Jose Diaz-Balart, an MSNBC and Telemundo host shown with an undocumented teen identified only as Maria, will officially become a rotating anchor on the Saturday edition of "NBC Nightly News" and will be a regular contributor to "Meet the Press."
MSNBC Screenshot

Network News President Blunders but Elevates Diaz-Balart

"Hispanic lawmakers hoped a meeting with top executives from MSNBC and NBC News Wednesday would smooth over hard feelings from Donald Trump's appearance on 'Saturday Night Live.' Instead, it had the opposite effect," Lauren French and Hadas Gold reported Wednesday for Politico.


"NBC News President Deborah Turness committed a major blunder — as far as the Hispanic lawmakers were concerned — when she described undocumented immigrants as 'illegals,' a term that many in the Latino community find highly offensive.

"Turness was describing NBC's integration with their Spanish-language network Telemundo, which included coverage of Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. and his interaction with a young girl who was afraid her parents would be deported because they're 'illegals.'

" 'I'm going to stop you right there. We use the term undocumented immigrants,' Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) interrupted.


"Turness apologized.

"That exchange kicked off a meeting that was already expected to be tense. Lawmakers were hoping for an explanation of why Trump hosted Saturday Night Live, despite formal protests from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. MSNBC and NBC News executives  — who are part of a separate entity from NBC's entertainment division, which oversees SNL — came expecting to talk about the progress they've made in making their newsrooms more diverse.

"Vargas later told POLITICO, 'She was saying how they've done all these great things and then boom, she said "illegals." '


"It only got worse from there. Turness at one point spoke Spanish in an effort to show she understood and respected how important the issues discussed were to the Hispanic lawmakers.

" 'We love the Hispanic community…Yo hablo español,' Turness said, according to lawmakers present.

"But that didn't go over well with lawmakers, some of whom left irate. . . . .

"NBC officials did discuss their diversity efforts during the meeting, noting that the company has added more Hispanic correspondents to 'NBC Nightly News.' They also touted news that Jose Diaz-Balart, an MSNBC and Telemundo host, will officially become a rotating anchor on the Saturday edition of 'Nightly News' and will be a regular contributor to 'Meet the Press.' That part was well received, according to a source familiar with the meeting. . . ."


Ted Johnson, Variety: NBC Begins Making Equal Time Offers After Donald Trump's 'SNL' Gig

Syrian Journalist Says Internal Rifts Led ISIS to Bomb

The Paris terrorist bombings and other recent horrific acts by the Islamic State were undertaken in reaction to "problems between the fighters and the leaders," according to a Syrian journalist whose organization reports at its peril from behind the ISIS front lines.


Abdalaziz Alhamza, co-founder of the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), told Journal-isms by telephone from New York Friday that in the most recent acts of terrorism, leaders were out to demonstrate to the rank and file that the Islamic State "is still strong and can do anything everywhere in this world."

Alhamza, a 24-year-old Syrian refugee now living in Berlin, is visiting the United States to receive an International Press Freedom Award in New York Tuesday from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Journalists from Ethiopia, Malaysia and Paraguay are being similarly honored, and all have endured death threats, physical attacks, legal action, imprisonment or exile in the course of their work, CPJ said.


Alhamza's group "has been declared an enemy of God by Islamic State, and at least two RBSS members have already paid the price with their lives," CPJ added. "In October 2015, Ibrahim Abd al-Qader, an early member of RBSS, was killed by Islamic State operatives, along with his colleague Fares Hamadi, in an apartment in Urfa, southeastern Turkey. Al-Moutaz Bellah Ibrahim was kidnapped by Islamic State and murdered in May 2014.

"In July 2015, Islamic State released a highly produced video, showing two men saying they worked for RBSS. The men are then strung up on trees and shot. One of the founders of RBSS later told CPJ that the two men did not belong to the group. . . ."

Journal-isms talked with Alhamza after the awardees spoke at a press briefing Thursday in Washington in a congressional hearing room under the auspices of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Senate Human Rights Caucus.


Alluding to the beheadings, Alhamza told the group, "We don't know who will be the next one," but said it was important to be able to supply the Syrians who remain in the country with accurate information.

Michael Calderone, who interviewed Alhamza Tuesday for the Huffington Post, wrote, "The Islamic State ruthlessly cracked down on free expression from the start of its occupation, but in recent days has gone to even greater lengths to prevent information from getting out. They have closed Internet cafes, the group reported Wednesday, and Alhamza said it has become increasingly difficult to take photographs with security cameras installed throughout the city. Still, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently has been able to publish several audio recordings this week of warplanes bearing down on the city. . . ."

Asked whether he had any message for U.S. journalists, Alhamza told Journal-isms that they should "be safe and report the truth," but also "be careful before they publish," saying he had seen "a lot of information not confirmed" in circulation. As one example, he said it had been reported that ISIS members were buying and selling women in a public square for use as slaves. The selling took place, but in private homes and only the leadership participates, he said.


CPJ provided more background: "In April 2014, around 17 Syrian activists set out to document the abuses of Islamic State after the militant group took over and declared the northern city of Raqqa to be the caliphate's capital.

"The activists, working anonymously for their safety, formed a group, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), which is one of the few reliable and independent sources of news left in the Islamic State stronghold. The group's Raqqa-based members secretly film and report from within the city and send the information to members outside of Syria, who transfer the news to local and international media.

"Since its inception, RBSS has publicized public lashings, crucifixions, beheadings, and draconian social rules, thus providing the world with a counter-narrative to Islamic State's slickly produced version of events. . . ."


Other CPJ awardees are the Zone 9 bloggers from Ethiopia, "a group of bloggers of which six were arrested, imprisoned, and charged with terrorism in retaliation for critical reporting"; cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, "Zunar," from Malaysia, "who is charged with sedition and faces a potential 43-year jail term for drawings lampooning high-level abuse in the Malaysian government;" and Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, "a Paraguayan journalist who faces death threats and has lived under 24-hour police protection for the past two decades because of his reporting on drug smuggling on the Brazil-Paraguay border."

Anti-Defamation League: ADL Condemns Roanoke, VA Mayor's Reference To Internment Of Japanese During World War II As Reason To Deny Assistance To Syrian Refugees 

Dolores Bakela, Ebony: The future seems bleak for people of color, Muslims after the Paris attack


Nelson Balido, Fox News Latino: After Paris attack, heightened concerns for illegal immigration"

Mohamed Belmaaza, What the media can learn from coverage of the Paris attacks 

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: 1942 or 2015?

Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America: Ebola, Syrian Refugees, And Fox News' Annual Hysteria Over Dark, Invading Forces


Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: Trump Campaign Bars BuzzFeed Reporter From Iowa Event

Michael Cavna, Washington Post: Charged Malaysian cartoonist Zunar vows to fight on as he receives CPJ Press Freedom Award

Gregory Clay, Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail: Obama's legacy drives ISIS strategy 


Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center: U.S. public seldom has welcomed refugees into country

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: Wait, somebody thinks the Japanese internment camps were a good thing? 

Matthew P. Dillinger, Chicago Sun-Times: Blocking Syrian refugees from Illinois is misguided


Editorial, Daily News, New York: Keep the door open to Syrian refugees

Editorial, Daily News, New York: Trump trashes the Constitution: His openness to shuttering mosques, issuing a special ID card and building a database of Muslims is flatly un-American

Brian Flood, TVNewser: How Lester Holt Decides When He Should Report From the Field


Brian Flood, TVNewser: Juju Chang: 'Horrific Events in Paris Turned Swiftly Into an All Hands on Deck

Sergio Gonzalez, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Refugee decision is a moral decision

Glenn Greenwald, theIntercept: CNN Punished Its Own Journalist for Fulfilling a Core Duty of Journalism


Corinne Grinapol, FishbowlDC: Michel Martin on Borderless Grief

Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Syrian refugees, Japanese American internees, and the new American hysteria 

Rick Horowitz, Huffington Post: Turning Refugees Away? "We're Not That Kind of Country!" (Actually, We Are.)


Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Hunt Terrorists in Paris Massacre, Don't Witch-hunt Muslims 

Don Lemon, POTUS Says Accept Syrian Refugees. Repubs Say No Way! 

Media Matters for America: Fox's Juan Williams Calls Out Sean Hannity For "Inspiring Fear And Discrimination Against" Muslim Refugees


Tony Messenger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  One Missouri Republican stands up to fear on Syrian refugees 

Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: With gift to vandalized mosque, Jack Swanson, 7, has much to teach us about compassion

Steven Mufson, Washington Post:  A decade ago, she warned of radical Islam in Belgium's Molenbeek


Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Efforts to Fight 'Radical Islam' Critically Flawed 

Reporters Without Borders: RSF launches operation "#opendoor for reporters"

Roanoke (Va.) Times: Roanoke Mayor Bowers: 'I apologize to all those offended by my remarks'


Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The GOP's Islamic State bluster

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: On Syrian refugee issue, politicians should not stoke fear

Jack Shafer, Politico Magazine: The Myth of the Terrorist Mastermind

Ana Swanson, Washington Post: A lot of Americans think that Islam is at odds with their values


Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, Fox News Latino: Accepting Syrian refugees makes us safer from terror

Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National Book Award

"Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday night for 'Between the World and Me,' a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality," Alexandra Alter reported Wednesday for the New York Times.


" 'Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,' Mr. Coates said in an emotional acceptance speech. 'Over and over and over again. And it keeps happening.' . . .”

Brendan Gauthier, "You won’t enroll me in this lie": Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates' powerful National Book Award acceptance speech

Sharon Grigsby, Dallas Morning News: The America of Ta-Nehisi Coates and black youth who don't expect to survive their 30s


Smith Students Want Reporters to Declare Their Support

"Students and faculty at Smith College apparently didn't want a repeat of that ugly episode at the University of Missouri, where a communications professor was filmed calling for the forcible removal of a journalist from an on-campus demonstration earlier this month," Callum Borchers reported Thursday for the Washington Post.

"So when they held a sit-in Wednesday to protest racial discrimination, their solution was to not let in members of the media in the first place — unless said media members pledged allegiance to the cause.


"This remarkable passage comes from, whose reporter was turned away:

" 'Alyssa Mata-Flores, a 21-year-old Smith College senior and one of the sit-in's organizers, explained that the rule was born from "the way that media has historically painted radical black movements as violent and aggressive."

" 'We are asking that any journalists or press that cover our story participate and articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color,' she told MassLive in the Student Center Wednesday. 'By taking a neutral stance, journalists and media are being complacent in our fight.'


"Smith organizers said journalists were welcome to cover the event if they agreed to explicitly state they supported the movement in their articles.

"Wait, it gets better/worse:

"Stacey Schmeidel, Smith College director of media relations, said the college supports the activists' ban on media. . . ."


Meanwhile, Kia Breaux, a 1996 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and director of regional media for the Associated Press in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, wrote about her own student experience for the Missourian, which publishes in Columbia, Mo., where the school is based.

"The events that unfolded last week at Mizzou brought back many painful memories," Breaux wrote.

"They also were an indication that the work I've done to improve things for the next generation of students at my alma mater has fallen short.


"As a student pursuing a journalism degree at Mizzou in the 1990s, my intelligence was questioned. I was called a nigger, and I was subjected to offensive racial stereotypes. I also was respected, educated and nurtured by faculty and staff of all races. . . ."

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The power (and some folly) of campus protests

Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post: How Black Lives Matter, born on the streets, is rising to power on campus


Fuhrmann Taking Buyout from L.A. Times After 25 Years

Henry Fuhrmann, assistant managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, supervising the copy desks and library and heading the newsroom's Standards and Practices Committee, told colleagues on Thursday that he is taking a buyout.

"Today marks the start of my 306th — and final — month as an editor at the Los Angeles Times," Fuhrmann wrote on Facebook. "I'm happily hitting 'pause' on my career and accepting the company's buyout offer. By the time I leave on Dec. 18, I will have logged 25½ years in eight jobs in six departments, working alongside hundreds of the most accomplished, dedicated and, above all, generous journalists in the business. After all this time, I still can't believe my good fortune."


Fuhrmann messaged Journal-isms, "I plan to take a short break from daily journalism and then figure out the next steps in the new year, most likely something involving editing or possibly even teaching. I'll remain involved in AAJA, though I'll be scaling back on that score too."

Fuhrmann has been co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association's Los Angeles Chapter, a longtime Los Angeles board member and former national advisory board member.

Merida Denies Trying to Poach Post Staffers for Undefeated

On Oct. 6, Greg Howard of Deadspin parenthetically broke the news that ESPN President John Skipper was pursuing Kevin Merida, then a managing editor for the Washington Post, to lead ESPN's black-oriented site The Undefeated.


"Merida is interested; he met with Skipper in Los Angeles last month, and according to a source, he's been quietly asking if some of his favorite Post employees would be open to following him to ESPN," Howard wrote.

Less than two weeks later, ESPN and Merida announced that the rumor was true, and he is now The Undefeated's editor-in-chief. But until an interview Monday with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, Merida was silent about whether he had sought Post colleagues to follow him.

"I am looking to field the best team we can field," Merida told Deitsch. "Hiring is really difficult. You can't just hire all three-point shooters, just to mix sports metaphors, no matter how deadly accurate they are. You need to get the mix right. I made a conscious effort while I was still at The Post not to talk to my Post colleagues about coming to The Undefeated, both before I made the decision and even after it had been announced I was leaving. I didn't think that was right. Of course, now, we will look for talent everywhere. . . ."


Merida also described the kind of people he was looking for. "We hired 100 people for The Post newsroom last year. I like people who stand out, who have distinctive voices or distinctive ideas, who want to experiment, who are collaborative in nature, who might be odd or quirky, or just make you go, wow. I also like people with potential, who haven't become great yet. But you can see greatness in them. And of course, you need a Steph Curry or two," a reference to the Golden State Warriors point guard considered by some to be the greatest shooter in NBA history.

Irby's Exit Leaves Poynter Without Black Faculty

The departure of Kenny Irby, a fixture at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., since 2000, leaves Poynter with no African American faculty members but was part of a necessary reduction in staff as the institute seeks financial stability, Kelly McBride, vice president for academic programs, told Journal-isms on Thursday.


Since April 2012, Irby had been senior faculty, director of diversity programs and community relations and since 2010, senior faculty for visual journalism and diversity programs. In 2013, Karen Dunlap, Poynter's first African American president, announced her retirementKeith Woods, dean of faculty, left for NPR in 2010.

"Poynter continues to be deeply committed to the principles of diversity in both our staff and our work," McBride said in an email. "We seek diversity in the teachers who run our programs, the journalists we bring into our seminars, the materials from which we teach and the writers who appear on our site."

For the year ended in December, Poynter reported losses of $2.26 million compared with nearly $3.5 million in the previous year.


"You probably saw the story about our recent tax filing. We are getting very close to financial stability, something we have been pursuing since the economic crisis impacted the newspaper we own, the Tampa Bay Times. In 2014, we significantly narrowed the rate at which we lost money. This year we're doing even better, but we're still not yet where we need to be financially — and that's a balanced budget.

"To get there, we've completed a restructuring that reduced our staff by four people. As a result, we have 32 employees, including four people of color, one of whom is a member of our senior leadership team. Just earlier this month, we appointed to our Board of Trustees, the governing body of the institute, our second African-American member. Our board will include Rob King, the senior vice president for SportsCenter and News at ESPN. Rob now serves as the chair of our National Advisory Board. Rob will be our second African-American trustee, joining former Poynter Dean Stephen Buckley on the 11-member board.

"Also this month, we named Byron Pitts, the co-anchor of 'Nightline' and Senior National Correspondent for ABC News, to our National Advisory Board. Four of our 14 advisory board members are minorities.


"Poynter is also committed to community service. That's why we started a program called The Write Field, which mentors 40 middle school boys of color. That program has improved the academic performance of those young men, and it's been lauded by the U.S. Secretary of Education and featured in a segment on PBS.

"Although I can't talk about the details of Kenny's status, I can say that we're hopeful he will continue to run the Write Field for us, as well as teach in our  programs. Also, Kenny will be a Poynter affiliate faculty member and continue his association with the institute. We're very pleased that he'll continue to be part of Poynter.

"And yet we are not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, because 12.5% is hardly great. We're dedicated to the vigilance and hard work it will take to improve the diversity of our faculty and staff."


McBride listed the four staffers of color as Interactive Learning Manager Vidisha Priyanka, who "runs NewsU and sits on senior leadership;" Nico Guerrero, human resources manager; Latisha Williams, accountant; and Maria Jaimes, teaching & event services coordinator.

More Mexican Immigrants Leaving U.S. Than Migrating

"More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries," Ana Gonzalez-Barrera reported Thursday for the Pew Research Center.


"The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. . . ."

Russell Contreras, Associated Press: Census changes could make whites less than 50 percent sooner

Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Loss of Mexican migrants takes away scapegoats from some GOP presidential candidates


Ex-Officer Convicted; Station Aired Dashcam Video

"A jury has convicted an Inkster officer whose bloody beating of a driver was captured on video of assault and misconduct in office," WDIV-TV in Detroit reported Thursday.

"The jury rendered their decision Thursday, also finding [William] Melendez not guilty of a strangulation charge.


"Melendez is being held without bond until his sentencing on Dec. 3. His wife stormed out of the courtroom after Judge Vonda Evans announced Melendez's bond was denied.

"The jury this week rode in vans to see the street in Inkster where Floyd Dent was stopped by police and punched in the head 16 times by former Inkster police officer Melendez last January.

"The dashcam video wasn't publicly known until the Local 4 Defenders aired it in March. Melendez was fired, and Inkster agreed to pay $1.4 million to the 58-year-old Dent. . . ."


Editorial, Star Tribune, Minneapolis: A search for answers in police-involved shooting in Minneapolis

Jerome Hudson, Spike Lee Calls Out Black Lives Matter:  'You Can’t Ignore That We Are Killing Ourselves, Too' (Nov. 13)

MinnPost: Black Lives Matter protesters go to mayor's house, invited in by husband


Steven Nelson, U.S. News & World Report: Reporter Arrested Covering Minnesota Highway Protest

Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: New day coming in fatal police shooting investigations

Fran Spielman and Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago cops brace for trouble with release of shooting video


Rebecca Stewart, Star Tribune, Minneapolis: North Minneapolis: Caught in the middle

Short Takes

There are four new graduates of the Ailes Apprentice Program," Chris Ariens reported Friday for TVNewser. "Founded by Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, the AAP recruits and develops diverse talent who are given a salary and training for their careers. Several past graduates are working at Fox today. " 'As I look around the room, I see a few of our other graduates,' said Ailes at Thursday’s ceremony, at which FNC anchor Harris Faulkner gave the opening remarks. 'These graduates are going to change the world. They are the best hope for this country. They understand what it means to work, contribute, communicate and lead,' Ailes said. . . ."


"RTDNA and several other journalism organizations have written an open letter to musicians, calling on them to loosen restrictions on news photographers at concerts," the association said on Tuesday. "At issue are onerous contracts that not only severely limit photography at events, but require performer approval of photos, and demand photojournalists (or their employers) give up rights to the images in order to gain access to concerts. . . ."

"The Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest and Greater Philadelphia Region's largest newspaper serving the African-American community, celebrated its 130th Anniversary at a reception and gala on Thursday," Bobbi Booker reported Thursday for the Tribune. "The Pennsylvania Convention Center's Terrace Ballroom was the site for over 1,200 attendees gathered for this special event. Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Mayor Michael Nutter, the co-chairs of the Honorary Committee for the gala, gave remarks during the celebration. . . ."

The University of Texas' Long Institute of Latina Studies honored the career of journalist María Martin Thursday through a celebration entitled "Crossing Borders and Building Bridges" at the Benson Latin American Collection building, Teresa Mioli reported Friday for the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Martin is a National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2015 Hall of Fame inductee with a 40-year career in broadcast journalism and pioneering endeavors in bilingual journalism, James Barragan noted for the Austin American-Statesman. "Martin was the first Latino Affairs editor for National Public Radio and later founded its flagship program on Latinos in the country, 'Latino USA.' . . ." he wrote.


"Global news site Quartz wants to overhaul how it hires global talent," Ricardo Bilton reported Friday for "With what it's calling a 'talent lab,' Quartz wants to formalize how it discovers and develops writers, videographers and data journalists from around the world. It will be one part talent network, one part skill incubator, and a way for Quartz to increase its global coverage without breaking the bank. Quartz could, for example, spot and train a writer covering the Nigerian economy so as to help boost its own coverage of the space. The plans to hire a handful of editors to help scout and tutor this outside talent. . . ."

"Reporter Mario Boone has departed WFTV-Channel 9, the station announced Thursday," Hal Boedeker reported Thursday for the Orlando Sentinel. Boedeker also wrote, "Via Twitter, Boone wrote Wednesday: 'After the recent loss of a relative & much thought I've decided to leave Florida to be closer to family. My last day at WFTV was today.' . . ."

"CBS 2 Chicago has hired Buffalo Grove, Ill. native Sandra Torres as a general assignment reporter," WBBM-TV reported on Thursday. "Torres will return to the Chicago area and begin working at the station on November 30th. . . ." Torres was lead reporter for WDJT-TV in Milwaukee.


The Asian American Journalists Association announced Friday that "the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs will host AAJA's student program JCamp, a six-day multicultural journalism training program for high school students interested in pursuing journalism as a career. JCamp will be held August 1 - 6, 2016 and will celebrate its 16th year. . . ." The JCamp coincides with the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Washington Aug. 3-7.