How 1 Outlet Covered the Unethical Photo Contest Depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad

Front pages of the Dallas Morning News for Monday (left) and Tuesday did not show the cartoons that triggered the violence.
The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Readers Had to Opt In to See Provocative Images

When an anti-Muslim group's contest to see who could draw the most provocative cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad ended near Dallas Sunday with two assailants dead, one ethical challenge again faced news outlets: whether to show the images of Muhammad that caused the controversy, images some say are forbidden in Islam.


Mike Wilson, editor of the Dallas Morning News, chose a way to show the cartoons — but only if readers wanted to see them.

"At the event Sunday night, the organizers displayed a collage of contest entries," Wilson explained to Journal-isms by email. "On Monday morning, we ran a small photo of that collage so readers could get a sense of the kind of thing people were entering in the contest.


"On Tuesday on, we posted photos of two of the contest entries. They did not appear on the page with the editorial; readers had to click on a link to get to them.

"We made the images available to readers because they are part of the story, but because we know they are sensitive images, we arranged it so readers had to opt in to see them."


The issues surrounding the cartoon event have mushroomed into those of national security, eclipsing the free speech debate.

As Ray Leszcynski, Todd J. Gillman and Michael E. Young wrote Wednesday for the Morning News, "The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack by two gunmen outside Garland's Curtis Culwell Center. But while the White House has called the assault an 'act of terror,' officials said a possible connection to the extremist group remained under investigation. . . ."


Still, free-speech and ethical issues were debated from the Morning News editorial page to New York, where in January, Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, was lambasted for deciding not to publish the cartoons of the prophet that ran in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Their publication led to a January massacre at Hebdo's Paris offices that left 12 dead, including five cartoonists.

Among Baquet's concerns were the sensitivities of Muslim readers, as Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote then. "To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so. 'We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.' . . ."


The debate carried over into the literary world Tuesday, where, as Jennifer Schuessler reported for the Times that day, "Two members of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, took the stage to a thundering standing ovation at PEN American Center's literary gala on Tuesday night, capping a 10-day debate over free speech, blasphemy and Islamophobia that started in the cozy heart of the New York literary world and spread to social media and op-ed pages worldwide."

Schuessler also wrote, "The dinner took an unexpected dramatic cast after news that six prominent writers, including Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje and Francine Prose, had pulled out to protest what they saw as Charlie Hebdo’s racist and Islamophobic content.


"The writers' decision sent arguments and insults flying. Some 200 PEN members signed a letter of protest saying that the award crossed a line between 'staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.' . . ."

And so it was with the thumb-in-the-eye contest in Texas to draw the Prophet Muhammad. The Morning News editorial page gave voice to competing views.


In an editorial Tuesday, the newspaper wrote, organizer "Pamela Geller used her free-speech right to stamp firmly on the line between provocative and offensive and scrub it into the dust.

"An angry response was the purpose, not a byproduct, of her American Freedom Defense Initiative conclave this weekend in suburban Garland. A $10,000 'cartoon contest' was a thumb in the eye to Muslims who believe depictions of the prophet Muhammad are blasphemous. As incitement goes, this was intentional.


"Too bad, say Geller and her followers. Free speech, that bedrock American value, gives them the right. Don’t like it? Turn the page.

"And they're right, within the bounds of lawful behavior. . . ."

But editorial writer Jim Mitchell countered in his column, "People tend to forget that the First Amendment describes the relation of the government to the people, not the relationship of individuals to individuals. . . .


"The First Amendment and court rulings affirming the First Amendment prevent the government from blocking free expression. That is why the government did not block the Westboro, Skokie and Garland protests. I, too, would protect the rights of those folks and never would suggest that the government shut down such expressions. In fact, in each instance, the government had police on the scene to protect free expression in the face of potential violent confrontation.

"However, free expression has consequences and limits. This is why we have defamation and libel laws that allow individuals to challenge false assertions. Speech is not absolute otherwise these laws would not exist. . . .


"In my mind, the draw-the-prophet contest falls into the category of hateful satire. And, like all speech, especially hateful or insulting speech, can foster hateful or violent retaliation. Potentially, that is a price or consequence of any expression of ideas. In this context, you can't hide behind free speech claims to avoid criticism.

"When a couple of guys pick up weapons and go into a meeting with the intent to kill, they have broken other laws and deserve to be prosecuted. It's as wrong as if they walked into a church or school with an intent to do harm or settle a grudge or a real or perceived offense.


"No, I don't want review committees, and I never suggested as much. If you want to have a conversation about Islamic extremism, have at it. But I don't have to endorse someone else's crude foolishness in the name of free speech."

Daily Independent, Lagos, Nigeria: Islamic Scholar Wants Nigerians To Always Remember Journalists


Michelle Dean, the Guardian: Charlie Hebdo editors: 'We are not naive'

Editorial, Daily News, New York: Protect Pamela Geller: With ISIS marking a New York firebrand for death, officials must ensure her right to speak freely is not abridged


Mike Hashimoto, Dallas Morning News: If ISIS wants the Garland terrorists, they are welcome to them

Rodger Jones, Dallas Morning News: Sponsors of anti-Islam cartoon contest in Garland got what they wanted


Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Be thankful innocent people didn't die, but don't tell me the Garland conference was about free speech 

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Holding a contest of Muhammad cartoons practically provokes violence


Jim Sleeper, Huffington Post: Hebdo's Dubious PEN-Pals: Privileged Conservative Pundits

Dianne Solís, Dallas Morning News: North Texas imams condemn violence in Garland, ask Muslims not to be 'baited' 


Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph: DFW Council on American-Islamic Relations condemns Garland shooting

Holly Yan, CNN: Texas attack: What we know about Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi

Mei-Mei Chan, Rodney Brooks Taking Gannett Retirements

Mei-Mei Chan, president and publisher of Gannett Co.'s the News-Press Media Group in Fort Myers, Fla., and Rodney Brooks, apparently the last remaining African American news manager at USA Today, are among Gannett employees taking early retirement, the two told Journal-isms on Wednesday.


Gannett said little about the USA Today departures, with spokeswoman Amber Allman responding via email to an inquiry with a terse "We've recently had some employees take an early retirement" and leaving follow-up questions unanswered. However, Brian Gallagher, editorial page editor since 2004, confirmed that he and the opinion pages editor since 1991, Glen Nishimura, are also taking early retirement.

Asked what he and Nishimura would like to do next, Gallagher messaged, "This came up too fast for any plans to be in place, but maybe we'll try the senior golf tour."


The News-Press published an article Tuesday about Chan's upcoming departure and a farewell piece from Chan. Her departure is separate from the USA Today early retirements.

"Forty-eight years ago, I crossed the world as a precocious 7-year-old from China to 'Gum San,' the Golden Mountain of opportunity called America," Chan's piece began.


"Thirty-four years ago, I began my journey in the news media business, which took me across the country from The Commercial-News in Danville, Ill.; to USA TODAY and (now defunct) USA Weekend in Washington; the Chicago Sun-Times; the Post-Register in Idaho Falls, Idaho; and the Seattle Times.

"Five years ago, I arrived in paradise, in the most gratifying role of my career, as president and publisher of The News-Press Media Group. . . ."


Asked what she'd like to do next, Chan messaged Journal-isms, " Breathe. Rejuvenate. Write."

Brooks has been personal finance editor and columnist at USA Today since 2010, joining the newspaper in 1985 from the Philadelphia Inquirer.


"I can tell you that I will be writing a retirement column . . . . It will appear in print and online. Still working out the details on which day and when it will start," Brooks messaged. "And I can't talk about the other one yet, but it is a well-known web site." 

This image was lost some time after publication.

Suddenly, Photographer Is "the Next Gordon Parks"

"Last Saturday, Devin Allen, snapped a photo at the intersection of Charles and Putnam Street in Baltimore, not knowing the impact the image would have on his city and his personal life," Charise Frazier reported Saturday for NBC News.


"The black and white photo, which went viral moments after Allen tweeted it out, profiles a young black male with a handkerchief tied around his face, running away from the police, sketched in stark relief in the far distance.

"By Thursday it was on the cover of one of America's most notable publications, TIME Magazine.


"And Allen's life quickly changed.

" 'I went from, "Hey that's Devin," to "Oh, he's like Kendrick Lamar with a camera. He's the next Gordon Parks," ' Allen, 26, said.


"Allen along with over 2,000 protestors had gathered in downtown Baltimore on Saturday to protest the death of 25-year old Freddie Gray, who died due to a spinal injury after being arrested by police. . . ."

Meanwhile, BET announced that "Baltimore Speaks: A BET News Special"premieres on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and PT on the BET and Centric cable channels and the BET Now app. The network also said the show "will feature candid conversations about the convergence of hot button issues of justice and race in America."


TV One aired a two-hour prime-time special on Tuesday, "State of Emergency: Baltimore and Beyond: News One Now Town Hall Meeting," a live town hall meeting in Baltimore hosted by Roland Martin. It was to re-air on "News One Now With Roland Martin" on Wednesday and Thursday.

Monroe Anderson blog: Black teen unemployment is the real crime

Perry Bacon Jr., NBC News: White House, Republicans Sidestep Many Police Reform Ideas


Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Another death and a "riot" changes how Americans view race relations.

James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Police cars matter

Jordan Chariton, Baltimore Unrest: Will the Media Keep Its Word on Having a 'Conversation' About Race?


Denise Clay, Baltimore Post Mortem #1: The problem with anonymous sources

Michael H. Cottman, Black Women Lead The Way In Freddie Gray Case


Page Croyder, Baltimore Sun: Police charges in Freddie Gray case are incompetent at best

George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Baltimore is Not Ferguson


Lee A. Daniels, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Baltimore and the Dynamic of Racial Déjà Vu

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: Historian traces racist origin of Louisiana law allowing 10-2 jury verdicts


Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: If there were a Louisiana bill requiring 12-0 jury verdicts, who might object?

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Huffington Post: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism (April 30)


Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Too many guns, too many killings, too many excuses

Lynn Elber, Associated Press: Fox News Retracts Balt. Police Shooting Story

Charles D. Ellison, The Root: Baltimore Just Became a Political Epicenter for 2016


Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Baltimore Underscores a Need to Rethink How We Address Poverty in the United States

Andre Jackson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Reaching a better place

Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Police abuse is victims' choice?


John Kerr and John Whitehouse, Media Matters for America: How Geraldo Rivera And Fox News Botched The Story In Baltimore

Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: How change will come to Baltimore: It'll happen from the bottom up, not the top down


Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Jobs Nightmare in Baltimore ’Hood

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Black-on-black violence as bad as police brutality


Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Arrests of police are proof of progress

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Campaigns amid the ashes of unrest

Pew Research Center: Multiple Causes Seen for Baltimore Unrest

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: An angry mom, yes — but a fearful one, too

Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Latino: The 'T' Word

Rashad Robinson, Huffington Post: From Justice for Freddie Gray to Undoing Racism


Viola Rothschild, Foreign Policy: When Baltimore Shook With Anger, Here’s What China Saw

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Slay signs bill establishing St. Louis police civilian oversight board


David Schaper, NPR: Chicago Creates Reparations Fund For Victims Of Police Torture

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: It’s time to seriously rethink 'zero tolerance' policing


DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Wickham: Focus on Freddie Gray's neighborhood

Ric Harris Named General Manager of NBC Stations in Philly

"Ric Harris is the new President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62, NBCUniversal Owned Television StationsPresident Valari Staab announced Tuesday," Vince Lattanzio reported Tuesday for Philadelphia's WCAU-TV.


" 'I'm very excited. I love the whole idea of the two stations together — the synergy, the leverage we have is going to make us even stronger in the marketplace,' Harris said at an afternoon meeting where he was introduced to the staff of both stations.

"Harris, a 51-year-old married father of three boys, served as President and General Manager of NBC Connecticut (WVIT), the NBC-owned station in Hartford, for the past two years. During his tenure, the station rose to the number one position in the market among Adults 25-54 for late news and he oversaw a strengthening in the station's sales revenue. . . ."


The station also has an African American news director in Anzio Williams.

In the 2012 edition of the National Association of Black Journalists' diversity survey of the television industry, nine general managers were African American, according to NABJ President Bob Butler. NABJ examined 296 stations owned by 19 companies. Butler would not name the nine, messaging that anyone interested "can ask me privately but I don't release the names publicly."


NABJ Contest Underway; Drew Berry Drops Out

The campaign for leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists began with certification of candidates on Monday, but Drew Berry, a broadcast consultant and former station manager and news director, dropped out of the contest for treasurer the next day.


"Time did not permit me to run an effective campaign because of a new contract with a number of media companies" and the need for strategic planning to serve those clients, Berry told Journal-isms by telephone, adding that he remained available to help NABJ in any way he could.

Berry's withdrawal leaves Greg Morrison, assignment editor for the affiliate content center at CNN, as the sole candidate for treasurer. Morrison said by telephone, "I'm still running for treasurer, and I want every vote I can get."


Berry, a former NABJ Finance Committee chairman, has been a critic of the current leadership on financial matters, and his eligibility to serve on the board has been questioned privately by some veterans who have said a recently revised constitution has allowed nonworking journalists to serve as officers. Both the revisions and the private questioning are responses to changes in the news industry and the changing definitions of who is a journalist.

Berry, president of Drew Berry and Associates, counters that he now trains journalists, has been given the NABJ President's Award twice and has been certified by the NABJ Elections Committee. Still, he said, any kinks in the new constitution should be addressed.


Likewise, some have questioned privately whether Keith Reed, the current treasurer, isn't risking a conflict of interest by remaining treasurer until his term expires this summer. Reed has accepted a job as deputy press secretary for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. He told Journal-isms by email that those who objected had not complained to him.

Reed messaged, "I say a) it's interesting none of those people have expressed this directly to me. I tend not to give much weight to people who don't have the courage to ask me about my situation directly. I'm not hard to find. And b ) those people should read our constitution and bylaws. They address very clearly what happens in the event of a job status change of a board member. In this instance membership status in NABJ doesn't change and I'm not required to step down. I brought up my own status with the board at or meeting two weeks ago and this was discussed in open session. This is a non issue."


Meanwhile, presidential candidate Sarah J. Glover, social media editor for NBC-Owned Television Stations, announced that she is leading a slate, and immediate past president Gregory Lee Jr. declared his support for it.

The slate includes Marlon A. Walker for vice president-print; Dorothy Tucker, vice president-broadcast; Benét J. Wilson, vice president-digital; Sherlon Christie, secretary; Dave Jordan, parliamentarian; and Marcus Vanderberg, Region IV director candidate.


Glover also created a campaign Facebook page and Twitter account.

Presidential candidate Mira Lowe, senior editor, features for CNN Digital, released a YouTube video with the theme "Elevate NABJ."


Lowe also created a web page in which she mentions the "strife between some veteran members and the elected board of directors" and writes, "So many of us wish for NABJ to get past the dramatics. The same arguments. The same proposals. These are important days for our careers, our industry and our communities. We need new leadership if NABJ is to realize its untapped potential. I'm ready to lead the way. . . ."

Al Jazeera America CEO Dismissed Amid Turmoil

"The embattled CEO of Al Jazeera America was pushed aside Wednesday, ending more than a week of public turmoil that included the resignations of three top female executives," Tom Kludt reported for CNNMoney.


"The announcement capped a turbulent week for Ehab Al Shihabi. His company was sued for $15 million, AJAM was cited for alleged sexism and anti-Semitism, and Al Shihabi was blamed by one departing executive for presiding over a 'culture of fear.'

"He was replaced by Al Anstey effective immediately, according to a release from the Qatar-based parent company Al Jazeera Media Network.


"But Al Shihabi said he won't be going too far. An hour after Anstey's appointment was announced, Al Shihabi told AJAM staff in a terse email that he will remain at the channel as chief operating officer. . . ."

The dismissal came a day after a New York Times headline declared, "Al Jazeera America, Its Newsroom in Turmoil, Is Now the News." The Times' John Koblin reported, "Last week, at a newsroom-wide meeting described by several employees, staff members complained bitterly about problems at the station: how women have lost their jobs; the fear that offering criticism will lead to retaliation; the lack of promotional efforts for the channel; and how the standards for internal reviews changed without any announcement.


"The station’s most recognizable face, Ali Velshi, a veteran of CNN, who hosts a prime-time show, led a similar meeting in February. Mr. Velshi's line of questioning and his exchanges with Mr. Al Shihabi were particularly heated, according to five people present at the meeting.

"Days later, when Mr. Velshi was not present, Mr. Al Shihabi threatened to sue Mr. Velshi and fire him, according to employees who said they heard him speaking openly in the newsroom. . . ."


Dianne White Clatto Dies at 77, First Black Weathercaster

"Dianne White Clatto, who was the first black weathercaster in the country when she joined KSD-TV in 1962, said she 'felt the weight of the world on my shoulders' during her early years of broadcasting,' " Valerie Schremp Hahn reported Tuesday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


" 'I knew young (black) women looked up to me,' she said during an interview with the Post-Dispatch in 2005. 'To be a good model, you had to work hard. You had to develop your own style. You had to be disciplined. You just couldn't stay up all night and model in the day.'

"Mrs. White Clatto died Monday (May 4, 2015) of natural causes at the McCormack House retirement center in St. Louis. She was 77.


"Mrs. White Clatto was such a driven, no-nonsense individual she penned her own obituary, put it on file at the funeral home, prepaid for her own arrangements and donated her body to Washington University School of Medicine, said her son, Chip Clatto. She did not want a memorial service, he said. . . .

"Mrs. White Clatto, the descendant of a Civil War general's 'mistress slave,' was the first African-American model at several major St. Louis department stores. She earned the curator's scholarship to the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she recalled she was one of 22 black students on campus. She spent more than 25 years at what's now KSDK, working as a co-anchor, weather anchor and general assignment reporter. . . ."


Short Takes

"The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Board of Directors recently voted to rename the Diversity Leadership Program to honor the late Dori Maynard, a longtime champion of diversity in journalism, who served as board member of the Foundation since 1999," the organization announced. "The program will now be known as the Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program . . . ."


"RTDNA has announced the winner of the 2015 John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual's contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press: ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas," the Radio Television Digital News Association said Tuesday.

Tiffany Hsu, 29, who covers the California economy for the business section of the Los Angeles Times, is among 10 journalists chosen by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism as Knight-Bagehot Fellows in economics and business journalism for the 2015-2016 academic year, the school announced on Friday.


"Pia Sarkar, a veteran reporter, editor and newsroom leader, has been named deputy editor for the east for The Associated Press, charged with helping to oversee news coverage in 10 states," the AP reported on April 27.

Harris Faulkner is considered a rising star at Fox News after a decade there, David Bauder wrote for the Associated Press on Wednesday. Faulkner is a regular on Fox's daytime show "Outnumbered." "Besides 'Outnumbered,' which just celebrated its first full year on the air, she regularly works six-day weeks by anchoring a Sunday evening newscast. 'She's a go-to person around here,' said Jay Wallace, Fox's senior vice president of news. Her energy and willingness to put in the extra work has 
endeared her to management, he said. . . ."


"Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of 'Washington Week' and co-anchor and managing editor of the 'PBS NewsHour,' has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Fourth Estate Award, the National Press Club's most-honored prize," the club announced on Friday. "Ifill will receive the award at a gala dinner on Thursday, Oct. 15. . . ."

Freelance Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist Mary C. Curtis is one of 34 female journalists chosen for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute 'Herstory' oral history project.


The Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday that it "welcomes the sentencing on Thursday by the Colombian Supreme Court of two former senior government officials for their roles in an illegal surveillance program. The program, which occurred while former President Álvaro Uribe was in office, involved spying on some of the country's most prominent journalists as well as judges, human rights activists, and opposition politicians, according to news reports. . . ."

For a feature that looks at some of the earliest mentions of famous names or terms in the New York Times, Mark Bulik wrote Monday about Times coverage of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, including a July 7, 1876, account of his defeat at the Little Big Horn.


Victor Hernandez, a news innovation strategist, has been selected for the ninth fellowship class of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, the institute announced Tuesday. Hernandez "will explore how to incorporate the use of wearable technology — specifically smart watches such as the Apple Watch — into news workflow, audience experiences and storytelling. . . ."

"The International Press Institute (IPI) today joined international observers in calling on Kenya to conduct a full investigation into the beating death last week of a journalist in an attack that his colleagues said may be linked to reports on a case before the International Criminal Court," Elena Pramesberger reported Tuesday for the institute. "According to local media, journalist John Kituyi, 63, was killed on April 30 in the town of Eldoret, in western Kenya. Kituyi was on his way home from his office when two unidentified assailants on motorcycles attacked him with a blunt object. . . ."

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