• Newspaper Underpaid Women, People of Color
  • NAACP Sees Blacks’ Future in State, Local Races
  • Responding to Critics, Sinclair Lashes Out at CNN
  • Local TV News Employs More Than Newspapers
  • Shaun King, Activist Journalist, Detained at Customs
  • Exposure to Gun Violence Can Lead to PTSD
  • Jim Avila to Receive Transplant From His Brother
  • How Ruby Bridges Became the Perfect MLK50 Story
  • Charles Austin, Boston Trailblazer, Dies at 73
  • Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity
  • Short Takes
Outside the Los Angeles Times building on Feb. 6, 2018
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

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Newspaper Underpaid Women, People of Color

We are delighted to stand with our colleagues at the Chicago Tribune as they fight for their future and for a seat at

the table. We’re with you every step of the way, @CTGuild! ✊ pic.twitter.com/dbqqsBytru— L.A. Times Guild 🦅 (@latguild) April 11, 2018

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Tronc, parent company of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other news organizations, “has underpaid women and journalists of color by thousands of dollars a year at the Los Angeles Times, suggesting systemic salary gaps by race and gender, according to an analysis of newsroom salary data by the L.A. Times Guild,” the newly organized unit of the NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America announced Thursday.

Separately, “Former Los Angeles Times Editor in Chief Lewis D’Vorkin was fired by Tronc Inc. on Thursday and several dozen other employees of the company were laid off,” Andrea Chang reported Thursday for the Times.

Chang also wrote, “Departing employees in Los Angeles said they were laid off en masse during a staff meeting early Thursday afternoon that was originally supposed to be led by D’Vorkin. But he did not appear for the meeting, and instead, employees were told by a human resources manager that they were being let go. The manager cited a reorganization, according to people who were there. . . .”

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At the Tribune, meanwhile, editorial employees “announced plans to seek union representation — a first in the 171-year history of the traditionally anti-union newspaper,” Robert Feder reported Wednesday on his Chicago media site. Among the reasons cited by employees: “. . . although we live in a racially and ethnically diverse city and state, diversity is not well-reflected in the newsroom. A more diverse staff will help guide coverage that fully reflects the lives of the many types of communities in and around Chicago. We can do better. . . .”

“The L.A. Times Guild’s full report, available here [PDF], is based on pay data for roughly 320 full-time journalists in our collective bargaining unit, which includes reporters, photographers, copy editors, designers and other newsroom workers,” the Guild report continued. “It does not include workers such as line editors whose inclusion in the union has been challenged by the company, nor does it include managers.

“The L.A. Times Guild requested this data from Tronc as part of the collective-bargaining process; the information has been anonymized to protect worker privacy.

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I knew I would be unhappy about the findings in this new @latguild salary study of pay disparities at the @latimes, but I didn’t think I’d be this livid. https://t.co/0qLo5oRppv pic.twitter.com/VPyE1Qdida

— Christine Mai-Duc (@cmaiduc) April 11, 2018

Some key findings:

“Among unionized journalists at The Times of all ages and job titles, women and people of color make less than white men. On average, women of color in the Los Angeles Times’ bargaining unit make less than 70 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.

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“Across all ages and experience levels, the average reporter salary at the L.A. Times is about $95,000. The average salary for female reporters is $87,564, while the average for men is $101,898. The average for people of color is $85,622, and the average for white reporters is $100,398.

“Those gaps can partly be explained by the fact that many of our most senior, best-paid journalists are white men. But a detailed analysis conducted by the L.A. Times Guild also found scores of individual women and journalists of color who, on average, make thousands of dollars less than white and male co-workers of similar ages and job titles.

“Women represent 42.8% of The Times bargaining unit but their representation falls off dramatically among older workers.

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“Of unionized staff, only, 38.7% are people of color — and like female employees, representation in the newsroom falls off with age.

“The findings shed light on why the Los Angeles Times unionized after 136 years. We’re a stronger newsroom when we look out for each other. We will be meeting with our members soon to discuss this report and what should come next. . . .”

Graham Lee Brewer, High Country News: Want better coverage? Hire diverse journalists.

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Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times: Tribune staff’s union push all about doing great Chicago journalism

Karen Magnuson, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.: D&C a leader in newsroom diversity, but more should be done

Maxwell Strachan, HuffPost: In Wyoming, A Newly Unionized Newsroom Says Corporate Bosses Are Retaliating

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NAACP Sees Blacks’ Future in State, Local Races

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, tells the Journal-isms Roundtable in Washington on Tuesday, “It’s less about Congress than state and local.”
Photo: Sharon Farmer (Photoworks SF)

While others are focusing on whether they can “take back the House” of Representatives this November — or keep it — state and local elections should be more of a priority for African Americans, according to Derrick Johnson, the new president and CEO of the NAACP.Johnson told journalists on Tuesday that the nation’s oldest civil rights group also wants compulsory voting, abolition of voter registration and an end to voting restrictions at the local level.

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“It’s less about Congress than state and local,” Johnson told 40 people attending a dinner meeting of the Journal-isms Roundtable in Washington. “Eighty-eight state legislative bodies are on the ballot.” It is locally where voters have an opportunity to get rid of bad district attorneys and to influence spending on health and education, he said.

“We’re going to see the best opportunities in the former Confederate states. Some legislative bodies will change complexion,” Johnson added.

Johnson, a Detroit native and former state president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, was named president and CEO last October after having been interim president since July. He was also vice chairman of the board.

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He told the journalists that the key to achieving greater political power for African Americans was increased voter participation and resistance to efforts to dilute the black vote. With 2,200 branches, the success of the organization has always been in its bottom-up local infrastructure, Johnson said.

Last fall, federal courts in Louisiana and Texas ruled in favor of the NAACP in “two critical cases protecting the rights of voters of color,” the NAACP said at the time. “Both rulings are momentous voting rights victories, but they represent only two of many in which the NAACP is currently engaged. . . .”

The NAACP and Prince George’s County, Md., sued the Trump administration two weeks ago over concerns that its plan for the 2020 census would lead to an undercount of African American residents, as John Fritze reported then for the Baltimore Sun.

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New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice has reported, “After the 2010 election, state lawmakers nationwide started introducing hundreds of harsh measures making it harder to vote.

“The new laws range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions.

“Overall, 23 states have new restrictions in effect since then — 13 states have more restrictive voter ID laws in place (and six states have strict photo ID requirements), 11 have laws making it harder for citizens to register, six cut back on early voting days and hours, and three made it harder to restore voting rights for people with past criminal convictions.

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“In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. Those 14 states were: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“In 2017, legislatures in Arkansas and in North Dakota passed voter ID bills, which governors in each state signed, and Missouri implemented a restrictive law that was passed by ballot initiative in 2016. Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, and New Hampshire have also enacted more restrictions this year, in addition to laws that were on the books for previous elections. . . .”

The focus on statehouses comes as financially strapped news organizations have curtailed state coverage. “More than 140 newspapers have cut back on their coverage since 2003, and more than 50 have stopped providing staff coverage of state government altogether,” the now-defunct American Journalism Review reported in 2009, after the rise of the internet upset newspapers’ business model.

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Hilary Shelton, who heads the NAACP’s Washington office, was asked how much influence the departed Omarosa Manigault Newman had with President Trump. Holding the title of White House communications director for the Office of the Public Liaison, she described herself as the African American closest to the president.

“We’ve not been invited to the White House,” Shelton said. “There’s no indication that anybody’s getting to the president.”

Katie Beck, BBC: Australia election: Why is voting compulsory? (2013)

Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: White voters seek protection under the Voting Rights Act in case against Dallas County

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Responding to Critics, Sinclair Lashes Out at CNN

“Sinclair Broadcast Group has once again mobilized its local television stations to criticize media competitors, accusing CNN on Tuesday of ‘dishonesty and hypocrisy,’ “ Matt Pearce reported Tuesday for the Los Angeles Times.

“Sinclair, which owns 193 television stations and often broadcasts ‘must-run’ conservative commentary, has been in the news since a video compilation went viral showing Sinclair news anchors reading a corporate script condemning ‘one-sided news stories’ and ‘bias’ — echoing President Trump’s attacks on journalists.

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“In the backlash, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter came down hard on the network for the mandated messaging. Many Sinclair journalists weren’t happy with their corporate leaders either.

“Sinclair Chief Executive Chris Ripley tried to reassure employees in an internal memo Tuesday, writing that local journalists had borne the brunt of the ‘politically motivated’ backlash. . . .”

Meanwhile, Gregory J. Martin, an assistant professor of political science at Emory University, and Josh McCrain, a graduate student in political science there, wrote in the Washington Post Tuesday that they had found that “Stations bought by Sinclair reduce coverage of local politics, increase national coverage and move the ideological tone of coverage in a conservative direction relative to other stations operating in the same market. . . .”

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According to Bob Butler, immediate past president of the National Association of Black Journalists, who surveyed the extent of diversity among television newsroom management [PDF], “Sinclair owns about 20-percent of all the newsrooms in the country and provides news for other newsrooms as part of shared services agreements.

“In the last census I did there were about 750 newsrooms nationwide.

“If the Tribune merger is approved it would own 235 stations. Not all those stations have newsrooms but Sinclair would own at least 25% of all of America’s local news stations.”

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Sinclair rescinded a planned $25,000 donation to the National Press Photographers Association after the group criticized the promo campaign.

Stelter reported on Tuesday, “Staffers at KOMO in Seattle and other Sinclair stations chipped in donations to the group — a gesture of goodwill to partly make up for the lost $25,000.

“The NPPA has received $11,000 in recent days, both from staffers and outsiders. . . .”

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Michael Calderone and Jason Schwartz, Politico: Sinclair CEO says ‘extremists’ trying to bully company

Joe Flint and John McKinnon, Wall Street Journal: Sinclair Faces Federal Resistance Over Proposed Purchase of Tribune Media (paywall)

Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Sinclair’s Stepford anchors

Justin Simmons, Washington Post: I worked for Sinclair. I had to quit.

Pete Vernon, Columbia Journalism Review: What it’s like to watch Sinclair — and why that’s the story

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Local TV News Employs More Than Newspapers

For the first time, more people are employed in the local TV news business than at the nation’s newspapers,John Eggerton reported Thursday for Broadcasting & Cable.”That is according to a couple of top-line findings from a new research report from the Radio-Television Digital News Association, which won’t be released until next week. That finding could either be a boost in TV news employment, the continued decline of print, or some combination of both. . . .”

Shaun King, Activist Journalist, Detained at Customs

Shaun King is a controversial guy,” Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote Wednesday for the Miami Herald.

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Shaun King

“As an activist and journalist, he’s been prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, defended the Palestinians, and attacked the Republican Party, On Monday, apparently as a result of his politics, King was briefly detained at JFK Airport by an agent of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol while returning home from Egypt.

“In a series of tweets and a telephone interview, King described a ‘frustrating’ and ‘weird’ episode like something out of the ‘Twilight Zone.’ He said he was approached by a customs official who pulled him out of line and took him down a white hall to a nondescript office. His wife, unwilling to be separated, came along, as did their children.

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“King said the agent first attempted to ply the children with small talk but that he, King, told his wife and kids ‘to not say a damn word.’ According to King, the agent asked why they had visited Egypt — ‘traditional family vacation’ was the reply — then inquired about King’s work with Black Lives Matter. He spoke in such a way, said King, that it became obvious he had ‘been reading my tweets and knew all about me.’ And King said the agent made reference to his ‘case,’ indicating that whatever this was was ongoing and longstanding.

“Again, King might be controversial, but he’s no terrorist. . . .”

Exposure to Gun Violence Can Lead to PTSD

Nationally, gun violence remains the leading cause of death for young African American men,” Jimmie Briggs reported Monday for the Investigative Fund.

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“It’s now widely understood that soldiers returning from war zones are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder — a mental condition that may develop in people who’ve experienced shocking or terrifying events, and whose symptoms include intense nightmares, intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, and depression. Much less recognized or explored is how the stress and trauma of exposure to violence radiates through communities right here in the US.

“In one of a comparative handful of federally funded studies on the subject, researchers in Atlanta interviewed more than 8,000 urban residents, mostly young and black. Nearly a third of respondents experienced symptoms consistent with PTSD, a rate comparable to that of combat veterans who fought in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, residents of these communities are much less likely to receive the support and care necessary to cope with PTSD. Racial disparities in access to mental healthcare in the US are stark: Studies have found that black people receive far less mental healthcare than whites, and they are more likely to live in an area with limited access to care. . . .”

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Hannah Dreier, ProPublica: What It Was Like Reporting on a Teenager Marked for Death by the Gang MS-13

Hannah Dreier, New York: The Betrayal of Triste: Henry thought that talking to the cops would help him escape MS-13. Instead, it put his life in even more danger.

Jim Avila to Receive Transplant From His Brother

Jaie Avila and Jim Avila
Photo: TVNewser

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Late last year, veteran ABC News correspondent Jim Avila was told by his doctor that he would need a new kidney,” Alissa Krinsky reported Tuesday for TVNewser.

“ ‘And then about three months ago,’ he tells TVNewser, ‘they said, “You need it immediately.” There was a change.’

“That’s when his ‘big race,’ as Avila calls it, began. ‘I had to find a donor and get a transplant within three months or so, or else I would have to have dialysis. And that was a non-starter for me.’

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“Enter Jaie Avila, the youngest of the five Avila siblings, who, like his brother, is a a TV news reporter.

“Jaie was the closest possible match out of the immediate Avila clan — which includes Jim’s three grown children. Jaie agreed to donate one of his kidneys. Jim’s doctors were able to quickly schedule the surgeries, to be performed in separate but adjacent operating rooms Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. . . .”

How Ruby Bridges Became the Perfect MLK50 Story

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Mary Mitchell and Maudlyne Ihejirika (credit: Chicago Sun-Times) 

Welcome to The Chicago Sun-Times’ ‘Working the Story’ — a video feature that takes you behind the scenes of what goes into putting together breaking news stories and features,” columnist Mary Mitchell told readers and viewers Thursday in introducing the feature.

“Joining me in the newsroom to talk about the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination 50 years later package is Maudlyne Ihejirika, author of the Chicago Chronicles column. Maudlyne, your column ‘Marking Memphis, Moving Forward’ is called sort of a scene setter, but you had a column before that when you talked about the iconic Bridges story. Talk about that. Ruby Bridges story. Talk about that.

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“[00:00:39] IHEJIRIKA: Right. Well, Ruby Bridges, of course, is the civil rights icon who was the subject of the 1964 Norman Rockwell painting that had the pretty little girl who was walking surrounded by four white federal marshals and against the backdrop as she passed was a wall splattered with the n-word, et cetera. And so it’s a painting that was one of the earliest political statements of Norman Rockwell who was a supporter of the civil rights movement. And so Ruby Bridges grew up to become someone who spent her entire life really promoting racial harmony and talking about how that experience impacted her on where we need to be today.

“[00:01:27] MITCHELL: So we call that a scene setter. What is a scene setter?

“[00:01:30] IHEJIRIKA: So a scene setter is when you start to think about Martin Luther King’s fiftieth anniversary assassination stories you say OK what is it that we want to do? We want to mark the occasion right? Right. But we also want to mark it with stories that will leave impact and that move people, hopefully that move them to action and reflection. And so you start to search in your inbox like mine is filled. I mean right. 27 thousand, that started probably around January. Started getting pitches for stories.

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“And amongst those[27,000] e-mails are many many pitches for stories for MLK 50 and so you wade through them and you wade through them and you’re looking for the one that’s going to grab people. And I happened to receive a pitch from “One Hope United” which is a nonprofit in Chicago that is having a May 4th fundraiser that Ruby Bridges was going to keynote. . . .”

Kriston Capps and Kate Rabinowitz, City Lab: How the Fair Housing Act Failed Black Homeowners

City Lab: Cities on Fire 1968: Urban America After MLK

Roy Peter Clark, the Undefeated: Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral, a photographer and a photo that still makes us cry

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Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Taking the Lessons of the Holy Season and MLK — but Not to Heart

Editorial, Kansas City Star: Has Kansas City improved for African Americans since Martin Luther King Jr.’s death?

Aaron Glantz, Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting: The Fair Housing Act’s unkept promises

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Michael Lyle Jr., Karvis Jones, Alicia V. Hilliard, Micole Williams, Jhas Williams-Wood, Sharon Toomer, National Association of Black Journalists: Check out these #MLK50 essays from NABJ members!

Marilyn Milloy, City Lab: How a Black Reporter Covered D.C. in 1968 (on Jack White)

Charles Austin, Boston Trailblazer, Dies at 73

Charles Austin (Credit: Tom Herde/Boston Globe/file 1995)

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Charles Austin reported on major moments in Boston and world history during more than 30 years as a WBZ-TV reporter, but arguably the most compelling story he shared with viewers was the example of his own life,” Bryan Marquard reported Tuesday for the Boston Globe

“Aneurysms, a stroke, prostate cancer — nothing could mute Mr. Austin’s voice. A trailblazing African-American in Boston’s broadcast media, he was honored for his reporting, for his work promoting health awareness, and for being a mentor to those who followed in his footsteps.

“Mr. Austin, who was 73 and lived in South Dartmouth, died Tuesday morning.

“ ‘People trusted Charlie and Charlie trusted them, and that’s how he found his way into some of the most memorable stories in Boston — and, frankly, beyond,’ said Peter Brown, a former news director at WBZ.

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“He added that ‘Charlie’s compass was his compassion — his compassion for others, and the stories he was able to tell about them.’

“Mr. Austin received an Emmy in 1970 for a documentary studying violence in Africa, and a Gilda Radner Award in 1997 for his inspirational role as a cancer survivor. Mr. Austin, whose daughter Danielle was born with Down syndrome, also was inducted into the Massachusetts Special Olympics Hall of Fame. . . .”

Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity

Beginning in 1990, the Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually granted 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.”

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AOJ merged in 2016 into the American Society of News Editors, which is continuing the Bingham award tradition.

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.”

Gerald Jordan

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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).

Also, 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); William Drummond, University of California at Berkeley (2014); Julian Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Arlington (2015) (video); David G. Armstrong, Georgia State University (2016) (video); and

Gerald Jordan, University of Arkansas (2017).

Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, ASNE Opinion Journalism Committee, richardprince (at) hotmail.com. The deadline is May 18. Please use that address only for ASNE matters.

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Short Takes

Theresa Vargas

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James Ragland

James Ragland, columnist at the Dallas Morning News since 1985, is leaving the newspaper, he told Facebook friends on Wednesday. “I am mulling over some interesting opportunities as we speak but will take my time picking my next adventure. A trip to visit my son in China is in the making,” he wrote. Ragland added for Journal-isms, “I’ve been blessed with countless, unsolicited opportunities over the years to run newspapers, lead departments, write books, direct journalism programs, etc. I was loyal to my adopted hometown — Dallas — and to the paper where I cut my teeth, perhaps to a fault. It’s time to do something else, to find a place where I can be of service. The door is open. . . .”

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Sarah Fraser and Holly Morris of WTTG-TV in Washington.

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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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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.