NABJ President Sarah J. Glover, at lectern, with the association's new board of directors after the August election
Gabriella Angotti-Jones/NABJ Monitor

Figure Nears $380K; Executive Director's Job, 2 Others Cut

The leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists told members Thursday that "NABJ's projected 2015 deficit will be higher than the previous board reported at the 2015 convention. The projected deficit is likely going to be nearly $380,000."

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On Friday night, a notice on the NABJ website announced that the association was eliminating three positions, including that of Darryl R. Mathews Sr., its executive director of less than two years.

In a president's message, Sarah J. Glover wrote, "At the 2015 NABJ Convention in Minneapolis, the previous NABJ Board of Directors informed the membership that NABJ was tracking to end the year with a nearly $250,000 deficit.

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"This comes on the heels of a $227,000 deficit in 2014, a $612,000 deficit in 2009 and a $60,000 deficit in 2012.

"After an exhaustive review of NABJ's financial position and a final accounting of all financial obligations from the 2015 convention, NABJ's projected 2015 deficit will be higher than the previous board reported at the 2015 convention. The projected deficit is likely going to be nearly $380,000.

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"NABJ cannot have another deficit year in 2016. . . ."

Glover also wrote, "The 2015-17 NABJ Board of Directors are taking these immediate steps to stabilize NABJ's finances:

"Adopt zero-based budgeting;

"Execute a 40th Anniversary reception, membership drive and giving campaign to generate fourth-quarter revenue;

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"Develop sponsored, year-long Media Institute programming;

"Work with [the National Association of Hispanic Journalists] to minimize expenses and financial obligations related to the 2016 [joint] convention planning;

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"Move the Hall of Fame event to the 2016 convention;

"Limit spending to only necessary operational expenses;

"Prepare the 2016 budget with reduced projected expenses;

"Create a corporate partnerships concierge system to respond to partner needs, and offer multi-year partnership opportunities;

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"Develop 30, 60 and 90[-day] revenue-generating plans; and

"Duplicate the 2015 board meeting travel savings and demonstrated spending restraint at future NABJ meetings and events. "

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In Friday night's message, NABJ said:

"Recent changes in the economy have forced the NABJ executive board to examine potential cost-cutting efforts to maintain the budget for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

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"To ensure our success in the future, efforts to streamline our processes have led to the reduction of three staff positions effective Oct. 30, 2015, including Executive Director Darryl R. Matthews Sr.  We appreciate his service to the association and wish him well in his future endeavors." Glover said she would not identify the two positions "at this time."

"Drew Berry of Drew Berry & Associates, a media-consulting agency out of Baltimore, will join the staff as executive consultant for NABJ during this transition. A lifetime NABJ member, he is a two-time Emmy Award winner and a visiting professional at Hampton University in Virginia teaching media management. . . ."

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The actions follow a report from Treasurer Greg Morrison, presented at a board meeting last weekend, that said, "NABJ's current negative financial and cash position is the worst it has been since December 2009 and has put the organization in the position where by the current Board had to approve the sale of $400,000 of our investments to payoff unpaid 2015 NABJ Convention debt."

The Friday notice concluded, "These are challenging times for NABJ, but the NABJ Board of Directors remains confident and steadfast in its approach to put the association back in the black."

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Matthews became NABJ's interim executive director in January 2014. "Darryl is an experienced association executive, who most recently served as executive director of the National Medical Association," then-NABJ President Bob Butler said at the time. Matthews was the 32nd general president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, serving from 2005 to 2008. Martin Luther King Jr. is the Alphas' most famous member.

Matthews lost the "interim" in his title that May. He held the distinction of winning unusual kudos from otherwise critical NABJ members at the 2014 business meeting in Boston. He reported on management problems he had uncovered and said he intended to be forthcoming because "an informed membership is a happy membership."

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Berry, a broadcast consultant and former station manager and news director, is a former NABJ Finance Committee chairman and a campaign supporter of Glover, who was elected in August. He originally planned to run for treasurer but withdrew, saying, "Time did not permit me to run an effective campaign because of a new contract with a number of media companies" and the need for strategic planning to serve those clients.

He added that he remained available to help NABJ in any way he could.

Berry also stepped in as a consultant after then-executive director Karen Wynn Freeman resigned in December 2009. In 2011, then-treasurer Gregory Lee Jr. announced that NABJ had turned a $338,901 deficit at the end of 2009 to a surplus of more than $191,000 a year later.

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"Berry will work with the NABJ board and staff, focusing on the day-to-day management of the office, fundraising and our joint 2016 convention with NAHJ," Friday's announcement said.

Butler told NABJ members in August that if the fiscal year ended the day of that business meeting, NABJ would be $227,137 in the red for 2015, he said.

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"We've had a tough time raising funds," Morrison said at that meeting. Corporate sponsorships totaled $943,004 in 2015, compared with $1,052,560 in 2014 and $1,197,558 in 2013. "Some of the companies that we have gone to in the past have now merged," Butler told the NABJ Monitor, the convention's student online and print publication. "Instead of getting two checks, we now get one."

Butler could not be reached Friday.

Keith Reed, treasurer during most of the previous board's tenure, said by email on Saturday, "I haven't read it but honestly this is no major discovery. Anyone who was present for any of my reports is aware that I warned constantly that the last administration was spending too much money and not raising enough. I warned that NABJ would soon have to sell shares and dip into its reserves if that issue was not addressed and that is now happening. "

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Asked to clarify which administration he meant, Reed replied: "Well, Bob, Daryl and I disagreed a few times about the level of spending and I felt strongly that we had to bring in [more] revenue. It's something I stressed often. But to be clear, that's not a new thing or something I intended to throw Bob under the bus. Prior administrations have had the same problem, and this [in] my opinion is more cyclical and structural in NABJ than it is about any one president or ED [executive director]." [updated Oct. 31]

Organizer Says He'll Continue Drive to Oust Lemon

The online petition drive urging CNN to fire anchor Don Lemon has surpassed 34,000 signatures, but its originator said Friday that he will keep the petition going even after it reaches its stated goal of 35,000.

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"I will keep it open to have more people speak out and voice their support in showing no confidence in Don Lemon's ability to represent the community on the national and global scale as one of the very few African-American journalists," Jamell Henderson, who works in the mayor's office in Indianapolis, said in an email to Journal-isms.

"Regardless of the outcome, the people are voicing their frustration and their opinions on his performance and I am just thankful that the people are supporting me to lead this cause. We cannot have someone who clearly has forgotten who he is and where he comes from, to be on the national and global stage to antagonize, chastise and defame the overall image and characteristics of the African-American community. Allow the experts in those particular fields to provide their opinion, as a journalist, just tell it how you see it.

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"If this petition reaches 50,000, 100K or even a million, it won't be just by my doing; it will be the people who made this possible and that number increases in their distaste in his overall performance."

Henderson was asked whether he would present the petition to CNN once he reaches his 35,000-signature goal.

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"I will not, I will still want and encourage people to sign the petition only if they feel that what I and the people are saying about his performance resonates with them. Once I feel we have a significant number, I will make sure that it is presented before CNN."

Lemon did not respond to inquiries, and a CNN spokeswoman said the network would have no comment.

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Jordan Chariton, theWrap.com: Over 30,000 People Think CNN's Don Lemon Should Be Fired

Philly Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com Newsrooms to Merge

In the first meeting with the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com employees, Publisher Terry Egger announced the three newsrooms would become one and workers will lose their jobs in a move that will reportedly save the parent company millions of dollars, Alison Burdo reported Friday for Philadelphia Business Journal.

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"Inquirer reporter Bob Fernandez sent a Tweet Friday afternoon revealing the news, which came from Egger as he wraps up his first month on the job.

"Egger said the job cuts would happen by the end of the year, said Howard Gensler, a Daily News columnist and the president of the Newspaper Guild Local 10, which represents more than 400 employees in editorial, advertising, circulation and finance.

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" 'The Guild is very disappointed,' Gensler said. 'It is not a very warm welcome.'

"Egger indicated Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the two newspapers and website, lost $90 million in advertising revenue since 2011, according to an Inquirer report, and it is exploring charging for its digital products to boost revenue. . . ."

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Michael Days, editor of the Daily News, will keep his job, Amy Buckman, manager, public relations and special events, told Journal-isms by email.

"We had a candid discussion about our plans to move toward a more unified newsroom, while also maintaining the individual products (Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com) and keeping an eye on serving audiences where, when and how they want our award-winning news reports," she said in a statement.

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"We touched upon the need to reduce expenses, which unfortunately will mean some lost jobs. We are not unique to this economic reality, as evidenced by similar moves in recent weeks by media companies ranging from ESPN, Twitter and multiple newspaper companies.

"Out of respect for our employees, and in compliance with our contractual obligations, we are not prepared to release additional details at this time."

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James Warren, Poynter Institute: Los Angeles Times buyout offer prompts 15 percent of newsroom to raise their hands

ESPN Shuts Grantland, Longform Journalism Showcase

"Grantland, the boutique website created by Bill Simmons, was shut down by ESPN on Friday, nine days after the company announced it would lay off 300 employees," Richard Sandomir reported Friday for the New York Times.

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"Its final lead article was about interim coaches like the Miami Dolphins' Dan Campbell.

"ESPN did not offer detailed reasons for its decision to immediately end the run of the four-year-old sports and culture website. But it said in a statement that 'we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.'

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". . . ESPN seems to have concluded that some of Grantland's long articles could appear on espn.com and that it did not have much need for the site's cultural coverage. . . ."

Among black journalists who wrote for the site, Rembert Browne left last week to join New York magazine. Wesley Morris left last month to join the New York Times. Jonathan Abrams, formerly with the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, remained.

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Meanwhile, "Three sources told The Big Lead that The Undefeated, which recently got a new editor — 58-year old Kevin Merida from the Washington Post — will be bolstering its staff from less than 10 (which it had under Jason Whitlock) to 32 in the coming months," Jason McIntyre reported Friday for the Big Lead. "Expect many writers and editors from Grantland to pivot over to The Undefeated, and others have their work rolled into ESPN.com. . . ."

Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable: ESPN pulls the plug on its beloved sports site Grantland, and here's why it failed

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8 Months Inside Immigrant-Rich Baltimore High School

"Across the globe, some 60 million people are risking their lives to escape wars, ethnic conflicts and gang violence," according to a Baltimore Sun announcement promoting its series "Unsettled Journeys: Torn between two worlds," which debuted Friday.

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"Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie and photographer Amy Davis delved into what happens next, when teenage immigrants reach the U.S. and face a new passage: trying to make a life here.

"Bowie and Davis spent eight months inside East Baltimore's Patterson High School, to observe close-up the immigrants who make up a third of the student body."

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Keith Hernandez of BuzzFeed Named President of Slate

"The Slate Group has named Keith Hernandez president of Slate," Chris O'Shea reported Wednesday for FishbowlNY.

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"He comes to the company from BuzzFeed, where he served as vp of brand strategy.

"Prior to his time at Slate, Hernandez worked for Vevo, Microsoft and The Onion.

" 'We came across many impressive candidates during our search, and Keith was, by far, the right leader for the role,' said Slate Group chairman Jacob Weisberg, in a statement. 'Besides being incredibly smart and having a track record of great client relationships, he helped to grow a brand that we, at Slate, have admired since its inception. His passion and insight into the digital landscape are going to be tremendous advantages to our leadership team.' . . ."

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Hernandez messaged Journal-isms that he is Puerto Rican, born and bred in New York.

Police Cite Privacy in Withholding Dylann Roof Documents

"Charleston police released heavily redacted crime-scene and investigative documents on Thursday in the case against Dylann Roof, citing the department's ongoing investigation and a need to protect the privacy of the victims' families and survivors," Jennifer Berry Hawes and Doug Pardue reported Thursday for the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

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"The redactions and restricted information sparked a renewed clash between law enforcement and The Post and Courier and other news outlets over the public's right to know what occurred before and after Roof allegedly tried to start a race war with a mass shooting in the heart of historic Charleston.

"Roof, an avowed white supremacist, is charged with murdering nine black worshipers during a June 17 Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

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"Documents made public did not include a transcript of 911 calls or police recordings from body cameras and dashboard cameras, which are not covered by a gag order in the case.

"The public has a legitimate interest in 'aspects of this case.' But releasing other information would 'constitute an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy' to the victims' families and the shooting survivors, Will Bryant, a lawyer for the city and police department, wrote in a cover letter with the released documents. . . ."

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Chicago Tribune Reports Wrongful Convictions in Waukegan

In Illinois, "The Waukegan Police Department has been led by officers who played central roles in some of the costliest investigative failures in Lake County history [accessible via search engine], and police with troubled records have flourished in the department," Dan Hinkel wrote Friday in an investigative report for the Chicago Tribune.

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"Scandal and instability have plagued the agency, and the city is now run largely by former officers who have given little public indication that they detect a problem.

"Records show minorities have suffered most in the former industrial hub of 90,000 where a vast majority of residents are African-American or Hispanic but most police are white, including, as of this summer, all of the top command staff. Most people who received payouts from the department after alleging wrongdoing are black or Hispanic, records show. . . ."

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Assaulted S.C. Schoolgirl Isn't an Orphan, Lawyer Says

"The Spring Valley High teenager who was violently taken down by a sheriff's deputy in a class in Columbia, S.C., Monday is under foster care, but according to most recent reports is not an orphan," Jarvis DeBerry wrote Thursday for NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune.

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"On Wednesday, the New York Daily News published a column by Shaun King. The headline described the teenager as an orphan, and King's column attributed the information about her family situation to South Carolina attorney Todd Rutherford. . . ."

De Berry also wrote, "In an interview with radio host Joe Madison [audio], Rutherford said that reports that the girl had lost both her mother and her grandmother are false and that he'd spoken to them both since the girl's arrest. When asked if the girl was in foster care, he deflected and repeated that he'd spoken with the girl's mother and grandmother. . . ."

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Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR "Code Switch": Violence Against Students In Class? Teachers Say It Doesn't Add Up

Charles F. Coleman Jr., The Root: Are Cops in Classrooms a Danger to Our Kids?

Julia Craven, HuffPost BlackVoices: Black Girls Deserve Protection From Police, Too

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Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root: Lawyer for Teen in SC School Assault Video Speaks on Injuries She Suffered, Whether She Is an Orphan and Fake GoFundMe Pages

Soo Rin Kim, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: New D.C. bodycam policies too restrictive, critics testify

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Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Another viral video, another fired police officer

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Violent school arrest shows weakness of South Carolina authorities

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Lonnae O'Neal, Washington Post: Unclear on excessive force? Just imagine it's a white girl.

Julie M. Rodriguez, care2com: Could Nunchucks Reduce Civilian Deaths at the Hands of Police?

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Short Takes

"The Daily Illini, the University of Illinois's 144-year-old student newspaper, was forced to issue an apology Tuesday afternoon after it published an editorial cartoon degrading undocumented immigrants," Latino Rebels reported on Wednesday. "In the cartoon, drawn by internationally syndicated cartoonist Daryl Cagle, a middle-aged man in a trucker hat climbs over a short wooden fence as he says to a pair of young trick-or-treaters, 'I’m going as an illegal immigrant!' . . ."

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"The Los Angeles Times announced what seemed like good news for its readers in August: a new reporting initiative that would expand the paper's coverage of local education," Paul Farhi reported Thursday for the Washington Post. Farhi also wrote, "Except the newspaper left out a key detail: Some of the foundations funding 'Education Matters' are among the most prominent advocates of public-education reform in Los Angeles. One of them is the principal backer of a proposal to convert nearly half of Los Angeles's public schools into charter schools. . . ."

The FCC set the opening bid for the spectrum owned by WHUT-TV, the Howard University public television station, at $461 million, though prices are expected to plunge quickly during the bidding process, Dru Sefton reported Friday for Current.org. Sefton quoted Kojo Nnamdi, who hosts a midday show on Washington's WAMU-FM and spent 26 years at WHUT. " 'WHUT means a lot to me,' Nnamdi said in an interview. 'And the station has been, at points, really valuable to this community. At one point it was the only resource to see a reflection of African-American life on television. But in today's media landscape, that’s no longer true.' . . ."

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"President Barack Obama will talk exclusively with 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Lester Holt for a two-part interview beginning Monday, November 2," NBC-TV announced on Friday. "Holt will join President Obama at a residential treatment center in Newark, New Jersey, to discuss criminal justice reform and incarceration rates in America. With one year until the election, the president will also address the goals and challenges for his final year in office as well as other major news of the day. . . ."

"A radio journalist told the Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday that he had been threatened by three men after he reported on the alleged rape of students in a boys' school in Nigeria's northern city of Kano," the press-freedom group reported on Friday. " 'The threat against Nasir Salisu Zango is a threat to the public's right to know what is happening in society,' said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative. . . ."

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In Uganda, "Enoch Matovu, a correspondent for a local television station (NTV, in the Mityana District), was reportedly shot in the head while covering an incident of vote rigging during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party elections at Bulera police station in the Mityana district," the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House reported from Toronto on Thursday. "He sustained a bullet injury to the head. . . ."