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Washington Post Counts 385 Fatally Shot This Year

At least 385 people were "shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, more than two a day, according to a Washington Post analysis," Kimberly Kindy reported for the Sunday print edition of the Washington Post, along with Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, Keith L. Alexander and Wesley Lowery.

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"That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete.

"'These shootings are grossly under-reported,' said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement. 'We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don't begin to accurately track this information.'

"A national debate is raging about police use of deadly force, especially against minorities. To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody."

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The Post reporters also wrote, "About half the victims were white, half minority. But the demographics shifted sharply among the unarmed victims, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred. . . ."

Meanwhile, Gary Younge wrote Monday for Britain's Guardian newspaper, "The Guardian has, through its new investigative project The Counted, developed the capacity to count the number of people killed by the police. We think it matters; the debate that has ensued on the issue of police killings and has been forced onto the national agenda through popular protest will be better informed for having easily accessible data.

"We think those who have been killed matter; a handful of these deaths make national headlines while the rest barely make a ripple beyond their own families and communities. The data is important. But they are not statistics; they are people. To record their deaths, particularly when the circumstances of those deaths are in dispute, marks a small but important step in the bid to restore their humanity ‚ÄĒ albeit posthumously.

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"There will be those who argue that we are counting the wrong thing; that we should be tracking the number of black youths killed by other black youths, or policemen killed in the line of duty or any number of other tragic categories. To them we say: the internet is a big place. Have at it. Any kind of counting that fills a void, enriches debate and focuses attention on an important issue should be supported. . . ."

New Photo Contradicts Fla. Police Account of Shooting

"After Florida police shot Jermaine McBean to death as he walked home with an unloaded air rifle, they said there was no reason to believe he did not hear their orders to drop the weapon and that he pointed it at them, Tracy Connor reported Monday for NBC News.

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"But a newly emerged photo that shows headphones in McBean's ears immediately after the 2013 shooting raises questions about the police version of events, including why the white earbuds were later found stuffed in the dead computer expert's pocket.

"And another aspect of the police account is also being contradicted ‚ÄĒ by a man who called 911 in alarm when he saw McBean walking around with the air rifle but who also says McBean never pointed it at police or anyone else. . . ."

Writing about the case Saturday in the New York Times, Frances Robles reported, "From Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore to Cleveland, the nation seems awash in disputed, high-profile cases of police violence. But a look at disputed cases in Florida is a reminder of how frequently they arise far from the limelight and how many questions surround the way they are investigated.

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"The issue is particularly acute in Florida, where State Department of Law Enforcement statistics show the number of fatal police shootings has tripled in the past 15 years, even as crime has plummeted. . . ."

"Wear Orange" Honors Teen Who Wanted to Be a Journalist

"The shooting death of a Chicago girl has led to a national movement now known as 'Wear Orange,' " Craig Wall reported for WFLD-TV in Chicago on Friday. "It was started as a grassroots movement by friends of Hadiya Pendleton and it has led to the first ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2, which would have been Hadiya's 18th birthday."

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The 15-year-old had "dreams of going to college and of becoming a journalist ‚ÄĒ dreams of traveling the world," Nathaniel Pendleton, Hadiya's father, and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote for Huffington Post on Saturday.

Supporters plan to wear orange. Two people have been arrested, but not yet tried.

American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU Finds Severe Racial Disparities in Low-Level Arrests by Minneapolis Police

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Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Condemning "police violence" and black on black violence at the same time.

Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati Enquirer: City manager to chief: Show me plan by Friday

Lee A. Daniels, National Newspaper Publishers Association: America’s True Crime Problem

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Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: Oakland Mayor Schaaf lays down the law on violent protesters

Editorial, New York Times: Racial Penalties in Baltimore Mortgages

Josh Feldman, Mediaite: Stephanopoulos to O’Malley: Did Your Baltimore Leadership Sow Seeds of Police Distrust?

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Massoud Hayoun, Al Jazeera America: Minneapolis may become next Baltimore in #BlackLivesMatter struggle

David A. Love, theGrio: Condemning police violence doesn’t mean we don’t care about other violence

Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Justice is not Blind

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Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Violence in black community threatens the greatest civil right ‚ÄĒ life¬†(May 26)

Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Reports don't kill police officers ‚ÄĒ criminals do¬†

Walker Moskop, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Traffic enforcement report: Black drivers in Missouri still stopped at higher rate (June 2)

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Edwin Okong'o, HuffPost BlackVoices: This Unarmed Black Man Is Lucky to be Alive

Cleo and Nate Pendleton, Chicago Sun-Times: Wear orange to fight guns and honor Hadiya Pendleton

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Police force minus the warrior mindset

Mark Puente, Baltimore Sun: Baltimore records deadliest month in more than 40 years [accessible via search engine]

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Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald: Miami Beach cops' racist emails, texts are breach of public trust (May 15)

Jonathan M. Smith, New York Times: Police Unions Must Not Block Reform

Greg Thrasher blog: USA Police Department

Libby Watson, Media Matters for America: CNN Puts Fox News Coverage Of Police Brutality To Shame In One Segment

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New Williams Role Could Mean Holt Gets "Nightly News"

"Weeks of complex negotiations between [Brian] Williams and NBC are not yet complete, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation," Brian Stelter wrote Sunday for CNNMoney.

"There are any number of possible outcomes. Several of the sources said Williams could end up leaving NBC altogether following a financial settlement.

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"But another possibility, and the one advanced in recent discussions, involves a new role for Williams.

"Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, has been a proponent of this outcome.

Stelter also wrote, "Lack and Williams had a close relationship, which prompted speculation that Lack would seek a way to bring Williams back to 'NBC Nightly News.'

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"Doing that, however, risks further destabilizing 'Nightly News' and offending Lester Holt, who has been widely credited with filling the void created by Williams' suspension and holding onto most of Williams' viewers.

"Whether Williams stays at NBC in some capacity besides 'Nightly News' anchor, or whether he leaves the network, Holt will remain at the helm of 'Nightly News' for the time being, the sources said."

Stelter had this exchange on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday with Bryan Burrough, a correspondent with Vanity Fair. Burrough wrote about the internal drama at NBC in February:

"BURROUGH: Lester Holt is no one's idea of a buzzy star, but he's a workman-like professional (video), popular newsman who brings the credibility to that news desk that NBC badly needs.

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"STELTER: I'm told that when he was out in California recently accepting an honorary degree, Andy Lack and Deborah Turness, the head of NBC News, came with him. They wanted to be there and be with him.

"They had a meeting at the L.A. bureau with the staff and perhaps that was a show of support for Holt, because one of the weird things is they're not promoting Holt. They're not saying he's the anchor. He's just the fill-in.

"BURROUGH: No, I think everyone involved realizes that Lester is taking one for the team right now. He's in not an untenable situation, but an unpleasant situation. He's in limbo and I think they want to do everything possible to show their support for him, not just to show the support but also because he is so popular in the ranks. . . ."

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Raleigh Editor Hits Xenophobia, Hysteria on Immigration

"May 19 was to be a day of deliverance for Irma Ramos and her husband. The day came. Deliverance did not," Ned Barnett, editorial page editor of the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., wrote on Saturday.

"Ramos, 40, and her husband live in Raleigh. She is a stay-at-home mother of three. He is a construction worker. They've lived in the United States for almost 11 years and their youngest child was born here, but they've never lived here freely or without worry. They are undocumented immigrants. Neither can get driver's licenses, they are blocked from work that requires proper documentation and they fear that an encounter with police could send them back to Mexico.

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"Those concerns were supposed to be eased by an executive order issued by President Obama in November granting as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants protection from deportation and eligibility for work permits. The order that would have brought Ramos and her husband out of the shadows was to take effect May 19.

"That hasn’t happened because 26 states, including North Carolina through Gov. Pat McCrory, are challenging Obama's orders as unconstitutional despite clear precedents of previous presidents using such authority. Last week, a federal appeals court upheld a Texas judge's stay blocking the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. . . ."

Barnett also wrote, "In North Carolina, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that blocking Obama's order will keep 114,000 of the state's 342,000 undocumented immigrants from gaining protection from deportation and access to a work permit. Advocates for Hispanics in North Carolina have been seeking a meeting with the governor since December to discuss why he is opposed to the Obama order, but no meeting has been arranged.

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"The opposition to relief for the undocumented reflects a callousness toward struggling people. After the Republican-led House refused to pass a Senate-approved immigration law last year, Obama acted out of compassion. Now there's a drive to block that action and leave millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo.

"The hard line on immigration and immigrants is driven by xenophobia and hysteria about terrorists and criminals stealing into the United States. The opposition is dressed up, or course, as supporting the law, protecting American jobs and reducing a drain on government services. . . ."

Editorial, Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.: Appeals court rightly blocks Obama’s immigration power grab

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Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: On immigration, a fight over staying power

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: On immigration, a predictable chaos

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Immigration ruling will hurt Republicans in 2016 [accessible via search engine]

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Elena Shore, New America Media: Asian Immigrants Becoming US Citizens at High Rate

Local Stations Called Key to Public Radio Diversity

NPR continued its January discussion on whether public radio sounds "too white" Monday by republishing "A Manifesto On Diversity In Public Media" by Al Letson, a performance artist and playwright behind public radio's "State of the Re:Union."

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"In public media we talk about diversity a lot, Letson wrote last week for transom.org, republished Monday by NPR's "Code Switch." "

"So much so, that when it's brought up, I roll my eyes. Not because I don't believe in it, but because it's a buzz word with little weight. I've heard the song and dance so much in the past, I no longer get excited when the music comes on.

"If an organization is talking about diversity but doesn't invest in it, what's the value of all that talk? Public media particularly has done pretty well super-serving the default human being ["the straight white male"] and it's understandable; the core audience is what's keeping the lights on. But we are doing a disservice to both the 'core' audience and those outside if we are not presenting America in its technicolor splendor.

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"The big networks are easy targets when it comes to these issues. The conversation comes up time and time again without any real resolution, but maybe the answer doesn't come from high up. Maybe it comes from the ground up.

"All across the country, the local NPR affiliates are like a bundles of nerves. They can tell us when there is pain, they broadcast pleasure, they feel the heat before the fire is visible. But what if those nerves don't reach into their communities beyond the default households? What if whole [swaths] of the community don't know they exist?

"When I first got into public media I would tell my friends I had a show on NPR, most of my white friends understood immediately. But my friends of color ‚ÄĒ of all economic backgrounds and education levels, from all over the country ‚ÄĒ had no idea what NPR was. In fact, many still don't. The question is one of audience, and how do you grow it in communities that are different from your base?

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"It starts with making people feel welcome, letting them know they are valued, letting them hear themselves in your local programming. It's going into these communities physically ‚ÄĒ being a presence. I heard many stations complaining about Tell Me More going off the air (I complained too!), but I wonder how many of those stations have local shows where people of color are featured? Where that community knows it has a voice? Unfortunately, just putting me on a station's airwaves does not make that station diverse. What makes a station diverse is the work it puts into the community. . . ."

Letson listed WYPR in Baltimore, St. Louis Public Radio and KCUR-FM in Kansas City as worthy models, and added, "Podcasting has attracted a whole contingency of people who've never heard or worked in public radio, but are in essence making public radio! We shouldn't be scared to invite them into the tent, in fact we should be rolling out the red carpet. . . ."

"Cultural Fit" Used to Justify Hiring the Same Old, Same Old

"Across cultures and industries, managers strongly prize 'cultural fit' ‚ÄĒ the idea that the best employees are like-minded," Lauren A. Rivera wrote Saturday for the New York Times. 'One recent survey found that more than 80 percent of employers worldwide named cultural fit as a top hiring priority.

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"When done carefully, selecting new workers this way can make organizations more productive and profitable. But cultural fit has morphed into a far more nebulous and potentially dangerous concept. It has shifted from systematic analysis of who will thrive in a given workplace to snap judgments by managers about who they'd rather hang out with. In the process, fit has become a catchall used to justify hiring people who are similar to decision makers and rejecting people who are not. . . ."

Jessica Partnow, PBS Idea Lab: How and Why We're Building a Hyper-Diverse Newsroom at Seattle Globalist

"Fall Guy" in U.K. Scandal Gets Suspended Sentence

"A British tabloid reporter has been handed a suspended 18-month prison sentence over a police bribery case," the Associated Press reported from London on Friday.

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"Anthony France, a crime reporter for the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, The Sun, was accused of cultivating a 'corrupt relationship' with Heathrow Airport counter-terrorism officer Timothy Edwards over four years. Edwards had earlier admitted selling dozens of stories and news tips to the journalist for more than 20,000 pounds ($31,000).

"France, 41, was convicted last week of aiding and abetting Edwards to commit misconduct in a public office.

"Judge Timothy Pontius on Friday handed down the prison sentence, suspended for two years. He said France was 'essentially a decent man of solid integrity.'

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"France's trial followed a police investigation into alleged media bribery. The operation was triggered by Britain's phone-hacking media scandal."

In a blog post before the verdict, Colin Randall, who spent 27 years on Britain's Daily Telegraph, called France "a fall guy."

"What I bitterly oppose is the squalid, politically convenient pursuit of foot soldiers doing the bidding of the generals, top brass who then, to their everlasting shame, deserted their troops (not to mention what they did to the civvies, ie the confidential sources)," Randall wrote.

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He added, "Repeatedly, juries have refused to convict these employees for doing their jobs. But the law is the law, even when it resembles a lottery or an ass, and poor Anthony France stands convicted of this dredged-up offence.

"What I ask Judge Pontius to apply is a sense of proportion. Anthony France is not a menace to the public. He has not profited from his supposed crime, save to have kept his job. He honestly believed he was acting with at least the tacit blessing of in-house lawyers. . . ."

Roy Greenslade of the Guardian said of Randall's piece, "I do not agree with some of it but he is spot on about France being a scapegoat. It would be iniquitous for him to go to jail."

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Agency, the Telegraph, London: Sun crime reporter Anthony France spared jail

Press Association: Sun journalist receives 18-month suspended sentence

This image was lost some time after publication.

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Vigil Planned to Honor Slain D.C. Community Reporter

The work of slain D.C. reporter Charnice Milton is to be commemorated by a silent vigil on Wednesday night, her newspaper, the Capital Community News, reported on Monday.

Services are pending but expected to be held at the end of the week, Andrew Lightman, managing editor of Capital Community News, told Journal-isms by telephone.

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Milton, 27, was shot as she walked on one of Southeast Washington's major streets to transfer buses. She was used as a human shield in an exchange of gunfire by two groups of dirt bike riders, police said. The reporter was returning home after covering the monthly meeting of a community advisory committee.

"Participants in Wednesday's event will gather in concentric circles around copies of the Hill Rag and East of the River newspapers containing Charnice's contributions. They will join hands and stand in silence for 20 minutes to reflect on the meaning of her work," Lightman wrote.

The perpetrator is at large. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department would say only that the case remains under investigation.

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The community news organization has received more than 100 emails, Lightman said. On social media, fellow journalists outside Washington expressed their outrage as well.

On Sunday afternoon, mourners participated in a neighborhood prayer vigil organized by Milton's family, community activist Philip Pannell told Journal-isms by email. "There were clearly way over 100," Pannell said. "People just kept on coming."

In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post posted Monday, economist and columnist Julianne Malveaux said Milton "worked in my office for a few weeks as a fact-checker, and I was impressed by her thoroughness, focus and competence."

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She also wrote, "This shooting makes the case for guns to be removed from our streets. Absent the proliferation of guns, Ms. Milton might still be alive. She wanted to tell the story; she didn't want to be the story. She wanted to supplement the stories our mainstream newspapers do not tell. She wanted to shine a light on the invisible communities east of the Anacostia River, the poorest in the District and those too often ignored. . . ." 

Short Takes

"The good news from the big broadcast networks' upfront presentations earlier this month, where they revealed their new shows for the next season, is that television's turn toward inclusion seems like more than a passing fad," Eric Deggans reported Sunday for NPR. He also wrote, "But there may be bad news: A look at early information and trailers for many of these shows ‚ÄĒ most pilots aren't available to critics yet ‚ÄĒ hint that the new crop of programs may not be nearly as groundbreaking or innovative as the stuff we saw this past TV season. . . ."

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C-SPAN's BookTV is scheduled to visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library, at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. "Our visit to the Schomburg Center includes an interview with its director, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, and a tour of the Center's services and collections," an announcement said.

A racist early drawing by Dr. Seuss found "no bids as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday and the lot was closed for bidding," Melonyce McAfee reported Friday for CNN. She also wrote, "The 1929 color illustration for 'Judge' magazine depicts a blatantly racist scenario and uses a slur to describe black people." It was being auctioned for a minimum bid of $20,000.

"New ABC correspondent Phillip Mena missed his Houston flooding live shot for Good Morning America Saturday after he overslept, insiders tell us," Chris Ariens reported Monday for TVNewser. "Mena, who has only been with the network for a month, showed up minutes before air. He was pulled from GMA and meteorologist Rob Marciano did the report instead. . . ."

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Writing in the Daily News in New York on Monday, Theodore Hamm, chair of journalism and new media studies at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, urged the New York City Council to declare June 1 Emancipation Day in New York. Hamm noted that June 1 marked the 150th anniversary of the funeral procession for Abraham Lincoln. The Common Council (now City Council) initially prohibited blacks from participating in the grand parade, and so Frederick Douglass, his fellow abolitionists and sympathetic city leaders organized their own event.

"New research by Dr. Jayeon Lee, assistant professor in journalism and communication at Lehigh University, shows the benefits and drawbacks of journalists engaging online. Journalists' online behavior can influence what audiences think of them and their journalism," Natalie Jomini Stroud wrote Monday for the American Press Institute. "Lee's findings show that self-disclosure and interacting with commenters can lead audiences to evaluate a journalist more positively as a person. However, one's professional reputation can be negatively affected by responding to comments. . . ."

"PopSugar, the heavily trafficked blog network for millennial females, rolled out a new Latina vertical on Monday," Matt Donnelly reported Monday for theWrap. "PopSugar Latina will aim for English-speaking Latina readers who see themselves 'as 200 percent ‚ÄĒ 100 percent American and 100 percent Latina,' according to a statement from the company. . . ."

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"Jacksonville indy WJXT is moving 30 year anchor Rob Sweeting to a limited role as evening anchor starting tonight," Kevin Eck reported Monday for TVSpy. "In his place, the station has named Tarik Minor and Kent Justice as replacements." Eck also wrote, "WJXT says Sweeting will still anchor on a 'limited basis' but 'will focus more of his time on the community service aspect of his job on behalf of The Local Station.' . . ."

Referring to sexual abuse charges involving Josh Duggar, now-former executive director of the Family Research Council's lobbying arm, and J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote Monday, "As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I can say with some authority that no one should take an ounce of joy in these revelations and accusations . . . . Child sexual abuse is tragic and traumatic for its survivors ‚ÄĒ and that is where the bulk of the focus should always be. . . ."

Cherokees under Chief John Ross started the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper, in 1828 to lobby against President Andrew Jackson's scheme to move southeastern Indians west, Steve Inskeep wrote in the Washington Post. "Just as later generations of African Americans would make themselves heard in the pages of the Chicago Defender, Cherokees spoke through the Cherokee Phoenix. Copies were mailed to other newspapers, and its articles were reprinted widely, spreading Cherokee perspectives. . . ." Inskeep has written a new book about Jackson and Ross.

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"The Daily Item, a Pennsylvania newspaper, has apologized for an opinion letter it published Monday that grossly suggested President Barack Obama should be executed," Catherine Taibi wrote Friday for the Huffington Post. She added, "The reason the letter was originally published, the editors wrote, was because 'no bells went off' for the editor working on it. . . ."

"CBS' Bob Schieffer signed off from Face the Nation today and sat down with Fox News' Howard Kurtz to share his thoughts on the changing media landscape and whether the media has certain pro-establishment or pro-Democratic biases," Josh Feldman reported Sunday for Mediaite. Feldman also wrote, "Kurtz asked him if the media gave Obama an 'incredibly easy ride' when he first appeared on the national stage. Schieffer admitted the political world was rather struck by how dynamic a figure Obama was and conceded, 'Maybe we were not skeptical enough.' . . ."

"Univision Digital, the digital division of Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) . . . today announced that it has joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab to explore cutting-edge technologies for news and information in the digital space," the company announced Monday. "During the initial three-year engagement with the world-renowned Media Lab, the Univision Digital team will collaborate with faculty, research staff and students to identify the latest trends and technologies that will drive innovation in digital media. . . ."

"For Andrew Morgan, it started with this photo," Richard Horgan reported Friday for FishbowlNY. "When the LA-based filmmaker saw the shot and read the accompanying article in the April 24, 2013 edition of The New York Times, about the collapse of the Rana clothing factory in Bangladesh, he was set on a path towards feature documentary The True Cost. The movie, buoyed by a successful Kickstarter campaign, screened last night at Lincoln Center. . . ."

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"Welcome to Quartz Africa," the welcome letter read Sunday for the new site. "We're excited to be building out a team of journalists in the region to better serve our readers in Africa and business professionals around the world. Since the launch of Quartz in 2012, we have focused on seismic changes to the new global economy. Africa is home to many of them: Some of the world's fastest-growing economies, a hotbed of trade and investment, and an important global laboratory for management, mobile, and financial innovation. . . ."

"Rwanda on Friday slapped an indefinite ban on BBC local language broadcasts as punishment for a controversial documentary on the central African country's leadership and the 1994 genocide," Agence France-Presse reported.