New York Post Harassment Trial Is On

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"In a setback for the New York Post, a district judge on Tuesday dismissed an effort to dispatch a lawsuit from a former employee alleging that she was harassed while at the paper and unlawfully fired," Sam Stein and Michael Calderone reported for the Huffington Post.

"The suit, brought by onetime Post editor Sandra Guzman, will now go to trial, Guzman's lawyer told The Huffington Post.

" 'We are extremely pleased with Judge [LornaSchofield's thoughtful opinion and look forward to holding the NY Post and Col Allan responsible at trial for their discriminatory actions,' said Guzman's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor.

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"The Post's parent company, News Corp., will not be part of the legal proceedings, as the judge granted its motion for dismissal. But both the Post and Col Allan, its editor-in-chief, had their motions denied.

" 'We are pleased that the claims against News Corp were thrown out,' a New York Post spokeswoman said in a statement. 'We look forward to presenting the truth about the remaining charges — which are completely unfounded — to a jury.'

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"Guzman sued the Post in 2009 alleging that she had been repeatedly harassed in the newsroom and eventually fired for speaking out against a highly controversial cartoon about President Barack Obama. The cartoon depicted the author of Obama's stimulus package as a chimpanzee shot dead.

"Additionally, she alleged that higher-ups at the Post had fostered a hostile work environment for minorities like herself — a black, Puerto Rican female. Allan, she said, showed her and other colleagues a cell phone picture of a 'naked man lewdly and openly displaying his penis,' while other editors and colleagues repeatedly used misogynistic or racist language. . . ."

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The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is considering a lawsuit with similar claims by former Post reporters Ikimilusa Livingston and Austin Fenner. A motion for summary judgment is pending, according to the Thompson Wigdor law firm, which is representing the former Post employees.

"Livingston says in her complaint that she was paid less than white colleagues with less experience, and denied stories she wanted to write," Hamilton Nolan reported in 2009 for Gawker.com. "Like the others, she says that after she complained about the infamous Dead Chimpanzee cartoon, the company put her on its shit list and gave her poor performance reviews. Perhaps her juiciest allegation: Steve Dunleavy, recently retired legendary drunk Post columnist, was a huge racist."

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Stein wrote in 2009, "Austin Fenner, who was fired from the Post on the same day that former editor Sandra Guzman sued the paper over her own dismissal, claims that he was 'routinely humiliated,' 'openly cursed at' and subjected to 'Jim Crow'-style segregation while working as a city desk reporter,"

Fenner said he faced retaliation for comments he made to Journal-isms about the chimpanzee cartoon, saying it "churned my stomach when I saw it."

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San Francisco Chronicle Won't Use "Redskins" Team Name

The San Francisco Chronicle has become the latest U.S. newspaper to eschew the term "Redskins" when referring to the Washington NFL team.

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Managing Editor Audrey Cooper told the Poynter Institute in an email, "Words are powerful, and so is how we choose to use them," Andrew Beaujon reported Wednesday for Poynter.

"Mike Florio reported Tuesday that such a decision 'was communicated internally on Friday, October 25.' Cooper confirms that, saying one of the paper’s sports columnists proposed the move, Beaujon wrote.

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"In her email to Poynter, Cooper explains the Chronicle' reasoning:

" 'Our long-standing policy is to not use racial slurs — and make no mistake, 'redskin' is a slur — except in cases where it would be confusing to the reader to write around it. For example, we will use the team name when referring to the controversy surrounding its use.

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"Absent the media attention on this issue, I doubt any reader of the San Francisco Chronicle or SFGate.com would have noticed our choice to use to use 'Washington' instead of the team name. We are choosing to use another word that accurately describes what we are writing about. We are not the first media outlet to make this change, and I know we will not be the last. . . ."

With a weekday circulation of 242,433 weekdays and 300,958 on the weekends, the Oregonian in Portland is the largest U.S. newspaper with a similar policy. The Chronicle's circulation is 220,832 weekdays and 287,923 on weekends, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, the Kansas City Star and Washington City Paper also do not allow the team to be referred to as "Redskins."

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Meanwhile, "Representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation on Wednesday asked NFL executives to sanction Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for conduct detrimental to the league for continuing to use a team nickname and mascot that 'promote a dictionary-defined racial slur,'" Don Van Natta Jr. reported for ESPN.com.

"In the 90-minute meeting between Oneida Nation representatives and three senior league executives in New York City, the officials also asked for all team owners to meet with Oneida leaders the week of Super Bowl XLVIII. And they asked that Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was traveling Wednesday and did not attend the meeting, visit Oneida Nation homelands in upstate New York.

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"But the Oneida representatives left disappointed, saying after the meeting with senior NFL executives Jeff Pash, Adolpho Birch and Paul Hicks that the league 'defended the use of a racist name,' Oneida spokesman Joel Barkin said. . . ."

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Hail to the Washingtons (Oct. 24)

Latinos Say PBS Should Have Done More to Keep Suarez

"Several Latino organizations are coming to the defense of prominent Latino journalist Ray Suarez after the broadcasting giant said he quit PBS because he was starting to feel increasingly marginalized," Lucia Suarez wrote Wednesday for Fox News Latino.

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"Suarez (who is not related to this writer) told Fox News Latino this week that his contributions to the public television network were [heavily] minimized over the last couple of years and he felt he 'didn't have much of a future with the broadcast.' 

"Prominent Latino leaders said they were disappointed that the network did not do more to keep Suarez — and make sure that one of the nation's leading Latino journalists had a primary role in the station's future.

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" 'We have tremendous regard for Ray Suarez,' said Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute of Latino Policy … 'It's an outrage that someone as well qualified and that dedicated 14 years … was put in a position and treated like a second-class citizen.'

The story also said, "The executive producer of PBS NewsHour issued a statement Wednesday saying the network was disappointed when Suarez tendered his resignation, particularly because they were in the middle of re-launching a new format that would have featured him as chief National Affairs correspondent." It continued, "Under the new format, Suarez would have covered health care, immigration, religion and education. . . ."

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David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: 'PBS NewsHour' has lost 48 percent of its audience in last 8 years

MBAs Give Inmates a Business Plan for Their Newspaper

"Saw history made today," William Drummond, journalism professor at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote Wednesday to his Facebook followers. "Six MBAs from the Haas School of Business sat in a room with about 15 San Quentin prisoners and presented a preliminary business plan to increase the circulation of the San Quentin News by tenfold and reach all 33 institutions in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Hamdallah."

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Drummond messaged Journal-isms the backstory:

"This whole idea got rolling last February. I teach a course in the Journalism School at Berkeley in which journalism students visit the prison to edit copy and do research on articles for the San Quentin News (sanquentinnews.com). No internet is allowed inside the walls. The editors of the paper were eager to expand its reach beyond SQ and they asked me how such a goal might be achieved. I approached Rich Lyons, dean of the Haas School of Business, and asked if it might be possible to help the inmates realize their ambition."

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Drummond said Lyons put him in touch with Nora Silver, director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and an adjunct professor at Haas.

"Later she and I visited SQ and met with the editors," Drummond continued. "They applied to the Center and their application was accepted. The MBA team is to provide 700 hours of consultation, a business plan and a feasibility study. It's worth noting that the meeting today to roll out the preliminary results was postponed for two weeks, because SQ was on lock-down. This followed two unrelated deaths of prisoners. The prison remained locked down while authorities conducted an investigation. The prisoners were found to have died of natural causes."

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CNN Wanted the Wrong Person to Defend Blackface

If CNN was looking for someone to defend Julianne Hough's blackface costume, for which she apologized after a torrent of criticism, the network shouldn't have come to writer Jelani Cobb, an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut and director of its Institute for African American Studies.

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At a Hollywood party Friday night, the 25-year-old actress dressed up as the Crazy Eyes character in the hit Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black."

Janelle Griffin, an editorial producer for "CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin," wrote Cobb on Monday, "What are your thoughts on Julianne Hough's controversial Halloween costume?

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"Do you consider this an example of Blackface? Should there be . . . the outrage there is over it? Or is it overblown?

"We're looking to hear perspectives who think this isn't real blackface and the outrage is overblown. . . ."

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In a Facebook posting that was reposted quickly by others, Cobb wrote, "I'm embarrassed that CNN has been reduced to this kind of tabloid bullshit. Even more embarrassed that they'd think I would go on and assuage the consciences of people who . . . know nothing of the history of minstrelsy or why black people find it offensive or know but simply don't care. Perhaps the young woman had no ill intent. That doesn't mean people are overreacting by calling her on it. Call John McWhorter or Carol Swain. Summon the limited insight of Don Lemon. I'm never that dude."

On Monday, Huffington Post reported, Hough offered this apology via Twitter: "I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."

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Danielle Cadet, HuffPost BlackVoices: When Black People Dress Up As White People For Halloween

Danielle Cadet, HuffPost BlackVoices: 5 Things All The Idiots Dressing As Trayvon Martin For Halloween Should Know

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Blair L. M. Kelley, the Grio: A brief history of blackface just in time for Halloween

Lee Moran, Daily News, New York: Halloween costumes slammed for making fun of Asiana Airlines crash

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Ralph Richardson, The Root: White People, Enough With the Blackface

Fusion "Feels a Bit Too Ivy League Latino Privileged"

"We knew it is early days, but one of the biggest turnoffs right now is the lack of Afro-Latino talent on your network," "Los Rebeldes," pen name of the staff of the Latino Rebels blog, wrote Wednesday about the new Fusion network that debuted Monday.

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"Just saying. And we get that you changed direction, but remember, you are a partnership of ABC and Univision. Giving a wink to Latinos (light-skinned ones, too) is not enough. Go deeper. Be risky. Right now, your lineup feels a bit too Ivy League Latino Privileged. If that is the demo you are going for, cool, but that just means that you are still underserving the population you want to reach."

Los Rebeldes began with, "We are rooting for you guys, ever since you had said a long time ago that you were going to be a new channel for young Latino [millennials]. That was cool. Somewhere, that message went from Latino [millennials] to [millennials] in general, and even though we scratch our heads about that one, we still wish you tons of luck with the new channel. Having you guys succeed would send a message to the rest of the media landscape that this new multicultural world matters. We admire you for that."

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Los Rebeldes expanded on these opening impressions: "If you could, just run Jorge Ramos's show on a constant loop for eight hours a day." "Have fun, but don’t try so hard"; "Be diverse"; "Move beyond Miami"; and "Be social."

Fusion: Fusion and National Journal's "Next America" Project Announce Editorial Partnership

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Fusion: Ted Cruz: Obama Has 'Absolutely Been Abusing His Power'

Diana Marszalek, TVNewsCheck: Fusion's Debut Shows Serious, Fun Sides

Jeanine Poggi, adage.com: 'Winking at Hispanic': Where Does TV's New Fusion Channel Fit?

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Slavery Becoming Unavoidable Topic; Professor Takes Pride

With "12 Years a Slave" on movie screens and Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" series on PBS, it's becoming difficult to avoid the painful subject of slavery.

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On the installment of "The African Americans" that aired Tuesday, however, a segment on the Underground Railroad ended with Vincent Brown, Charles Warren professor of history and of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, touting slaves' behavior as a point of pride.

"When I think about the Underground Railroad, it makes me want to claim slaves, right, as my ancestors, because they were genius in order to pull something off like this," Brown said. "I think about this, and I think, wow, you know, slavery is not a shame on me because my ancestors were some of the most creative, resourceful people in the history of the United States. That's a shame on the slaveholders, but there's no stigma that I bear by being descended from people who could do something like that. You know, who could pull something like that off."

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For moviegoers, the pain recreated in "12 Years a Slave" apparently is worth enduring. Writing in the Los Angeles Times about the true story of a free black man tricked into slavery, John Horn told readers Tuesday, "If some potential ticket buyers have been put off by the film's frank and sometimes unsettling depictions of slavery, they have yet to become a factor. The film is considered a leading contender for the Academy Awards, and has attracted some of the strongest reviews of the year.

"Starting Friday, '12 Years a Slave' will begin showing at theaters in San Francisco, San Diego, Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Cleveland and similar major metropolitan areas.

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"The film doesn't show signs of weakening in big markets where it premiered a couple of weeks ago. . . ."

Meanwhile, researchers warn not to take the wrong message from the recent successes of serious films about African Americans. "A new study from USC Annenberg [PDF] shows it's business as usual when it comes to employing underrepresented races and ethnicities in the industry," the university said Wednesday.

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"USC Annenberg Professor Stacy L. Smith and her team analyzed 500 top-grossing films at the U.S. box office over five years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and over 20,000 speaking characters. The evidence reveals that in 2012, black or African Americans represented 10.8% of all speaking characters, while Hispanics represented 4.2% and Asians 5%. In the top-grossing films analyzed from 2012, nearly 40% depict black characters in less than 5% of all speaking roles. . . ."

David Blight, Richard America, Laurent Dubois and Marjoleine Kars with Diane Rehm on "The Diane Rehm Show," WAMU-FM, Washington: The Moral And Economic Costs Of Slavery (audio) (Oct. 31)

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Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root: Who Really Ran the Underground Railroad?

Terry Gross with David Blight, "Fresh Air," NPR: Historian Says '12 Years' Is A Story The Nation Must Remember (Oct. 24)

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Julianne Jennings, Indian Country Today Media Network: The Tragic History of African Slaves and Indians (Sept. 29)

Peniel E. Joseph, The Root: How Slavery Feeds Today's Racism

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: '12 Years a Slave': A great movie on a difficult subject for America (Oct. 22)

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Wesley Morris, Grantland: The Song of Solomon: The cultural crater of 12 Years a Slave (Oct. 24)

Leonard Pitts Jr. Miami Herald: Slave film's vast silences speak volumes (Oct. 22)

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Michael Paul Williams, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Shockoe ballpark: unforced error (Oct. 15)

Short Takes

"What does extreme income inequality do to the fabric of society — and how can it be reversed?" CNN asked in a news release Wednesday, describing an online documentary. " 'Change The List' series creator, CNN Opinion writer John Sutter, travels to the most unequal place in America: East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, to explore the answers to this question. In a vote this year, America's rich-poor gap was the most important issue for CNN to cover chosen by Change the List readers. . . ."

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Associated Press Media Editors wrapped up its annual convention Wednesday in Indianapolis, with Debra Adams Simmons, editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, becoming its new president. She had been vice president. Other officers are Alan D. Miller, managing editor/news, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, vice president; Teri Hayt, executive editor of GateHouse Ohio Newspapers in Canton, Massillon and New Philadelphia, secretary; and Laura Sellers-Earl, digital development director for the EO Media Group in Salem, Ore., journalism studies chair. The treasurer is Dennis Anderson, editor of the Journal Star in Peoria, Ill.

In Chicago, "The men who run WFLD-Channel 32 want you to believe that Robin Robinson is happy to be walking away at the end of November from the top news anchor position she has held for the past 26 years," Robert Feder wrote Tuesday on his blog. On Wednesday, he added, "Fox 32 officially announced Robinson's departure as anchor, effective Nov. 27. Replacing her alongside co-anchor Jeff Herndon will be morning news anchor Dawn Hasbrouck. . . ." On Sunday, Feder had written, "The parade of unknowns continues at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Melody Mendez, host of 'The Everyday Show' on KDVR-TV, the Fox affiliate in Denver, and Jake Hamilton, entertainment reporter at KRIV-TV, the Fox-owned station in Houston, are the latest imports headed for 'Good Day Chicago.'. . . "

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"Raw Story is pleased to announce that Tony Ortega, former editor-in-chief at The Village Voice, has been selected as the company’s new executive editor," the publication announced early Thursday. "Ortega will take the reins of Raw Story next week, where he plans to bring more reporting to a website that is experiencing record growth. 'Raw is really tearing up its competition, and I'm fortunate to be asked to help it get to the next level with an increased emphasis on original stories,' Ortega said." Ortega is of Mexican-American heritage and has worked at Phoenix New Times, New Times Los Angeles, the Pitch in Kansas City and New Times Broward-Palm Beach in Florida.

Blogger Michelle Garcia and Bob Liff, writing for the Huffington Post, were among those remembering Elaine Rivera, the former reporter for WNYC-FM in New York, New York Newsday and other outlets who was found dead Saturday after battling liver disease. Newsday published an obituary by William Murphy that quoted a colleague who described Rivera as a "true street reporter with a heart."

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All-news KXL-FM in Portland, Ore., is taking down a billboard and "All involved will go thru sensitivity training to prevent any future issues," program director Scott Mahalick told the Asian American Journalists Association. "The billboard's message — 'We love you long time' — was especially insensitive given its placement in the city's Chinatown neighborhood. The billboard was inexcusable, no matter the placement, in a state and city with a growing Asian American population," the association said Wednesday.

"The Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to confirm President Obama's two nominations to the Federal Communications Commission, overcoming obstacles by Republican lawmakers," Edwin Wyatt reported for the New York Times. "The vote came after Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, lifted a hold earlier in the day on the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman, with Mr. Cruz saying he had received assurances from him that the commission would not immediately pursue changes for political advertising on television. . . ." The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council said, "When President Obama nominated Wheeler for the position in April, MMTC expressed confidence that Wheeler would 'continue to advance minority and women's issues in industries comprising one-sixth of the economy,' noting his reputation for promoting diversity and innovation throughout his three-decade career. . . ."

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"Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price says Service Broadcasting's K104 FM and Smooth R&B 105.7 FM stepped in" to save the area's Kwanzaafest, RadioInk reported, "providing financial support and boots on the ground. Price created the December event, which draws over 50,000 people, in 1990 and was to be canceled due to declining sponsorships and increased costs. . . ."

Rene Astudillo, a former board member and former executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association, has "published a book that Jon Stewart of The Daily Show says is 'the biggest threat to my career,' described by The Onion, the popular news publication as 'excruciatingly funny,' Boying Pimentel wrote Tuesday in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "And Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report even said — Well, okay, they're all fake reviews of Astudillo's hilarious 'The Adobo Chronicles' from the masters of fake news — or as he puts [it,] 'unbelievable news.' . . ."

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"Shrugging off its initial low viewership, the cable news network Al Jazeera America on Tuesday announced an ambitious major expansion," David Hinckley reported Tuesday for the Daily News in New York. "The network, whose parent is based in Qatar, said it will be opening more U.S. bureaus, hiring more staff and creating more original programming. . . ."

"Somali security agents stormed and shut down two radio stations, beat and detained reporters, and impounded their equipment, their union said," Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar reported Sunday for Reuters. "The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said the raid in Mogadishu on Saturday was connected to stories Radio Shabelle and SkyFM, both part of the Shabelle Media Network, had aired touching on accusations of corruption within government. . . ."

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"Leaders of organisations affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), under the umbrella of the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), have warned that hostilities by governments and other armed groups in Eastern Africa against media freedom and journalist rights are escalating," the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists said on Tuesday.

Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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