With the Obama administration set to require every big company to report salary data based on race, gender and ethnicity, and the Dow Jones Co. CEO decrying pay disparities by race and gender, the president of the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America said Friday that the guild would be "going after this information with gusto" at media companies.
"My board meets in April—we are going after this information with gusto," Bernie Lunzer, president of the Guild, told Journal-isms by email. "As you know we bargain 'minimum' wages, something that goes back to Heywood Broun our founder.
"That has always left room for publishers to use discretionary pay. In the beginning it was used in a restricted manner, primarily for hotshot columnists. But obviously 'merit' pay took off and is problematic.
"So we’re after all of our national information sorted by ethnicity and gender. It will be amalgamate, so folks won’t be able to pinpoint sites or papers. Our locals have insisted on that. I’m hoping by early fall we can make some news with this …"
The Guild says it represents "25,000 journalists and other media workers in today’s digital and traditional news organizations."
In 2014, Lunzer told Journal-isms that the pay disparity between men and women had nearly vanished from newspaper newsrooms, as well as differences in pay among the races.
However, the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, the Dow Jones unit of the Guild, reported on March 8 that after 25 years, “there has been little progress” in the pay gap between men and women in its jurisdiction, with black or African American women ranking lowest and Hispanic women or Latinas next to lowest.
On March 23, Dow Jones CEO William Lewis wrote employees, "Any pay disparity relating to an employee’s race or gender is troubling and inconsistent with the standards I strive to maintain at Dow Jones. We must, as a matter of urgency, address these issues head on.
“I have asked the Executive Leadership Team to do a thorough review of our current hiring, development and compensation programs to ensure diversity and equality are prioritised. This will include a deep analysis of recruitment and remuneration practices across all segments, roles and regions of our organization.
“This analysis will allow me to accurately benchmark staff in all roles. I will be transparent about these efforts and the results.
“Improvements will then follow.”
Danielle Paquette and Drew Harwell reported in the Washington Post on Jan. 29 that Obama's new rules "would require every big company to report salary data based on race, gender and ethnicity, setting up the federal government to actively police pay disparities that have resisted other efforts at reform.
"Armed with that data, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could crack down on companies paying women less than their male counterparts with investigations and lawsuits. Any lawsuit would cause the company to be publicly named. The same would be true of pay disparities between minorities and whites.
"The move does not need congressional approval and will be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget."
Action by Obama and the EEOC received pushback Friday in a Chicago Tribune op-ed by Joanne Cleaver, a communication consultant based in Chicago.
"You'd think the EEOC has its hands full running down the pay discrepancy complaints it already gets. By its own admission, the agency has enforced legitimate claims of unequal pay to the tune of $85 million in 'monetary relief' since 2010, when the White House created the Equal Pay Task Force.
"The additional data the EEOC wants to collect is defined so broadly — grouped into 12 categories — that the resulting comparisons won't yield much insight. Besides, reams of incisive data and analysis are already being produced by research and advocacy nonprofits, such as the Institute for Women's Policy Research and Chicago's own Women Employed.
"Obama's and the EEOC's heavy-handed tactics will push employers back on the defensive, just as employers are finally catching on to the strategic advantages of pay equity innovations to attract talent, build trust and boost reputation. . . ."
Guild: Gender, Race Pay Gaps Nearly Gone (April 11, 2014)
Andrew Das, New York Times: Top Female Players Accuse U.S. Soccer of Wage Discrimination
Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Confronting the Racial Pay Gap (March 9)
'Horrifying' Roadside Search of Body Cavities
"For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on an investigative series about police abuse in South Carolina," Radley Balko reported Friday for the Washington Post.
"I’ve found a dizzying number of cases, including illegal arrests, botched raids, fatal shootings and serious questions about how all those incidents are investigated. Many of these cases were previously unreported, or if they were reported, the initial reports were a far cry from what actually happened. The series will run at some point in the next week. But in the meantime, I want to share one particularly horrifying incident that I came across this week while researching the series. . . ."
Laura Bult summarized the story Friday for the Daily News in New York:
"Multiple white police officers performed an illegal and humiliating cavity search on a black man on the side of the road in South Carolina during an unwarranted traffic stop, according to a video and a bombshell lawsuit.
"Elijah Pontoon was the victim of the mortifying probe after cops pulled over the car of his girlfriend, Lakeye Hicks, was driving near downtown Aiken, S.C., because the recently-purchased vehicle had temporary tags.
"Driving with temporary tags isn’t illegal so long as they are not expired, according to the Washington Post, which was first to report on the lawsuit filed in September 2015 as part of a series on police abuse in South Carolina.
"Aiken Police Officer Chris Medlin and his fellow officers almost immediately handcuffed Pontoon after they ran their identifications. They found that the tags checked out, shocking police video of the Oct. 2, 2014 traffic stop showed.
"While cops gave no reason to search the couple or their car, the pair dutifully allowed them to, although at one point Pontoon says, “this is just harassment,” the suit says.
"The officers eventually alluded to Pontoon’s 'past history,' telling him, 'You’re going to pay for this one, boy,' before they instructed a dog to sniff the car. . . ."
Balko also wrote, "I asked John Wesley Hall, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, a Fourth Amendment expert, and purveyor of the site FourthAmendment.com to view the videos and complaint in this case. Here was his response:
" 'This is quite appalling, to say the least. I’ve encountered on the street strip searches of men in my own practice, but never of a woman on the street, and then this case has the added anal probing. Worse yet: There is no legal justification for anything, including the stop because criminal history alone isn’t reasonable suspicion.
"Everything starting with the stop was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and it just got progressively worse.
"What this indicates to me is a police department with utter disregard for the civil liberties of the citizens it is supposed to 'serve and protect.' . . ."
Erica L. Green, Baltimore Sun: Juveniles in Maryland's justice system are routinely strip-searched and shackled (March 13)
N.Y. Times Schedules Newsletter on Race
Subscribers to the New York Times received an email Friday about a new Times newsletter on race that asked, "Why do so many of us hang around only with people who look just like we do? How much does skin color still determine our lot in life? Do we all have biases deep down inside, and if we do, can we get over them?
"We want to explore issues like these in Race/Related — our new newsletter that aims to start a lively discussion on race — and we want you involved. Readers have already helped us explore the stories behind photographs pulled from our archives, with our Unpublished Black History project. Now we’re broadening the focus, hoping to explore race from every angle, with you and all those who can help us examine the issue with intelligence and candor.
"Every other week, we’ll share what our team — a diverse group of New York Times staffers — is up to, and what we find fascinating in The Times, and elsewhere. We’ll introduce you to provocative ideas, questions and personalities; and we’ll tap into personal experiences, ours and yours, to reveal how race is really lived. . . ."
Marc Lacey, national enterprise editor at the Times, said the idea for the project originated with Executive Editor Dean Baquet.
"Dean has created a cross-desk team to boost our coverage of race," Lacey told Journal-isms Friday by email. "He asked me to coordinate things. We include reporters, editors, graphic artists, photographers, videographers, programmers and many others, of all imaginable backgrounds.
"Our goal is to build on all the great coverage of race that is produced every day in all corners of The Times. We are sometimes rightly called out when we cover things in a less than graceful way but close readers of The Times know that we also do incisive, groundbreaking work.
"We hope to distribute the great stuff we do to those who are interested in seeing it and, just as importantly, discuss those areas where we fall short. Nobody, The Times included, can capture all aspects of an area as complicated and fraught as race but we're going to try and I encourage everyone to follow along.
"In the meantime, we're reaching out to all corners of the newsroom for contributors and we hope to assemble an even more diverse staff than we have now and collaborate with our colleagues who are translating Times journalism into Mandarin and Spanish. Most exciting of all, we want readers to contribute as well. Stay tuned."
First Amendment Can't Save Anchor's Job
"When broadcast talent agent David Brunner read WTAE anchor Wendy Bell’s Facebook posting following the March 9 Wilkinsburg shooting that killed six and heard about the subsequent fallout, he figured the station would suspend her and demand an on-air apology when she returned," Steve Twedt reported Friday for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“ 'This is not the first time an anchor or reporter has gotten in trouble for something they posted,' said Mr. Brunner, whose Centre County agency DB & Associates represents TV anchors and reporters from Florida to California.
"In the posting, Ms. Bell speculated that the Wilkinsburg shooters were 'young black men' with 'multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.'
"Robert Faletti, co-founder of the Highland Park social media design and marketing firm Blue Archer, said he also was surprised by Ms. Bell’s firing this week. 'I personally did not take the comment to be outright racist in any way.'
"Regardless, her comments have set off fireworks, with opinions differing over whether the posting was racist, simply misguided or wildly misconstrued.
"To those who stake the claim that her firing violates Ms. Bell’s right to freedom of speech, though, Downtown employment attorney Sam Cordes said the law is clear:
“'She has none.'
"The First Amendment forbids the government to infringe on individuals’ free speech rights, he said, with limited exceptions. 'But it says nothing about a private employer.' . . .”
[A video posted on YouTube in 2010 shows co-anchor Andrew Stockey, who is black, discussing sunscreen, and Bell saying, "I want whatever you're using." ]
Eric Heyl, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Its credibility at stake, WTAE did what it had to, social media expert says
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Why firing Wendy Bell was all wrong
Maria Sciullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Wendy Bell, fired over her controversial Facebook posts, says she didn’t get a 'fair shake'
Scores Laid Off at O.C. Register, Bay Area Radio
"On the day that Digital First Media completed its purchase of Freedom Communications — parent company of the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise — a wave of layoffs hit the Register," Anh Do reported Thursday for the Los Angeles Times.
"Rob Curley, editor of the paper, confirmed Thursday that it would be his last day. He was among 70-plus staff members who were being let go from the editorial, circulation, advertising and marketing departments, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing the Register. . . ."
Do also wrote, "Digital First bought Freedom for $49.8 million after a week that saw a higher bid in bankruptcy court from Tribune Publishing — parent company of the Los Angeles Times — derailed by Justice Department intervention on antitrust grounds. . . ."
Meanwhile, "More than a dozen full-time staffers at San Francisco's KGO Radio and KFOG 104.5 FM were laid off on Thursday (March 31) by parent company Cumulus Radio in what was described as a restructuring effort," Gil Kaufman reportedFriday for Billboard. "According to the San Francisco Examiner, at least 20 staffers, maybe more, were let go, including the entire staff of KFOG, the iconic Bay Area rock station that went jockless on Thursday in what was described as an 'evolution' slated to fully manifest on April 20.
"Reportedly let go in the process were such popular on-air KFOG hosts as morning team No Name, Renee and Irish Greg, midday host Annalisa, afternoon host Bill Webster and nighttime DJ Dred Scott. ABC 7 reported that KGO — one of the last remaining for-profit news stations in San Francisco — lost popular talker Ronn Owens, in addition to news anchor Jennifer Jones, sports anchor Rich Walcoff, business and tech reporter Jason Middleton, traffic reporter Mark Nieto, reporter Kristin Hanes, production director Mike Amatori, talk show host Chip Franklin and veteran anchor Jon Bristow.
"With the loss of its entire news team, ABC 7 quoted unnamed employees as saying that the station is planning a shift from straight news to a 'talk' format. A spokesperson for Cumulus told Billboard that the company does not comment on employee matters and that information is forthcoming on the new programming strategy in the 'next few days or weeks.' . . ."
John Lewis Urges, 'Disturb the Order of Things'
"Journalists uncover the facts. They’re instructed to seek the truth and report it," Caitlin Johnston reported Friday for the Poynter Institute.
"But they’re also supposed to get in the way.
"That’s the challenge U.S. Rep. John Lewis set before a crowd of more than 800 people Thursday night who gathered at The Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes.
“ 'You must not give up,' an impassioned Lewis told the crowd. 'You must hold on. Tell the truth. Report the truth. Disturb the order of things. Find a way to get in the way and make a little noise with your pens, your pencils, your cameras.'
"Thursday’s event focused on journalists who did just that while covering the tumult of the civil rights movement, along with the stories, photos, music and poetry that shaped the fight for equality and social justice during some of the most turbulent decades in American history.
"In a program that paid tribute to these award-winning works, special attention was given to a dozen editorial writers whose careers spanned the classic period of the civil rights movement, from 1946 to 1972.
“ 'These Southern editorialists — 11 White men and one White woman — would risk life, limb, and livelihood to write what they believed,' said Kanika Jelks Tomalin, the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. 'That the South must change, that legal barriers to equality must be torn down, that violence and hatred must give way to peace, tolerance, and justice.'
"But the history of the prizes isn't about 'progressive White people rescuing Black people from racial violence,' said Roy Peter Clark, a vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, which hosted the event.
“ 'They are, instead, about White editorialists willing to be carried along upon a sea of change that was hard for them to imagine, a sea cresting with the courage and endurance and hard patriotism of African-Americans,' Clark said.
"One of those patriots was Lewis, who built his life by 'getting in the way' of injustice. . . ."
Roy Peter Clark, Poynter Institute: Hate and racism in the South gave rise to ‘social justice journalism’ (March 23)
FCC Boosts Broadband, but Not Spanish Alerts
"The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a $9.25 monthly broadband subsidy to help millions of low-income households connect to the Internet, in a move aimed at bridging the digital divide," Cecilia Kang reported Thursday for the New York Times.
"Three of the agency’s five commissioners voted for the subsidy plan, with two against. The approval, which comes as part of the reform of a fund known as the Lifeline program, is the latest push by the F.C.C. to treat broadband like a public utility. High-speed Internet has become increasingly crucial to households, used for doing homework, finding and maintaining employment, and completing other basic tasks.
"The vote ensures that 'Americans can access the dominant communications platform of the day,'' said Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C. . . ."
Separately, Ashley Ludlow and Harry Cole reported for commlawblog.com that the FCC rejected a proposal to make Emergency Alert System alerts more accessible.
"How do you say EAS en español?" they reported. "Apparently, that’s something EAS participants won’t need to worry about anytime soon. The FCC has rejected a proposal that would have mandated the availability of emergency announcements in Spanish (and, in some places, other languages as well). But, presumably not wishing to seem like they were totally turning their back on the not insubstantial non-English speaking populations of our great country, the Commission did make a concession of sorts to the proponents — but not one that’s likely to make them muy feliz. . . ."
Turkish Security Guards Abuse D.C. Journalists
"National Press Club leaders expressed alarm about reports that security personnel guarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had physically abused journalists here on Thursday," John M. Donnelly reported for the press club.
"According to published news reports and multiple tweets from eyewitnesses, Erdogan’s security team manhandled reporters at the Brookings Institution ahead of a speech by Erdogan.
"The Turkish leader’s bodyguards sought to physically remove one journalist from the event, kicked another and threw a third, a woman, to the sidewalk, the reports said. Smart phone footage posted on Twitter appeared to corroborate some of the allegations of violence. . . ."
Lester Holt Visits NABJ Board Meeting
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt surprised the board of the National Association of Black Journalists with a visit Friday as the board met at NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.
"Since arriving in New York, the Board of Directors made advocacy visits to WABC, [BuzzFeed], and Reuters where they had opportunity to meet with executives and staff, as well as tour facilities," NABJ spokeswoman Aprill Turner messaged Journal-isms.
"Additionally, the Board meeting was hosted by NBC News at Rockefeller Center. Not only were they paid a visit by Lester Holt, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of MSNBC, Yvette Miley also paid a visit to the meeting and participated in a great dialogue with the board about the trials and triumphs in her career as a woman of color in news. . . ."
Black Photographer at O.J. Trial Tells His Story
"With his prized possession in hand, Los Angeles-based, award-winning Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath spent 15 months in the courtroom, shot over 19,000 photographs, and documented every detail of O.J. Simpson's double murder 'trial of the century,' but until now, his story has gone untold," EURWeb.com reported Wednesday.
"Galbreath gives EURweb associate, Angela P. Moore, exclusive access to his stories about what really took place in the courtroom. Galbreath had unprecedented access to the trial and provided more coverage than any other journalist in the world did.
Moore also wrote, "Galbreath fought relentlessly for the black media to gain equal access in the courtroom and was determined to break down color barriers for equal access in media coverage. Never in the history of the United States, had a black-owned news photo service been given the same equal access as mainstream media to cover such a major court case on a daily basis. . . ."
Moore said Galbreath believed that "journalist and broadcasters reporting on the trial did not provide honest and accurate coverage. They often provided sensationalism and did not take blacks [seriously]. . . ."
"Tomorrow marks my 15th anniversary at the Houston Chronicle, and I'm near tears as I try to explain how moved I was to see the sign that the famous sign ladies Barbara Moon & Susan Welbes made for me tonight at Minute Maid Park," home of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, Jose de Jesus Ortiz wrote Friday on Facebook. "Mrs. Moon and Mrs. Welbes are renowned at Minute Maid Park and among Astros fans for their signs." Ortiz is leaving for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he will be a sports columnist.
"Days after Fidel Castro went on the offensive against Barack Obama in an editorial questioning the intentions behind the president's Cuba visit, a Havana columnist attacked the U.S. leader for 'inciting rebellion' in an opinion piece titled 'Negro, are you dumb?' " the Daily Mail reported Friday. "The Havana Tribune writer, who is black, accused Obama of 'overplaying his hand' by criticizing Cuba during his visit last month and by implying that the country should change. '[Obama] chose to criticize and subtly suggest … incitations to rebellion and disorder, without caring that he was on foreign ground. Without a doubt, Obama overplayed his hand,' wrote Elias Argudín in the opinion piece. . . ."
In an "exit interview" with Jason Salzman of the Huffington Post, departing Denver Post Editor Gregory L. Moore said, "What I will miss the most is the power I had to get any story done at a high level with the staff we had. I loved story identification and generation. Journalism is the best and most direct way to affect change in any community and you get addicted to that. . . ."
"An Ontario court has ruled that a VICE News reporter must hand over all communications between him and an Islamic State fighter to Canada's federal police force," Rachel Browne reported Thursday for VICE News. "Last month, VICE Media fought the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) court-granted production order for national security reporter Ben Makuch's Kik instant messenger app chat logs, or screen shots of the chats, between him and Farah Shirdon. The 22-year-old Calgary man allegedly left Canada in 2014 to fight alongside IS in Iraq and Syria. . . ."
"As sweet as a buzzer beater that hits nothing but net, perfection is the news in my 19th annual tracking of Graduation Success Rates for the Division 1 college basketball teams in March Madness," (accessible via search engine) Derrick Z. Jackson reported Tuesday in the Boston Globe. "A record 19 schools had male black graduation rates of 100 percent and for the first time ever, more than half of the 68-team field had black graduation rates of 80 percent or higher. . . ."
"Just a couple weeks ago, Jim Kent, a widely publicized columnist was informed by the Rapid City [S.D.] Journal that he would no longer be employed by the paper," Brandon Ecoffey, editor of the Lakota Country Times, reported Monday on indianz.com. "In this industry, columnists come and go but they are not often fired over pieces that are not controversial or inflammatory. . . . " Ecoffey also wrote, "Mr. Kent's column ran in both the Rapid City Journal and Lakota Country Times as it has for the last 6 years. The RCJ based their reasoning for discontinuing Kent's column on a possible conflict of interest because his column ran in both papers. I could understand this reasoning but to claim this conflict of interest only came to their attention recently is an absolute bold-faced lie. . . ."
"My main takeaway from Dancing With The Stars, Season 22 is that I probably should not have waited until I was a lame 72-year-old to do the show," Geraldo Rivera wrote Wednesday for Fox News Latino. "The physical challenges of the dance routines are rigorous, the training akin to the buildup to a boxing match. Actually, boxing has the advantage over dancing in that fighting is not as tough, at least not to me — and I was a boxer for 25 years. Getting punched in the face is nothing compared to the embarrassment of missing a dance step on live TV in front of 12 or 13 million viewers, which I did routinely on DWTS. . . ." Rivera and his partner, Edyta Slwinska, were eliminated.
"I know how this is gonna go. On my day off from my job as a Chicago Tribune digital editor, I'm going to log onto Facebook or Twitter and see someone accuse me of not caring about Pakistan or Nigeria, places I spent the previous few days caring very much about," Charles J. Johnson wrote Wednesday for the Chicago Tribune. He also wrote, "Don't get me wrong: We will cover the important news whether or not it attracts a large audience online. But reader interest does help shape the size of the spotlight we offer to certain stories. It's pointless, even arrogant, for me to criticize the readers for what they're interested in. . . ."
Maj. Delrish Moss, a former homicide detective who was named the new chief of police for Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, was reported to be a member of the National Association of Black Journalists in several news stories Friday. But Moss, who serves as spokesman for the Miami Police Department, is not a member of NABJ or its South Florida chapter, according to both groups.
"Alina Machado will be leaving CNN, where she has been a correspondent in Miami," Chris Ariens reported Thursday for TVNewser. "She joined the network in 2013. . . ."
"After a 12-year run with Telemundo, David Necochea has left his position as network news videographer in Houston to join NBC network news in New York," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for her Media Moves site. "He starts onMonday, April 4 as a videographer and editor for Nightly News, the Today Show, MSNBC and Peacock Productions. . . ."
Despite revelations that "Roots" author and freelance writer Alex Haley "had made up most of the story," it has value, Todd Steven Burroughs wrote Friday for The Root. "We still search for what is missing, merging fact and myth in our psyches, looking inside and outside for our personal truths — our best, most powerful versions of ourselves. (It’s why I have to admit here that I regularly watched that Roots episode about the massively successful freelancer Haley well after I had learned and accepted the reality of what he had done, and subsequently bought a copy of the book that I recall was labeled as fiction. Some truths are more powerful than facts, even those in journalism and history.) The power of taking on that search, and what is learned as a result, is why we (should) continue to honor our ancestors Haley and Kinte."
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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