"Sports website SB Nation published its disastrous and 'wrongheaded' February story about Daniel Holtzclaw — the college football player turned cop who was convicted in December of serial rape — due to a series of organizational and editorial breakdowns and an 'overall lack of diversity,' the Vox Media-owned site said," Kim Bellware reported Thursday for the Huffington Post.
"In a letter published Thursday that outlined the findings of an internal editorial investigation, SB Nation’s Editorial Director Spencer Hall said the site’s lack of diversity 'exposed blind spots.'
“ 'If there is one key, unmistakable takeaway from the Holtzclaw story, it is that an organization cannot afford to wait to be diverse [PDF], particularly if that organization is one that wants to tell stories,' Hall wrote. . . . ."
Hall's letter said, "We will continue to work on building and valuing diversity throughout all functions and levels within SB Nation. SB Nation is broadening the editorial structure at the top, and ensuring a wide range of voices makes decisions not just on future features, but on every aspect of our direction, with even greater urgency."
It did not elaborate.
The editorial director's examination also concluded that "issues of sensitivity" were wrongly left to women and people of color on the staff.
"This distressingly implies that other senior staff were okay with caring less. That it is left to the newsroom’s two senior-most women, one of whom is of color, to be the people asked to identify issue-related editorial missteps in stories about sexual assault or race or LGBTQ issues is inexplicable and unacceptable.
"They should not be seen as the gatekeepers of sensitivity. . . . it is part of an editor’s job to be sensitive to the words and implications of a story. It’s flatly unacceptable for any editor to assume that it’s not his or her job to care to the fullest extent about matters of ethics, integrity, and accuracy, which is essentially what caring about the construction and phrasing of sensitive stories boils down to."
Race was central to Holtzclaw's story. "It seems nearly impossible to extricate the issues of race, gender, and abuse of power from a profile of Daniel Holtzclaw," Hall's report said. "A man of racial and institutional privilege (Holtzclaw’s father is white, and his mother is Japanese), he terrorized the black women he was sworn, as a police officer, to protect, choosing them as victims because he believed he could intimidate them into silence. Yet 'Who Is Daniel Holtzclaw?' manages to gloss over these issues almost completely.
"The story periodically acknowledges its subject’s guilt, but its overall structure, language choices, and underlying reporting more frequently have the effect of either casting doubt on the criminal charges of which Holtzclaw was convicted or portraying Holtzclaw himself as a victim.
"The story gives significant space to unsubstantiated speculation about what external factors might have 'driven' a police officer to rape numerous women, barely addresses the specifics of the horrible crimes of which he was convicted, and relies heavily on extensive interviews with people who dispute the validity of his conviction while almost entirely excluding the voices of his victims.
"It fits into a familiar model: an in-depth, humanizing character portrait of a suspect or criminal — usually one who’s white. If a publication takes on a story like this, its editors should be particularly cautious about making sure the piece doesn’t end up erasing the subject’s victims or crimes, as happened here."
It continued, "According to Vox Media-supplied diversity data, as of March 31, 2016, 89 percent of SB Nation editorial staff self-identify as male, and 87 percent self-identify as white, the highest numbers in both categories across all Vox Media brands.
"Despite taking some steps toward a more diverse newsroom — including the creation in 2015 of an SB Nation–specific diversity committee, and hosting a summit in Washington, DC for women writers and editors in August 2015 (with a second edition scheduled for August 2016) — editors at SB Nation at all levels, including Hall and [Kevin] Lockland [VP, Sports Operations], agree that not enough is happening to diversify the team.
"A substantial portion of overall SB Nation editorial is made up of part-time contributors; for SBNation.com’s part in that, recruitment has been admirably inclusive of individuals from all backgrounds. But SB Nation is the oldest of Vox Media’s brands, and consequently is growing the size of its staff at a slower rate than other Vox Media brands. New positions, particularly at the senior level, are rarely created, and staff turnover is minimal. Those factors combined mean that SB Nation has had few opportunities to introduce diverse new perspectives into its newsroom. . . ."
Bellware's story continued, "The full report released by SB Nation details the pitch from freelance journalist Jeff Arnold who — problematically, critics noted — had covered Holtzclaw’s 'entire Eastern Michigan football career'; the concerns raised internally during the editing process; the lack of cohesive communication among editors; and the frantic, at times ugly, last-ditch effort to head off the story.
"The 11,000-word feature 'Who Is Daniel Holtzclaw?' explored his prep and college football past and the reaction of family and former teammates after he was sentenced to 263 years in prison for raping and sexually assaulting 13 women while an officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
"The story attracted an almost immediate firestorm of criticism in the five hours it remained on SB Nation’s website. It was ultimately taken offline and replaced with a note from Hall, who apologized and called the article 'tone deaf' and 'a complete failure.'
"The article was skewered for its sympathetic portrayal of Holtzclaw and the lengths it went to . . . humanize him; the story cast Holtzclaw’s victims — mostly black, poor women — as 'troubled.' . . .”
The Oklahoman: Former Oklahoma City police officer sentenced to 263 years in prison (Jan. 21)
Coates: Killing Roof Doesn't End What Spawned Him
Dylann Roof, the accused killer of nine worshipers at Charleston's Mother Emanuel AME Church, "deserves the ultimate punishment" if found guilty, the Post and Courier editorialized on Thursday.
But Ta-Nehisi Coates, the celebrated Atlantic magazine writer, wrote Thursday that "killing Roof does absolutely nothing to ameliorate the conditions that brought him into being in the first place.
"The hammer of criminal justice is the preferred tool of a society that has run out of ideas," Coates continued. "In this sense, Roof is little more than a human sacrifice to The Gods of Doing Nothing. Leave aside actual substantive policy. In a country where unapologetic slaveholders and regressive white supremacists still, at this late date, adorn our state capitals and our highest institutions of learning, it is bizarre to kill a man who acted in their spirit.
"And killing Roof, like the business of the capital punishment itself, ensures that innocent people will be executed. The need to extract vengeance cannot always be exact. It is all but certain that a disproportionate number of those who pay for this lack of precision will not look like Dylann Roof."
"Authorities will have two chances to see that Dylann Roof meets the same fate as his victims," Andrew Knapp reported Friday in the Post and Courier.
"But never in modern times have both state and federal prosecutors sought someone’s execution at the same time. How they will manage two death penalty cases could break legal ground and offer some lessons. . . ."
Meanwhile, veteran Charleston journalist Herb Frazier, a former reporter and columnist at the Post and Courier, has co-authored "We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel," with Bernard Edward Powers Jr., Ph.D. and Marjory Wentworth. Timed for publication a year after the June 17, 2015, shootings, the book covers the context surrounding the Mother Emanuel events — the history of slavery, racism, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement in Charleston, including the Denmark Vesey slave uprising of 1822.
Joe Davidson, Washington Post: House takes action against Confederate flag, a symbol of treason
A Multicultural Counterpoint to Awards Shows
"Who's been to the WH Correspondents dinner? (A few hands go up) Does it look like this? @ #VILMMCD Multicultural Corresp Dinner," Suzanne Gamboa tweeted Thursday night, referring to the inaugural Multicultural Media Correspondents Dinner.
Staged at the National Press Club in Washington by Vote it Loud, a nonprofit, nonpartisan political education organization targeting people of color, the event attracted 330 people across both entertainment and news media.
In the year of #OscarsSoWhite, the multicultural honorees were, according to a note from publicist Zabrina Horton:
"Jamie Foxx, (Actor/singer/songwriter); Richard Lui, (Journalist and Anchor from MSNBC and NBC); Blanquita Cullum (host of The Hard Question); Todd Brown (CEO of The Grio); Cenk Uygur (Host & Co-Founder of The Young Turks); Patricia Guadalupe (Journalist); Victor Shiblie (Publisher of The Washington Diplomat); Kim Keenan (CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council – MMTC); Armstrong Williams (Founder & CEO of Howard Stirk Holdings); and Hon. Charles B. Rangel (U.S. House of Representatives, D-NY, 13th District)."
Politico reporter Nolan D. McCaskill tweeted this quote from Williams: "Count me in as a sponsor next year. It's not enough to show up" #VILMMCD
David Oyelowo to Play Journalist Gary Younge
David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr., in the 2014 movie "Selma," is to star as black British journalist Gary Younge, who has covered the United States for the Guardian and the Nation Institute, in an adaptation of "Another Day in the Death of America," Younge's forthcoming book.
"The drama focuses on the escalating issue of gun violence in the US and the events of one day: 23 November 2013," Benjamin Lee reported April 14 for the Guardian . "It was a day that saw 10 children shot dead yet none of the deaths made national news.
“ 'Every day in the US seven children and teens are killed by guns,' said a spokesperson for the book’s publisher Guardian Faber.
" 'Gary Younge picked a day at random and spent 18 months exploring the lives and deaths of all the youngsters who were shot dead that day. What emerges is a sobering — and searing — portrait of a normal day in contemporary America.' . . .
"In 2015, Younge was awarded the David Nyhan prize for political journalism by Harvard University. His book will be published on 29 September in the UK and on 4 October in the US."
Native Leaders Strike Back on Washington Post Poll
"Native American leaders and activists criticized a recent national poll that found nine of 10 Native Americans aren't offended by the Washington Redskins' name," the Associated Press reported Friday.
"On a conference call held Friday by the Oneida Nation News, panelists voiced opposition to a Washington Post poll that surveyed 504 Native Americans, 90 percent of whom said the name doesn't bother them.
"James Fenelon, a California State San Bernardino sociology professor, called the poll 'immoral,' adding it was not representative of Native American communities. Amanda Blackhorse, lead plaintiff in the trademark case against the Redskins, said the "misguided" poll will not affect attempts to change the name.
"National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata said: 'This issue is not about polling. This issue is about human rights.’
"D.C. councilmember David Grosso said he hasn't been swayed and that the government wouldn't support the team moving back into the District unless the name was changed."
Raymond Foxworth, Indian Country Today Media Network: Skins Poll: Tribes Have Spoken, Which Is All That Matters
C. Richard King, Indian Country Today Media Network: On the Washington Post Redskins Poll
Michel Martin with Ray Halbritter, "All Things Considered," NPR: Native American Leader Responds To Washington Post 'Redskins' Poll (May 21)
Native Writer Calls Out Trump on ‘Pocahontas’ Jab
"Donald Trump continued to mock Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry, as the two continued their public war of words from a distance Thursday," Nik DeCosta-Klipa reported for boston.com. "However, this time, the Republican candidate’s remarks apparently offended someone in the same room. (video)
"As a reporter began a question about the Massachusetts senator during a press conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, Trump interjected to say, 'Who? Pocahontas?'
"The remark garnered a few laughs from Trump’s supporters on stage, but not all in attendance were amused.
“ 'That’s very offensive. Sorry,' replied a person in the audience, later identified as Nicole Robertson, a writer and media specialist from Canada and member of the Cree nation.
"According to a Guardian reporter, Robertson has previously asked Trump a question about tribal sovereignty. . . ."
Jenna Johnson added for the Washington Post, "Warren responded in a series of tweets, saying Trump needs to get his facts straight, as she did not attend Harvard.
" 'I'm a graduate of @UHouston and @RutgersU,' Warren tweeted. She followed up: 'If @realDonaldTrump means my job at Harvard, he can ask Charles Fried, Solicitor General for Reagan. He says loud & clear that’s a lie.' "
Meanwhile, Conrad Lee blogged for parsely.com, "We analyzed more than one billion page views across more than 100,000 articles to figure out which of the last five remaining major U.S. Presidential candidates were getting the most attention both from reporters and readers.
"The results surprised us, suggesting that while journalists seem to be preoccupied with covering Trump, the public is not especially interested in reading about him. The average number of page views for an article on Donald Trump is very similar to the average number of page views for an article on Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Ted Cruz. In fact, Clinton — not Trump — receives the most views per article. . . ."
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Violence Is Never the Answer
Charles Clymer, medium.com: The Pettiness of the Angry White Male
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Blasts from the past in the 2016 campaign season, with a touch of anti-Asian xenophobia
Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Bernie and Donald Are Two Sides of Same Angry, White Coin
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Trump Will Make America Gross Again
Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: Fox News Latino poll finds Hispanics not buying what Trump is selling
Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Donald Trump clarifies why he asks his supporters not to hurt protesters
No Questions About Poverty in Democratic Debates
"Over 45 million Americans live in poverty — but you wouldn’t think potential leaders of the country are expected to know or care anything about this, listening to the questions asked by the elite journalists who moderated the Democratic debates this primary season," Adam Johnson reported Friday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.
"A FAIR analysis of all nine [Democratic] debates over the past seven months shows that not one question was asked about poverty. By contrast, 30 questions were asked about ISIS or terrorism (almost half of them concentrated in the December 19 debate, which took place days after the San Bernardino shootings) and 11 questions were asked Russia. Ten questions were asked about socialism or communism, all of which were directed at Bernie Sanders.
"The candidates themselves have brought up poverty, either in their prepared remarks or in response to more abstract questions about the economy. Sanders brought up poverty in all but two debates, broaching the topic 12 times, or approximately 1.3 times per debate. [Hillary] Clinton brought up the issue three times in total, or on average a little more than once every three debates. . . ."
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune: Chicago's racial employment gaps among worst in nation
Craig Harrington, Media Matters for America: STUDY: Sunday Shows Less Likely Than Weekday Competitors To Discuss Poverty
Shaun King, Daily News, New York: Hillary Clinton should quit presidential race over email scandal
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Hillary looks like the pragmatic choice
Maria Elena Salinas Slams Young Reporter
"Our clubs editor Denise De La Cruz has had one hell of a week," Gustavo Arellano wrote Friday for OC Weekly.
"On Sunday, she graduated with a bachelor's degree from Cal State Fullerton's College of Communications.
"On Monday, she wrote a first-person account of how the comm school's keynote speaker, Univisión anchor Maria Elena Salinas, got booed for speaking Spanish and trashing Trump.
"Tuesday, Denise saw her story go national; Wednesday saw her do interviews with the Washington Post, New York Times, and more.
"On Thursday, she realized that Cal State Fullerton's private Facebook page for the school's Latino Communications Initiative (a group for Latino comm majors) had kicked her out—this after a week of students and professors complaining that she had brought shame to Cal State Fullerton.
"And today, Denise gets to deal with the aftermath of Salinas penning an extraordinarily petty column trashing the 23-year-old for her coverage.
"All for telling the truth. . . ."
Detergent So Good It Turns Black Man Chinese
"Well. This is a commercial for a Chinese detergent brand called Qiaobi that was uploaded onto YouTube on Wednesday," Beimeng Fu wrote Thursday (updated Friday) for BuzzFeed under the headline, "We Found It — The Most Racist Ad Of 2016."
"It is racist. Very, very racist.
"So far the video — which starts off innocently enough with a Chinese woman washing clothes — has garnered over 16,000 views. (video)
"Then this black man with paint on his face and shirt walks in and gives a classic wolf whistle. Some of you may already see where this is going.
"After inviting him closer, the woman stuffs a laundry detergent capsule in his mouth and shoves him into the washing machine.
"Yup. That really happened. She put a black man through the washing machine and he came out Chinese.
"Just look at him. So 'clean.' So 'white.' The perfect ambassador for the magic of the detergent. . . ."
Dexter Thomas added Thursday for the Los Angeles Times, "Clearly, this is playing off the idea that black people are somehow dirty. You might think that this is evidence that China hates black people. But it’s not quite so simple. . . ."
Thomas also wrote, "The use of black people as metaphors for filthiness used to be routine in American and British soap advertisements — and in that sense, the Qiaobi commercial also has a distinctly Western heritage. A late 1800s American soap ad for Pearline soap featured a black woman scrubbing her child, saying, 'Golly! I B’leve PEARLINE Make Dat Chile White!' A British advertisement from the same era showed a white child washing a black child with soap to reveal white skin beneath.
"This isn't to say that China learned everything about racism and prejudice from America. But in this genre of racist branding, Americans are the innovators. . . . "
Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post: China and India have a huge problem with racism toward black people
D.C. Media Mark Anniversary of Reporter's Killing
"D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier went back to the spot today where Charnice Milton, a young community journalist on her way home from a story last year, was murdered while waiting for a bus," Sam Ford reported Thursday for Washington's WJLA-TV.
" 'What I want people to hear from us today is that we need people to continue to come forward,' the Chief, who knew Milton, said.
"Police believe surveillance video of ATVs driving by is that of the person who fired the shot that killed Milton. They believe that the shooter was intending on hitting someone else, but that someone else used Milton as a human shield.
"Many believe dozens of people know who committed this murder, they just haven't come forward, and that has angered community activists.
" 'It is a shame in this community that we have so many people shielding these murderers; these black lives matter too,' Phil Pannell said.
"Today, a year later since the incident, Milton's step father asked people for empathy. . . ."
On May 27, 2015, Milton stepped off a bus after covering a meeting and, police said, was used as a human shield in gunfire between two dirt-bike groups.
The anniversary of Milton's death as widely covered by D.C. media outlets: the Washington Post (video), WUSA-TV, WRC-TV, WJLA-TV, WTOP Radio, Washington City Paper, the Washington Informer and the Associated Press.
On May 3, the Newhouse School at Syracuse University announced it had established the Charnice Milton Award for Excellence in Community Journalism and presented it to Ashley McBride. Milton was an alumna.
Milton is one of four African American reporters killed in work-related circumstances.
Maurice Williams, a 24-year-old reporter for Howard University radio station WHUR-FM, was killed in 1977 as he headed to his beat at Washington's city hall. Chauncey Bailey, 57, died in 2007 after the former leader of Oakland, Calif.'s Your Black Muslim Bakery was angered by his stories, and Oakland Tribune photographer Kenneth Perry Green, 40, was killed in 1982 when a train slammed him against the empty boxcar. He had just photographed the boxcar to illustrate a story about the economy's effect on railroads. Green told police before he died that he knew a train was coming, but had misjudged his distance from the tracks, the Tribune reported at the time.
"At 6:00 a.m. Friday morning, The Washington Post published an in-depth piece by Anna Fifield called, 'The secret life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt, who has lived in the U.S. since 1998,' ” J.D. Durkin reported Friday for Mediaite. Durkin also wrote of Ko Yong Suk and her husband, previously known as Ri Gang, "Despite their anonymity, the author managed to track down the two through the help of lawyers and former North Korean defectors who would publicly discuss that even Kim Jong-un’s own family wished to distance themselves from the cult of personality rule over the country. In preparation for the piece, WaPo spent an entire weekend with the couple, who requested that their names here in America not be released, large in part to protect their three grown children. . . ."
"If you want to get an eyewitness picture of the refugee crisis from its epicenter, the shores of Lesbos, Greece, I’ve got a documentary for you," Paul Greeley reported Friday for TVNewsCheck. "It wasn’t produced by the BBC, CNN, The UN or even by professional journalists. It was written, shot, edited and produced by students at Penn State University. The Journey is a compelling story about the desperation of innocent people trying to escape extreme suffering that they don’t deserve. . . . The Journey recently aired on the WPSU, PBS station in State College, home of Penn State and was seen across 29 counties in central Pennsylvania. . . ."
In Philadelphia, "Veteran 6ABC anchor Lisa Thomas-Laury announced Wednesday that she is officially retiring from the station she has been with since 1978," Molly Eichel reported Thursday for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "In 2003, the anchor-reporter went on medical leave after she was diagnosed with POEMS syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder. She returned to the station in 2007 but had to take another leave after the disease returned. . . . " Thomas-Laury is writing a book about autoimmune diseases with a prominent medical journalist and proceeds will go to charity, Eichel wrote.
"Baltimore: ChangeMakers," which began Thursday on NBCBLK, "will introduce you to some of the individuals who are engaging youth, seeking to improve their neighborhoods block by block, and demanding that their voices be heard in corridors of power," a headline over the series by Donna Owens begins. "Each one is different but determined in their own unique way to change the paradigm in the city, pushing to help rebuild it one day, one person at a time."
Gail Wiggins of North Carolina A&T State University has been chosen Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ announced on Monday. "In addition to her university responsibilities, Professor Wiggins has coordinated A&T's annual NABJ Multimedia Short Course for the last 20 years. During the Short Course, students from across the country produce newscasts, webcasts, podcasts, video slideshows and social media. . . ."
"The Committee to Protect Journalists has been denied access to the UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies and processes after a vote by the UN NGO (nongovernmental organization) Committee," John Eggerton reported Thursday for Multichannel News. "CPJ at least finally got a vote by the committee, which . . . had been blocked procedurally since it first applied to gain 'consultative" status in 2012, which it says would have allowed it to counter the narratives of member states. . . ."
"The Vietnamese government restricted access to Facebook Inc inside Vietnam for several days this week as part of a broader crackdown on human rights and political dissidents during a visit by President Barack Obama, two activist organizations said on Thursday," Yasmeen Abutaleb reported Friday for Reuters.
"CNN and HLN have hired Hines Ward, the two-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl MVP, and winner of season 12 of Dancing With the Stars," Mark Joyella reported Wednesday for TVNewser. “Based in Atlanta, Hines will serve as sports contributor on Morning Express with Robin Meade, and will also provide analysis and commentary for all CNN platforms,” writes Bill Galvin in a memo to staff Wednesday. . . ."
"ESPN’s recently launched website The Undefeated has definitely hit the streets running with compelling stories about race, sports and pop culture," Kellee Terrell reported Thursday for alldigitocracy.org. "Around the web the site has gotten good reviews and well wishes — even from its former editor Jason Whitlock, who was fired from his post in 2015. In an interview, Whitlock recently told the Sporting News that the site now directed by new Editor-in-Chief Kevin Merida is 'awesome.' . . . ”
Pro Publica has chosen five recipients of its first-ever ProPublica NAHJ/NABJ scholarship, Lena Groeger wrote for the investigative reporting outlet Thursday. They are: Ayanna Gill, Alejandra Martinez, Arriana McLymore, Evelyn Riveros and Francisco Vara-Orta. Each receives a $500 scholarship to attend the 2016 NABJ-NAHJ convention in Washington Aug. 3-7.
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