty he was a counselor and wise advisor. Nothing flustered him. On top of everything, he would then take everyone out for dinner! I hope Rich will continue to teach and to serve as a mentor to young journalists. Journalism is smarter and more diverse because of him."
Rick Burchfield, Madison Patch: How Not to Get a Job in Journalism — or Elsewhere (2010)
Kelly Carr, businessjournalism.org: Afraid of math? A veteran editor's tips to ease the anxiety (2011)
Dozens of staffers were laid off Friday at Al Jazeera America, including Bernie Ritter, a senior producer in the sports department, and Julio Ricardo Varela, a digital producer for the social media program, "The Stream."
"Al Jazeera America, which launched last August with nearly 850 employees and 12 news bureaus in the United States, has laid off dozens of employees as part of restructuring," Erik Hayden reported Friday for the Hollywood Reporter. "The channel is disbanding its sports unit and scaling back its social-media-driven show The Stream from a daily show to a once-a-week program.
" 'The majority of people affected were freelancers and many of the staff either came from the sports group or from The Stream,' Dawn Bridges, executive vp corporate communications, tells The Hollywood Reporter. . . ."
Neal Scarbrough, hired last summer as senior executive producer for sports programming, told Journal-isms that he was likely to be reassigned. Other surviving sports journalists of color include anchors/reporters Michael Eaves, John Henry Smith and Ross Shimabuku, he said by email.
"Today was a tough one for us as Aljazeera down-shifts its focus on Sports. We assembled a talented and versatile team, and over the last few months they did great work," he said by email. "This newsroom remains the most diverse environment I have worked in. Today's story is about a business decision affecting the Sports unit. But going forward good sports stories about diverse subjects will still find their way on air at Aljazeera America."
Ritter was the only African American among 11 layoffs in sports, Scarbrough said. He called Ritter "a pro's pro as a producer. He will do great wherever he lands."
Ritter, who came to Al Jazeera from ESPN, where he was a coordinating producer, messaged Journal-isms, "I am keeping all my options open…I have a sports and news background…but also wouldn't mind getting into media relations."
Varela, a founder of the Latino Rebels website, said his only public comment would be his tweet, "To all my @AJAMStream @AJStream family, ¡los quiero mucho! Love you all. #Paz #Peace."
"Harry S. McAlpin made history in February 1944 when he became the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House," Lesley Clark wrote Thursday for the McClatchy newspapers' Washington Bureau.
"Time magazine and The New York Times noted the milestone. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who’d opened the White House doors after entreaties from African-American publishers, greeted the reporter as he made his way over to the president's desk, telling him, 'Glad to see you, McAlpin.'
"It was not a sentiment shared by McAlpin’s fellow scribes, members of the White House Correspondents’ Association who for a decade had denied black reporters the opportunity to attend the twice-weekly news conferences in the Oval Office.
"Roosevelt's invite did nothing to deter them. A member of the association told McAlpin he'd share notes from the news conference with him if he didn't attend, suggesting that in the crush of reporters moving into the room someone could get hurt.
"McAlpin 'ever so politely declined the offer,' and stepping into the White House broke the color barrier, said George Condon, a White House correspondent for the National Journal and a former White House Correspondents' Association president who's researching the group's sometimes-checkered history in celebration of its centennial this year.
"Now, some 70 years after doing all it could to block black reporters, the White House Correspondents' Association is looking to make amends, dedicating a scholarship for journalism students in McAlpin's name. McAlpin, who died in 1985, will be honored at the association’s annual scholarship dinner on May 3. . . ."
As President Obama joined three other living presidents in marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act Thursday, the Pew Research Center recapped surveys showing a gap in perceptions between African Americans and whites on how much progress has been made toward racial equality.
Obama spoke at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, prompting comparisons between his presidency and Johnson's.
"The historic legislation sought equal access to employment opportunity, public accommodations, public education and voting rights," Jens Manuel Krogstad reported for Pew. "A poll conducted six years after the landmark bill became law found signs of perceived improvement: 64% of African Americans said things were 'getting better' for most black people compared to four or five years ago, according to a national Harris Survey.
"Fast-forward to August 2013, when just one-in-four blacks (26%) who answered a similar question agree with that statement, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. That was down sharply from the 39% who said the same in a 2009 Pew Research survey conducted the year Obama took office as the nation’s first black president.
"In the August 2013 poll, about eight-in-ten blacks (79%) said 'a lot' more needed to be done to achieve racial equality, compared with 44% of whites. Some 32% of blacks and 48% of whites said 'a lot' of progress had been made toward racial equality over the past 50 years.
"The 2013 poll also came shortly after [the] Trayvon Martin verdict. On July 13, a Florida jury found George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager. The verdict sparked outrage nationwide. . . ."
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: How LBJ changed the makeup of America's two political parties.
Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: The business of black America
Michael H. Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Uplifting Black America: Obama's Bold Legacy
Bruce Drake, Pew Research Center: The Civil Rights Act at 50: Racial divides persist on how much progress has been made
Keli Goff, The Root: Obama Could Stand to Be a Little More Like LBJ
Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: Segregation: Our enduring shame
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Time to Give President His 'Obamacare' Respect
Adam Serwer, MSNBC: Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist.
David Swerdlick, The Root: Actually, Obama's Record Compares Just Fine With LBJ’s
"Activists have taken aim at President Obama for the record number of deportations during his administration," Jordan Fabian wrote Wednesday for the Fusion network. "Is he solely to blame? Or do Republicans in Congress share responsibility? Enrique Acevedo, an anchor on Fusion's parent network Univision, and KMEX anchor and Fusion host León Krauze took the debate to Twitter. . . . "
Enrique Acevedo, Fusion: Who’s to Blame for the Deportation Crisis? Obama and the GOP
Elise Foley, Huffington Post: Immigrants Release Ambitious Plan To Halt Deportations
Elise Foley, Huffington Post: Young Mexican Men Were Most Likely To Be Deported In 2013
León Krauze, Fusion: Have We Been Unfair to Obama on Deportations?
Latina Lista: New Pew study reveals shocking truth about “immigrant criminals" & why deportations are so high (March 18)
David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post: As reform stalls, administration eyes acting on its own to ease deportations, lawmakers say
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Through the immigration looking glass
Maureen O'Hagan, Equal Voice News: Can President Obama Stop Deportations?
"Journalist, television host and author Lisa Ling will be part of the new CNN prime time lineup beginning this summer, announced the cable network," Randall Yip wrote Friday on his asamnews.com site.
"Ling will host and report in a new documentary series which CNN says 'takes her audience on a gritty, breathtaking journey to far corners of America, immersing herself in sub-cultures that are unusual, bizarre and sometimes dangerous. Each episode delves into an alternative sect of everyday life, giving viewers an inside look at some of America’s most unconventional segments of society.'
"The addition of Ling is part of a new strategy being implemented by CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker to emphasize more original programming and less news. The strategy is being compared to MTV which long ago de-emphasized music videos and replaced it with reality programming.
"Ling’s Our America on OWN is in its last season as she transitions to CNN. . . ."
Kimberly Nordyke reported for the Hollywood Reporter, "The new primetime lineup will begin with Erin Burnett Outfront at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Anderson Cooper 360 at 8 p.m. ET. The 9 p.m. ET hour will be the new home of CNN's original series, CNN Films and the network's in-house produced documentaries like Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Weed and Anderson Cooper’s The Survivor Diaries. That marks a change for the time slot from its previous focus of talk; Piers Morgan's talk show ran in the hour before its recent cancellation. . . ."
Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: Channel One reporters reunite on CNN
On Tuesday, members of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists turned the regularly scheduled meeting into a memorial event honoring the legacy of Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist and activist who died Sunday at 89.
"At the end of the memorial event, each member in attendance signed a memorial plaque for Stone, which will be displayed in the newsroom of the Philadelphia Daily News," where Stone wrote a column from 1972 to 1991. "PABJ plans to memorialize Stone are in progress, including a possible Philadelphia City Council resolution honoring his impact on the city, and a special student journalism challenge & scholarship to be named in his memory," according to PABJ Prism, a PABJ publication.
Dow Jones News Fund: Fabled Journalist Directed Summer Diversity Workshops
Jonathan P. Hicks, BET.com: Remembering the Pioneering Spirit of Chuck Stone
John McCann, Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.: A colossal journalist who blazed trail, then led others
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pa. has lost two fine journalists for good
Philadelphia Tribune: Chuck Stone — A titan of Black journalism
Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Remembering Chuck Stone, my journalism hero and friend
Thomas Sowell, townhall.com: Chuck Stone (1924-2014)
Joe Madison, Sirius XM talk-show host, and Simon Deng, rights activist and former Sudanese child slave, were among those arrested in New York Thursday as they demanded peace, reconciliation and an end to fighting in South Sudan, where millions face starvation. The group planned to be arrested in their attempt to call attention to deteriorating conditions in the country, called by the State Department one of the three worst humanitarian crises in the world. Madison was charged with trespassing and plans to join another demonstration in Washington. New York Times editorial.
"After 14 years at CNN, Zain Verjee is leaving the network to start her own production company," Merrill Knox reported Friday for TVNewser. "Verjee anchors 'World One' on CNN International.' . . ."
"In the months and years ahead, MLB will strive to address the talent pipeline that impacts the representation and development of the sport's diverse players and on-field personnel, particularly focusing on African-Americans," Major League Baseball announced on Thursday. MLB Urban Youth Academies, which "provide free, year-round baseball and softball instruction, as well as education opportunities in several other baseball-related concentrations, including umpiring, groundskeeping, broadcasting, journalism and public relations," is part of the initiative.
"There have been concerted efforts to awkwardly demean and even desecrate commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi," the New Times of Kigali, Rwanda, editorialized on Thursday. It also said, "what distresses survivors most is that international media outlets become insensitive when they give a platform to genocide deniers and political dissidents who hijack the whole grieving process. All this is done in the name of free speech. . . ."
"Alonso Castillo is leaving V-me in Miami, where he has been an on-air host since January 2013, to start a new job as investigative reporter/multimedia journalist at Telemundo’s KSTS-48 in San Jose," Calif., Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday for her Media Moves site. "His first day is April 21. . . ."
Business Insider "has published at least three stories in the past year that included a disclosure that a source paid expenses related to the coverage," Lucia Moses reported Wednesday for digiday.com. She also wrote, "There's a long tradition of journalists being barred from accepting 'gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment,' as the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics states, although people tend to look the other way when the subject is travel or leisure. . . . "
"After being the covergirl for O, The Oprah Magazine for nearly 15 years, could Oprah Winfrey be looking to replace herself on the cover?" Entertainment Tonight asked on Wednesday. "ET sat down with editor-at-large Gayle King to find out. " 'She's been saying for at least five years that it's time for [her] to come off the cover,' said Gayle King. 'Our challenge here at O, The Oprah Magazine is finding what could replace Oprah on the cover.' . . ."
"Burmese newspapers printed black front pages on Friday in protest against the recent arrests and sentencing of journalists, in the latest sign the country's media climate is worsening," Britain's Guardian newspaper reported. "It came as Reporters Without Borders said it was outraged by the imprisonment of a Burmese journalist for trying to interview an education official. . . ."
"At the end of last month, an evacuation order declared during the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant power plant meltdown was lifted for residents of a small town in Fukushima Prefecture, the first time an area so close to the site was declared suitable for habitation," Joanna Chiu wrote Friday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Yet, three years after Earthquake Tohoku killed 15,000 people and triggered the nuclear accident, journalists seeking to investigate the disaster face sustained risks, according to CPJ research. . . . Journalists and whistleblowers could now face imprisonment of up to 10 years for revealing vaguely defined 'secrets.' . . . "
"Two journalists were arrested in Egypt on Wednesday and new charges filed against three others, according to news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Thursday, condemning the Egyptian government's renewed crackdown on the press as presidential elections approach in May.
"Swaziland police on Wednesday re-arrested veteran editor Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko three days after they had been released from prison, according to news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported. "The two, who were first jailed on March 18 and held until Sunday, had written articles that criticized Swaziland's chief justice, the reports said. . . ."
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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.