Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Ben Affleck Offer Regrets in Slave-Owner Flap

Cartoonist Dan Wasserman told Journal-isms, “I’d be remiss not to draw about it.”
Dan Wasserman/Boston Globe

Station: Gates' Cut "Unacceptable" If Based on Actor's Urging

Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Wednesday night expressed regret that he did not tell PBS that he had cut a reference to actor Ben Affleck's slaveholding ancestor from his story on Affleck's roots.

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His statement followed one from Affleck telling the actor's social media fans on Tuesday, "I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story." On Wednesday, he identified the slaveholding Georgia ancestor whom he said embarrassed him.

Gates did not include that ancestor in the PBS "Finding Your Roots" series. On Tuesday, a vice president at New York's WNET-TV, one of the sponsoring PBS stations, also known as Thirteen, told PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, "if the decision to drop the segment was based on Mr. Affleck's request, it was and is unacceptable. Doing so without Thirteen's knowledge of those circumstances is also unacceptable."

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Gates maintained Wednesday what he had said earlier: "We didn't use the story of Ben Affleck's slave-owning ancestor because we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry.  And this story was not one of them," he messaged.

In a statement to Journal-isms, Gates said by email, "During our many years of producing genealogy programs on PBS, we have always tried to function under the most rigorous scholarly and production values.

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"We regret not sharing Mr. Affleck's request that we avoid mention of one of his ancestors with our co-production partner, WNET, and our broadcast partner, PBS. We apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming. Moving forward, we are committed to an increased level of transparency with our co-producing partners. We respect PBS guidelines and understand our obligation to maintain editorial integrity at all times."

Anne Bentley, PBS vice president, Corporate Communications, said Tuesday, "PBS and WNET are conducting an internal review led by our respective programming teams of the circumstances around FINDING YOUR ROOTS episode 'Roots of Freedom. ' . . .  In order to gather the facts to determine whether or not all of PBS' editorial standards were observed, on Saturday, April 18th, we began an internal review. We have been moving forward deliberately yet swiftly to conduct this review."

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Gates, who has continued to interview subjects for the series, told Journal-isms on Saturday, "In last year's season of 'Finding Your Roots,' we happened to find several stories about ancestors who owned slaves before the Civil War — far too many for us to use them all, of course. Ben [Affleck's] ancestor's story just wasn't as interesting as the other stories about slave-owners that we did use, such as those about the families of Ken Burns and Anderson Cooper."

Gates' explanation drew rebukes from Getler, as well as from the editorial board of the Boston Globe, and  Mark Memmott, NPR's standards & practices editor.

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Globe editorial cartoonist Dan Wasserman made the issue his cartoon of the day Wednesday.

"Two prominent figures, one in entertainment, the other in academia," Wasserman told Journal-isms by email.

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"A nation grappling with issues of race and privilege. Plus questions of journalistic integrity and special treatment. I'd be remiss not to draw about it."

The cartoonist added, "Plus Gates and Affleck are both Boston-connected. It's a big local story for the Globe."

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For the PBS stations, the issue became whether Gates acted without their permission in cutting Affleck's slaveholding ancestor from the story.

Getler published an exchange between himself and Stephen Segaller, vice president for programming at WNET.

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Getler: "Gates says that he maintains editorial control and that he 'with my producers, decide what will make the most compelling program.' You are among the producers: do you consider that you were part of the decision process?

Segaller: "That is not quite accurate. Our co-production agreement with Inkwell (Gates's company), KMP (Dyllan McGee's) and Thirteen, specifies that editorial control is shared between the three companies. To quote the agreement: 'THIRTEEN, Inkwell and KMcG will have approval over scripts, music and effects, all rough and fine cuts, and the final completed Programs. If despite good faith efforts to resolve any editorial difference, the Parties are unable to agree in any particular instance, Stephen Segaller (THIRTEEN Vice President Programming) will make the final determination.'

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Getler also asked, "What do you think about the outcome to drop the ancestral link now that you know it was Sony’s favored approach? "

Segaller replied, "Dropping that segment of 2 minutes is not important in itself. As noted, the same revelation was true of the family histories of Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper, and others. Thirteen production executives questioned the repetition — but Dr. Gates's producer colleagues insisted it would stay in. But if the decision to drop the segment was based on Mr. Affleck's request, it was and is unacceptable. Doing so without Thirteen's knowledge of those circumstances is also unacceptable."

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Meanwhile, a Tuesday statement from Affleck, who had not commented during the initial stories on Friday and Saturday, garnered more than 12,700 "likes" and 816 "shares" on Facebook, an astounding number.

"I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth," Affleck wrote.

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"Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it's his show and I knew that going in. I'm proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.

"It's important to remember that this isn't a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable. The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.

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"I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery. It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about."

The actor added that he would be happy to cooperate with Gates on the follow-up book "and talk about the issues more broadly."

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On Wednesday, after a stream of comments from fans, Affleck added, "Lots of people here have been asking who the guy was. His name was Benjamin Cole— lived in Georgia on my Mom's side about six generations back."

Gates confirmed for Journal-isms that Cole is Affleck's "third great grandfather."

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Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and is co-founder of The Root, which carries "Journal-isms."

Editorial, Boston Globe: Ben Affleck needs a reality check

Michael Getler, PBS: Who Knew? Not Us, PBS Now Says About 'Roots' Controversy

Mark Memmott, NPR: Ben Affleck, ‘Finding Your Roots’ And Why Our Standards Point To A Different Decision

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Frazier Moore, Associated Press: Affleck expresses regret about efforts to hide slave-owning ancestor

Jamil Smith, New Republic: Ben Affleck Was Wrong, But Henry Louis Gates Made It Worse

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Post-Dispatch Wins Pulitzer for Ferguson Photos

New York Times Honored for Coverage of Ebola Outbreak

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, the Pulitzer board announced Monday, for its coverage of protests that erupted after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., last August.

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No journalists of color appear to have won individual Pulitzers in journalism this year, but the Post-Dispatch photo department, which collectively won the prize, includes at least two black journalists, Gary Hairlson, multimedia director, and Christian Gooden, photographer; Asian American journalists Huy Richard Mach and Chris Lee; and Hispanic journalist Cristina Fletes-Boutte.

Mach was the first photographer on the scene, Lynden Steele, the Post-Dispatch's director of photography, told Journal-isms by telephone. Lee, normally assigned to sports, was part of the all-hands-on-deck response, and was pepper-sprayed by police along with others at the scene. 

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Gregory Pardlo, another African American, won in the poetry category for "Digest," lauded by the Pulitzer judges as "clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private."

In the international reporting category, the New York Times staff won "for courageous front-line reporting and vivid human stories on Ebola in Africa, engaging the public with the scope and details of the outbreak while holding authorities accountable," the Pulitzer judges said.

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Daniel Berehulak, a freelance photographer for the Times, won in the feature photography category "for his gripping, courageous photographs of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa." Ebola coverage accounted for two of the Times' three awards.

Steele said in the early versions of his newspaper's story on the awards, "From August through November, the photographers displayed an amazing commitment to covering this story. They were tireless, brave, and dogged in their reporting. At the height of the protests, eight staff photographers covered Ferguson from 6:30 a.m. until about 3 a.m. They built relationships in the community, followed leads and made great, story-telling pictures.

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"The photographs capture the anger, conflict and tragedy of the events that have ripped the [Band-Aid] off of the race conversation in St. Louis, and started new conversations about policing, local government and municipal courts."

During the initial protests, two white journalists, reporter Steve Giegerich and photographer David Carson, were assaulted by a predominantly black crowd, Carson as he was photographing looters.

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Adam Goodman, a deputy managing editor at the Post-Dispatch, told Journal-isms then that he would not attribute the attacks to race, noting that police did not like journalists, either.

In fact, Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, said in the September issue of that association's magazine that the police were out to bully the media. "The police don't care about making charges that stick. They just want to stop the journalists from doing the job, which creates a chilling effect," Osterreicher said then. In some cases, the journalists are not charged, but simply detained to get them out of the way. Osterreicher filed complaints with city, county and state police.

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On Monday, Osterreicher, speaking of the police, told Journal-isms by telephone, "Despite my offers to help them, they don't seem very interested in doing anything except what they want to do." He cited a video posted on Facebook last week showing police confiscating a camera held by a protester during a demonstration in Ferguson.

Steele said the police had reached out to him for in-house training and that he had recommended Osterreicher. "When it gets tense, it gets tense for everyone. When it's not tense, people are talking to each other," Steele said. He added that the police chief called to check on the journalists who were pepper-sprayed, not wanting the newspaper to think that police were singling them out.

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Still, Steele said, "We've had our run-ins and threats of arrests, and so if things were to happen tomorrow, I would expect things to be the same. I don't think things have evolved to the point where they would roll out the red carpet for us." 

In his nominating letter to the Pulitzer board [PDF], Editor Gilbert Bailon wrote, "The photo team provided poignant, striking and even shocking photography. From Huy Mach's image of Michael Brown's mother dropping rose petals over the blood stains at the site of her son's shooting just hours after his death to David Carson's uncomfortably close look at an armed looter inside a store, the photographs capture moments of intimacy in a chaotic atmosphere. . . ."

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Tony Messenger and Kevin Horrigan of the editorial board were finalists "for editorials that brought insight and context to the national tragedy of Ferguson, MO, without losing sight of the community's needs"; last month, the newspaper won the Scripps Howard Award for Breaking News [PDF] for its overall coverage of the Brown shooting. 

Among the other awards, Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle won for commentary "for vividly-written, groundbreaking columns about grand jury abuses that led to a wrongful conviction and other egregious problems in the legal and immigration systems."

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Kathleen Kingsbury of the Boston Globe won for editorial writing "for taking readers on a tour of restaurant workers' bank accounts to expose the real price of inexpensive menu items and the human costs of income inequality."

The history prize in the books category went to "Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People," by Elizabeth A. Fenn, praised as "an engrossing, original narrative showing the Mandans, a Native American tribe in the Dakotas, as a people with a history." Fenn teaches history at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She also wrote "Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Live in North Carolina Before 1770."

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James Estrin, New York Times: Post-Dispatch's Ferguson Coverage Wins Pulitzer in Breaking News Photography

James Estrin, New York Times: Scenes From the Ebola Crisis Earn Photography Pulitzer

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List of Pulitzer winners

What the Editor Learned From Directing Ferguson Coverage (Jan. 9)

Tampa Bay Times Finds "Bicycling While Black" Targeting

"Better not bike while black in Tampa," Tom McKay wrote Saturday for mic.com.

"A Tampa Bay Times investigation has found the city's police officers are disproportionately 'targeting poor, black neighborhoods with obscure subsections of a Florida statute that outlaws things most people have tried on a bike, like riding with no light or carrying a friend on the handlebars.' The police department used violations of the statute as an excuse to 'stop, question and search almost anyone on wheels.'

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"Well, just so long as they're black. The newspaper analyzed over 10,000 citations that Tampa Police Department officers have issued to bicyclists over the past 12 years and found that about 79% of the ticketed people were black. That's despite the fact that Tampa is roughly a quarter black, according to the newspaper's analysis. The Tampa Bay Times further found that 80% of the ticket stops resulted in no arrest, and when they did, 'it was almost always for a small amount of drugs or a misdemeanor like trespassing.' . . ."

The story, by Alexandra Zayas and Kameel Stanley, written for Sunday print edition of the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, said:

"The department doesn't just condone these stops, it encourages them, pushing officers who patrol high-crime neighborhoods to do as many as possible.

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"There was the 56-year-old man who rode his bike through a stop sign while pulling a lawnmower. Police handcuffed him while verifying he had, indeed, borrowed the mower from a friend.

"There was the 54-year-old man whose bike was confiscated because he couldn't produce a receipt to prove it was his.

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"One woman was walking her bike home after cooking for an elderly neighbor. She said she was balancing a plate of fish and grits in one hand when an officer flagged her down and issued her a $51 ticket for not having a light. With late fees, it has since ballooned to $90. She doesn't have the money to pay. . . ."

Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: License suspensions create hardship for poor

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Can Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Proposal Be Saved?

"Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are slated to sit down for the first time on Wednesday with Justice Department officials to discuss potential remedies in hopes of keeping their $45.2 billion merger on track, according to people familiar with the matter," Shalini Ramachandran, Joe Flint and Brent Kendall reported Sunday for the Wall Street Journal.

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"The parties haven't met face-to-face to hash out possible concessions in the more than 14 months since the deal was announced.

"Staffers at both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission remain concerned a combined company would wield too much power in the broadband Internet market and give it unfair competitive leverage against TV channel owners and new market entrants that offer video programming online, said people with knowledge of the review.

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"One of the options that the FCC is considering is to designate the merger for a hearing, people familiar with the agency's thinking said. A hearing order would put the merger in the hands of an administrative law judge, a move which would be seen as a sign that the FCC isn't convinced the deal would be good for the public. . . ."

Iran Charges Washington Post Journalist With Espionage

"Iranian authorities are charging The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, with espionage and three other serious crimes, including 'collaborating with hostile governments' and 'propaganda against the establishment,' according to his attorney in Tehran," Carol Morello reported Monday for the Washington Post.

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"Providing the first description of the precise charges against Rezaian since his arrest nine months ago, the lawyer said that an indictment alleges that Rezaian gathered information 'about internal and foreign policy' and provided it to 'individuals with hostile intent.'

"The statement, issued from Tehran by Rezaian's attorney, Leila Ahsan, was provided to The Post by the family of the imprisoned reporter.

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"Rezaian also is accused of collecting classified information, said Ahsan, who is believed to be the only person outside the judiciary to have read the indictment. The indictment says he wrote to President Obama, in an example of his alleged contact with a 'hostile government.' . . ."

Morello also wrote, "Martin Baron, The Post's executive editor, described the charges against Rezaian as 'scurrilous.' . . ."

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In Iraq, Islamic State Exacts Heavy Toll on Journalists

"The militant group the Islamic State swept through Iraq last summer, taking over city after city and leaving a wave of destruction of a scale only just being discovered," Oday Hatem wrote Monday for PBS MediaShift.

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"Even now it is difficult to understand how much damage was inflicted, including on the Iraqi journalist community, where rumors of missing or killed journalists are swirling and their families are afraid to speak out.

"I had to flee Iraq for fear of my life last spring. Over the past few weeks, I conducted dozens of interviews with Iraqi journalists who worked inside the country, families of kidnapped journalists, and local human rights groups to better understand how much harm Islamic State wreaked on my colleagues still in the country.

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"What we know, from CPJ research in neighboring Syria, is that the Islamic State is holding the majority of about 20 Syrian journalists who were reported by media groups and families to have been kidnapped. Last fall, the organization I used to lead, the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq, estimated that the group was holding five journalists in Iraq. The Metro Center to Defend Journalists, another press freedom group based in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Sulaymaniyah, said the militants were holding nine journalists in Iraq. . . ."

Michael Eric Dyson Takedown of Cornel West Is Personal

"It was personal," Danielle C. Belton wrote Monday for The Root.

"In Michael Eric Dyson'stakedown for the New Republic of his friend and mentor Cornel West, he has a come-to-Jesus moment that is neither pretty nor kind, but painfully blunt. The realization comes to Dyson that West is a parody of the intellectual he once was, that his vicious and often personal attacks on President Barack Obama have come at a cost: the loss of his credibility.

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"And the loss of their 35-year friendship.

"Dyson's story, 'The Ghost of Cornel West,' is a tale of transgressions, verbal and personal, of bruised egos and hurt feelings, of a father figure lashing out at the perceived ease of youth and the successes of those for whom he laid a path. . . ."

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Belton also wrote, "Dyson spoke with The Root  Sunday about his piece and why he wrote it. . . ."

Luvvie Ajayi, Awesomely Luvvie: Love and Hip Hop Academia: The Michael Eric Dyson Takedown of Cornel West

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Mensah Demary, Salon: The career assassination of Cornel West: A messy intellectual divorce reveals layers of broken heart — and to what end?

Ben Norton, medium.com: The Ghosts of Obama's Victims

Gary Younge, the Guardian: The Cornel West-Michael Eric Dyson feud is petty. Black people are dying in the streets

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Dave Zirin, the Nation: Cornel West Is Not Mike Tyson

Half of Whites See No Racial Disparity in Death Penalty

A majority of Americans favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder, but support for the death penalty is as low as it has been in the past 40 years," the Pew Research Center reported on Thursday.

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"A new Pew Research Center survey finds 56% favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 38% are opposed."

The center also reported, "Support for the death penalty has edged down among whites, blacks and Hispanics since 2011, but wide racial differences persist. About six-in-ten whites (63%) favor the death penalty, compared with 34% of blacks and 45% of Hispanics.

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The study also found, "As with overall views of the death penalty, there are demographic and partisan differences in attitudes about capital punishment.

"The sharpest disagreements are in views of whether minorities are more likely than whites to face the death penalty.

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"Fully 77% of blacks say minorities are more likely than whites to receive the death penalty for similar crimes. Whites are evenly divided: 46% say minorities are disproportionately sentenced to death, while an identical percentage sees no racial disparities.

"More than twice as many Democrats (70%) as Republicans (31%) say minorities are more likely than whites to receive the death penalty for similar crimes.

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"There also are educational differences in these opinions: 60% of college graduates say minorities are more apt to receive the death penalty than are whites, as do 55% of those with some college experience. But among those with no more than a high school education, 44% say minorities are disproportionately sentenced to death; 48% say whites and minorities are equally likely to receive the death penalty for similar crimes.

"In contrast, there are much more modest differences in opinions about whether the death penalty presents a risk that an innocent person will be put to death, or whether there are adequate safeguards in place. Majorities across every demographic and partisan group see some risk that an innocent person will be put to death, including 74% of blacks, and 70% each of whites and Hispanics. Still, larger shares of Democrats (79%) and independents (71%) than Republicans (61%) say there is a risk of executing an innocent person. . . ."

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Baltimore Sun: Coverage: Freddie Gray's death

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Has the N.R.A. Won?

Merlene Davis, Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky.: S.W.A.G. helps members deal with loss, work with community on ways to avoid gun violence

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Rubén Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Help for pregnant inmates [benefits] babies — and taxpayers

NPR Ebola Stories, "Latino USA," Afropop Win Peabodys

"The NPR News Reporting From The Frontlines: The Ebola Outbreak coverage has been honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, one year after the public media organization led early and exceptionally deep coverage of the infectious outbreak in West Africa," the network announced on Monday.

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"NPR's Latino USA is also a winner in the Radio/Podcast category for Gangs, Murder and Migration in Honduras, an episode that examined the many reasons driving contemporary migration from Honduras, a country in crisis.

In addition, "Vice News was honored for two stories: one on a Chicago high school of high-risk students and the other coverage of ISIS in Iraq and Syria," Luke McCord reported for Broadcasting & Cable.

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". . . CNN nabbed a Peabody Award for its coverage of treatment delays in Veterans Administration hospitals and the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram. . . ."

An institutional award is to be presented to Afropop Worldwide.

In the entertainment category, "Jane the Virgin" on the CW network was among the winners. "Immaculately conceived, it's a smart, self-aware telenovela that knows when and how to wink at itself," the judges said. "Its Latina lead, Gina Rodriguez, is incandescent." 

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Documentary, public service, education and children’s programming winners are to be announced on Thursday.

Nominate a J-Educator Who Has Helped Diversity

The Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually grants a Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship — actually an award — "in recognition of an educator's outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism." The educator should be at the college level.

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Nominations, now being accepted for the 2015 award, should consist of a statement about why you believe your nominee is deserving.

The final selection will be made by the AOJ Foundation board and announced in time for the annual symposium Nov.14-15 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., when the presentation will be made.

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Since 2000, the recipient has been awarded an honorarium of $1,000 to be used to "further work in progress or begin a new project."

Past winners include James Hawkins, Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa, Howard University (1992); Ben Holman, University of Maryland (1996); Linda Jones, Roosevelt University, Chicago (1998); Ramon Chavez, University of Colorado, Boulder (1999); Erna Smith, San Francisco State (2000); Joseph Selden, Penn State University (2001); Cheryl Smith, Paul Quinn College (2002); Rose Richard, Marquette University (2003); Leara D. Rhodes, University of Georgia (2004); Denny McAuliffe, University of Montana (2005); Pearl Stewart, Black College Wire (2006); Valerie White, Florida A&M University (2007); Phillip Dixon, Howard University (2008); Bruce DePyssler, North Carolina Central University (2009); Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University (2010); Yvonne Latty, New York University (2011); Michelle Johnson, Boston University (2012); Vanessa Shelton, University of Iowa (2013); and William Drummond, University of California at Berkeley (2014).

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Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, AOJ Diversity Committee chair, richardprince (at) hotmail.com. The deadline is May 22. Please use that address only for AOJ matters.

Short Takes

"Mark Trahant, a well-known independent print and broadcast journalist and member of Idaho's Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, joins the University of North Dakota Communication Program faculty next fall as Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism," the university announced. Trahant, board chairman of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, is the 2014 Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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"It came as a great surprise to learn that Isabel Wilkerson, who has received so much acclaim for both her journalism and for The Warmth of Other Suns, her history of the Great Migration — the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, appearances on dozens of best-book lists, and the honor of being the 2013 One Book, One Chicago selection — was not only thrilled to hear that Warmth had won the Reader's Greatest Ever Chicago Book tournament, but had been following the contest for several weeks," Aimee Levitt reported Thursday for the Chicago Reader.

NBCBLK, the black-oriented portal that launched in January posted on Monday the first of four parts of a series called "Black & Green," "stories exploring different aspects of African American presence and lack thereof in the legal marijuana industry." The first part examines "six reasons it can be challenging for African Americans to enter the legal marijuana business."

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"When people see Jorge Ramos interviewing someone they know, Univision's audience knows that Jorge is representing them," Isaac Lee, Univision's president of news, said at the 2015 International Symposium of Online Journalism, held April 17-19 at the University of Texas at Austin. "That he is not asking the questions to be celebrated as a fair and balanced journalist," Lee continued, Steve Taylor reported Sunday for the Rio Grande Guardian in McAllen, Texas. "He is asking the questions to represent them. He is going to ask the person whatever is necessary to push the agenda for a more fair society, for a more inclusive society and for the Hispanic community to be better.' . . ."

"Ali Velshi is getting new duties at Al Jazeera America," Brian Steinberg reported Friday for Variety. "The onetime CNN anchor, who joined Al Jazeera America before it launched in 2013, will lead the half-hour program 'Ali Velshi on Target,' . . . focused on political and economic issues. Velshi had been hosting 'Real Money,' a show centered on business and financial news. The new program is slated to [debut] May 11 and will air weeknights on Al Jazeera America at 10:30 p.m. ET. . . ."

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"If your target is a mammoth, global institution like the World Bank, it helps to have a global network of muckrakers to hold it accountable," Chris Ip wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "It's a role uniquely suited to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who yesterday released the series, 'Evicted and abandoned: The World Bank's broken promise to the poor,' reporting that at least 3.4 million people from Ethiopia to Honduras have been displaced by development projects supported by the bank, in some cases violating their human rights. . . ."

"The Travel Channel has tapped TV Host and Pop Culture Commentator Jawn Murray to host a new series called 'Night Crawl New York with Jawn Murray,' according to a news release Thursday. "The five-episode series focuses on New York nightlife venues and premiered this week on the network’s digital platform TravelChannel.com. . . ."

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"Bloomberg will be stylin' and profilin' at this year's White House Correspondent's Dinner on Saturday night," Brian Flood reported Monday for TVNewser. "Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will anchor a special broadcast, live from the Washington Hilton, to cover the annual event. New York Knicks legend and fashion icon Walt 'Clyde' Frazier will join the show as a special correspondent. . . ."

"I miss Sam Donaldson,” April D. Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, told Damon Marx of FishbowlDC on Thursday. "I worked with him for a short period of time during the Clinton years. Sam was from the old school. He used his vocal abilities to out shout others with questions to the President. His voice carried his questions with force across the largest spaces. He out shouted most journalists. Unfortunately some of the new breed of journalists at the White House frown upon that Sam Donaldson example. When did we change? Why did we change? I miss Sam Donaldson for his lead in how Presidents could not side step our questions. . . . "

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The Asian American Journalists Association selected 42 high school students from a diverse pool of applicants from across the country to participate in JCamp, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2015, AAJA announced on Monday. "JCamp is a six-day multicultural journalism training program for freshmen, sophomores and juniors in high school who attend the camp at no cost thanks in large part to the support of donors such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other corporate sponsors. JCamp will take place August 3 – 8, 2015 and will be hosted by the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. . . ."

"Fake journalists in Lagos operate in groups," Femi Akinola reported Monday for the Daily Trust in Nigeria. "At press events, they pretend to be more active than genuine journalists. This group of impostors are easily identified by the manner they pursue organisers of events demanding for gratification, or what is called the 'brown envelope', at events. . . . Sunday Trust checks revealed that these impostors possess identification cards of various daily newspapers and magazines. Though the identification cards in their possession do not in most cases resemble the original ones issued by the newspaper companies, they get away with their act many times because unsuspecting and ignorant members of the public are none the wiser. . . ."

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"Memo to journalists: When you write an open letter to the Pope, keep your cell phone charged. He may call to chat about it," Daniel Burke reported Thursday for CNN. "Yes, the 'Cold Call Pope' rang again this week. This time, according to an Argentine journalist, Francis phoned to answer a column about candidates who seek campaign-boosting photo ops with the popular pontiff. Apparently, the Pope was persuasive. The call ended with the journalist, Alfredo Leuco, pledging to learn how to pray.. . ."

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