- Writer’s Union Warns Potential Contributors
- ‘A Disgusting Tap Dance That’s All About Politics’
- U.S. Presence in Africa Is ‘Wildly Underreported’
- Tom Joyner Says He’s Retiring in Two Years
- Kaepernick Grievance Seen as Blow for Player Rights
- FCC Chair Breaks Silence on Trump Tweet
- Court Won’t Require Emergency Alerts in Spanish
- ‘MLK50’ Aims to Reframe Memphis Conversation
- Networks Ignore ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Myanmar
- Israeli Army Closes Palestinian Media Companies
- Short Takes
- 500 Celebrate Life of Mike Hodge, Journalist Turned Actor and Union Activist
“UPTOWN Magazine — a national publication with regional editions in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. — has not been paying all of its freelance writers,” Amy Rose wrote Wednesday in a “Writer Alert” from the National Writers Union.
“Some writers remain unpaid since October, 2014. Together five writers, now represented by the National Writers Union, are owed $18,825 for work published by UPTOWN over the past three years.
“The NWU has tried repeatedly to reach the magazine’s owner/manager by email, phone, and postal mail regarding this situation since June, 2017. Initially, we were told that the problem would be corrected, but, since then, there have been no responses and no payments. . . .”
Chanize Thorpe, one of the five, told Journal-isms by telephone that she is owed $8,000 or more for work performed since 2014. She said she worked as lifestyle editor, helping to produce special issues.
Uptown leaders Len Burnett and Brett Wright could not be reached for comment. Thorpe said she believed the publication was now online only.
The “About” section of the website says, “Founded in 2004, UPTOWN affords luxury purveyors the broadest access to a radically distinctive group of male and female consumers: affluent African-Americans (AAAs). The combination of UPTOWN Magazine and the UPTOWN 360 Experience (a multimedia venture encompassing Uptownmagazine.com, the UPTOWN Social e-newsletter, and Uptown Professional) is a one-of-a-kind multimedia venture that provides marketers with traditional and alternative ways to reach our audience of influencers at home, work, and play.”
In January, Richard Johnson reported for pagesix.com that stylist-to-the-stars Phillip Bloch filed a complaint with New York state’s Department of Labor saying he directed a photo shoot of Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o for Uptown but the magazine failed to reimburse him.
The National Writers Union’s “Writer Alert” concluded, “The NWU is pursuing this matter energetically and strongly encourages writers to consider this situation before submitting work to UPTOWN.”
‘A Disgusting Tap Dance That’s All About Politics’
“This time, it’s personal — for the community of Greater Miami, for a South Florida congressional lawmaker and, especially, for one particular Miami Gardens family in mourning,” the Miami Herald editorialized on Wednesday.”So it is grievously unfortunate that the death of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed while on a U.S. mission in Niger, has become one more political mosh pit, in which President Trump is hogging the spotlight that should be reserved for Johnson and the three other soldiers who were killed along with him.
“South Florida U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson stands by her account that she heard the president tell Johnson’s young widow that the soldier knew what he was signing up for but that nevertheless, his death must hurt like the dickens. . . .”
The editorial also said, “Here’s what we know for sure: The president’s respect for the military is an on-again, off-again slippery-eel of a thing. Trump manipulates his regard, both high and low, this way and that, almost always to score political points. . . .
“It’s a disgusting tap dance that’s all about politics, not patriotism. We’ll say what the president did not have the decency to: La David Johnson died an American hero — and deserves Americans’ undying gratitude.”
Connie Schultz, Creators Syndicate: Trump didn’t remember Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s name, but we will
Amanda Terkel, HuffPost: Trump Tried To Look Compassionate. Instead, He Looked Like A Jerk.
U.S. Presence in Africa Is ‘Wildly Underreported’
On “Democracy Now!” on Tuesday, freelance journalist Amanda Sperber told host Amy Goodman, “From my understanding, the American Special Forces were embedded with Nigerian troops in a remote, extremely remote, scrubby western part of Niger, conducting an operation.”
Sperber, who splits her time between Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia, said, “My understanding is that they were ambushed. And at that point, the four men were killed. As far as I can tell, I was — as a journalist based in Africa, something that I noticed was, I was surprised that there were so many Americans surprised about the U.S. presence in West Africa.
“That’s something we’ve been expanding for some time. We have a drone base set up in Niger, as well. And the American presence on the continent, in general, is wildly underreported and misunderstood. . . .”
Tom Joyner Says He’s Retiring in Two Years
“Tom Joyner, the first successful syndicated urban radio morning host, announced this morning he’s going to retire in two years,” Rodney Ho reported Tuesday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.”
Joyner, who works out of Dallas and is heard locally on Atlanta’s Kiss 104.1, has been hosting the show since 1994. If he retires in 2019, that would make a clean 25 years with the show.”
The announcement came out of the blue. ‘What a surprise,’ said Tony Kidd, vice president of programming for Cox Media Group Atlanta. ‘I don’t know what we’ll do yet.’”
Joyner’s note on his blog did not clearly explain why he chose this time to leave the airwaves, but he will be 69 in 2019. Since he started his show, he’s faced off against numerous rivals including Steve Harvey (heard locally on Majic 107.5/97.5), Russ Parr (heard locally on Old School 87.7) and Rickey Smiley (heard locally on Hot 107.9). . . .”
Joyner wrote Tuesday on his blog, “for the next two years we’ll continue to fight the good fight for the causes important to our audiences…voter registration, policies that impact our community, and raising more than $65 million and counting for my beloved Historically Black Colleges and Universities. . . .”
Lance Venta wrote for Radio Insight, “Joyner and David Kantor founded Reach Media in 2003 to take over distribution of the Tom Joyner Morning Show from ABC Radio Networks and add additional programming. Controlling stake was sold to Radio-One in 2004, who then increased their stake to 80% in 2012. . . .” A Reach Media spokesman said the show has more than 95 affiliates.
Kaepernick Grievance Seen as Blow for Player Rights
“Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick will win and lose with the collusion grievance he’s filed against the NFL,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote Tuesday for the Huffington Post.
“The win is easy. The NFL season is nearly half over. Several starting NFL quarterbacks have gone down, or have been banged around to the point where their playing status is touch and go, game by game. The most recent to go is Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.
“Yet, not one of the 32 NFL teams has expressed any real interest in giving Kaepernick a tryout. A handful of owners, GMs and coaches have gone further and said either he wouldn’t fit in their offensive scheme or flatly told the truth, and said, he’d be a ‘distraction.’ He was simply not worth the hassle. So, Kap really didn’t have anything to lose in filing his grievance.
“He’s out. He’s effectively blackballed. . . .”
Hutchinson also said of the grievance, “It forced NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to swiftly squash media speculation that the NFL owners at their scheduled meeting would clamp down on the player’s anthem protests by making it mandatory that they stand at rapt attention during the playing of the anthem.
“This all can be chalked up largely to Kap’s grievance. The other win is that it stiffens the sternum of the NFL players association in their coming contract talks with NFL owners about pay, revenue sharing, health benefits, with special emphasis on the concussion issue. The grievance will also bolster the association’s demand for loosening owner controls on what players can and can’t say and do as NFL players.
“This is huge given that the NFL is not, and never has been, a democracy. It’s an owner’s autocracy in which the players in times past have been expendable and readily replaceable cogs in a revolving door with little to no say so about the NFL rules and playing conditions. The grievance put a major chink in the NFL’s seeming untouchability on player rights. . . .”
Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg View: Martin Luther King Has a Lesson for NFL Protesters
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic: Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular (Oct. 3)
Alejandro Danois, the Shadow League: Colin Kaepernick And The Power Of Sports To Transform America
Alejandro Danois, the Shadow League: Kevin Blackistone: Storytelling Through The Lens Of Blackness (Oct. 11)
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune: Flag on the play if NFL owners mandate patriotism (Oct. 12)
Brady Henderson, ESPN: Michael Bennett says Colin Kaepernick resolution needed before more talks with owners
Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press: NFL protests: Anthem controversy forgets who we are, and strive to be
Holly Lee, bipartisanreport.com: ESPN Anchor Stuns Everyone; Calls Jerry Jones A Slave Owner LIVE During Segment
Jose de Jesus Ortiz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: NFL moving to quash anthem protests (Oct. 12)
Jason Reid, the Undefeated: Say goodbye to Colin Kaepernick as an NFL player
Jason Reid, the Undefeated: NFL owners, players meet to talk race, justice and working together
Pete Vernon, Columbia Journalism Review: Behind the story: ‘Colin Kaepernick has a job’ by Rembert Browne (Oct. 10)
FCC Chair Breaks Silence on Trump Tweet
“Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission that handles licensing, says he doesn’t have the authority to do that,” Brian Stelter and Seth Fiegerman reported Tuesday for CNNMoney.
“On Tuesday Pai made his first public remarks about [President] Trump’s threatening tweets.
“ ‘I believe in the First Amendment. The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment,’ Pai said in an appearance at George Mason University.
“Pai just stated the obvious — but it was newsworthy because he hadn’t said anything for nearly a week.
“ ‘Under the law, the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast,’ he said.
“That’s true. When a license comes up for renewal, which happens every eight years, the FCC evaluates whether the station has complied with its rules, but doesn’t evaluate content. (Trump’s tweets implied that entire networks are licensed, but in fact licenses are issued to individual stations.)
“Trump’s tweets implied that he wants a change. . . .”
Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Working Around Trump on Issues That Matter
Steven Shepard, Politico: Poll: 46 percent think media make up stories about Trump
Court Won’t Require Emergency Alerts in Spanish
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) expressed their “deep displeasure” Tuesday that a majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals was unwilling to require the Federal Communications Commission “to grant MMTC’s 2005 petition to require broadcasters to offer life-saving emergency information in Spanish and other widely spoken languages during and immediately after emergencies such as hurricanes.
“The ‘Katrina Petition’ was filed in 2005 after 100,000 Spanish-speaking individuals in New Orleans were left with no sources of information for eight days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most life-threatening natural disasters in American history.
“Rather than requiring the FCC to mandate that at least one broadcaster in a market make advance plans to offer multilingual information, the FCC chose to order a ‘survey’ of broadcasters’ almost non-existent voluntary efforts to offer multilingual alerts — the third of such surveys the FCC performed, even though the agency candidly admitted that such surveys would yield no useful information. . . .”
David Oxenford, Broadcast Law Blog: Court Rejects Appeal of FCC Decision Not to Mandate Multilingual EAS Alerts – Highlighting Requirement that Broadcasters Report To Their SECC in Early November About Emergency Information to Non-English Speakers
‘MLK50’ Aims to Reframe Memphis Conversation
“April 4, 2018 marks the 50th year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Shan Wang reported Wednesday for Nieman Lab. “April 4, 2018 is also a bookend for MLK50, a digital journalism project centered around the issues of economic justice in Memphis, where King was assassinated in 1968.
“The year-long effort to address a yawning opening in the city for accountability reporting on labor and economic inequality and the persistent under-representation of black voices in major local news outlets is the work of Wendi Thomas, a longtime Memphis journalist and former columnist for the daily paper The Commercial Appeal (and 2016 Nieman Fellow).”In the first half year of its existence, MLK50 has broken news that’s propelled Memphis into the national spotlight: In an impromptu interview in August, Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale told Thomas he supported the push to remove Confederate monuments in Memphis and thought President Trump’s ‘both sides’ rationalization of Charlottesville was ‘disgusting.’
“The site’s core mission, however, has been to reframe the public conversation in Memphis itself. A recent critical piece about a new boutique hotel development pointed out that ‘only eight of the 65 new jobs created by a new Overton Square hotel project will pay more than $30,000 per year and 45 will pay so little that the workers will almost certainly qualify for food stamps.’
“A collection of essays, photography, and video marked the one-year anniversary of a massive July 10, 2016 protest that shut down the major bridge in Memphis over the Mississippi. Thomas, who grew up in Memphis, sees the city of 653,000 as ‘a microcosm of what’s going on in a lot of urban centers around the country,’ and hopes MLK50’s work will lead to substantive policy discussions about economic and racial inequality. . . .”
Networks Ignore ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Myanmar
“The Myanmar government’s military forces are conducting ethnic cleansing of the country’s Rohingya Muslim population — an ethnic and religious minority in Myanmar — through systematic violence and expulsion. Facing murder, rape, and now famine, hundreds of thousands have fled the country in recent months,” Nina Mast reported Wednesday for Media Matters for America. “Prime-time cable news and broadcast evening newscasts, however, have been reluctant to cover what the U.N. is calling a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’ . . . “
“National newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post as well as Time magazine and NPR have reported extensively on the state-sponsored ‘clearance operations’ with in-depth analyses and multimedia features devoted to the state-sponsored violence, but broadcast evening newscasts and prime-time cable news shows have been nearly silent on the issue.
“In a period of nearly two months following a government crackdown and subsequent mass flight of Rohingya from Myanmar into Bangladesh, evening news referenced the crisis a mere three times: in two reports by Fox News and one from ABC’s World News Tonight. . . .”
Israeli Army Closes Palestinian Media Companies
“The Israeli army closed several Palestinian media companies in the occupied West Bank in a wave of raids overnight Tuesday, drawing criticism from the Palestinian Authority (PA),” the Anadolu News Agency reported Wednesday.
“The Israeli military authority in the occupied territories, COGAT, said in a statement that they raided eight Palestinian companies, accusing them of inciting violence against Israel.
“ ‘These practices are part of a mentality that rejects peace,’ said Palestinian government spokesperson Yusuf Mahmoud.
“Israel also reportedly detained 14 Palestinians in overnight raids across the West Bank, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
“The raids came a week after Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah reached a deal to heal their decade-long rift and form a unity government. . . .”
“The relationship between the media and police is naturally fraught with tension and a central ethical quandary: Reporters rely on police to serve as sources on crime and other public safety issues, even as they function as a check on police power,” Jeremy Borden wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review, examining relations between police and the news media. “But, especially in recent months, journalists have been increasingly dogged about reporting on police accountability and misconduct, issues at the center of controversies in several communities across the country. After Ferguson, many of the journalists who cover crime have also turned their coverage to debates over police tactics in minority communities, the use of deadly force, and protests by aggrieved residents of their city. . . .”
“Fox News has circled the wagons and won’t turn over records involving a Fox News vice president accused of mocking Black Lives Matter,” Stephen Rex Brown reported Wednesday for the Daily News in New York. “Former Fox News Controller Judith Slater allegedly derided black men and wondered why there wasn’t a ‘White Lives Matter’ movement. “Two current and one former employee, who are all black, claimed in a lawsuit filed in Bronx Supreme Court that Slater subjected them to ‘plantation-style management.’ . . .”
“A Chicago Tribune investigation into the mistreatment of disabled adults in Illinois group homes won the top honor in the 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the only journalism awards competition devoted exclusively to disability reporting,” the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication announced Wednesday. “In “Suffering in Secret,” Tribune reporters Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan identified more than 1,300 cases of documented harm since July 2011 in Illinois’ taxpayer-funded group homes and their day programs. . . .”
“Lack of preparation and appropriations have already put the upcoming decennial 2020 Census at risk of an inaccurate count,” Rae Ann Varona reported Oct. 10 for Asian Journal. “With less than three of years to go, advocates are making the public aware of the consequences. . . .” Varona also wrote, “Most likely to feel the repercussions are minority groups and general populations living in hard-to-count areas, say advocates. . . .”
“Joe Ruiz is leaving NPR for a more senior opportunity at CNN, Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday for her Media Moves site. “He has been hired as Senior Weekend Editor for Politics at CNN Digital, also based in Washington, D.C. . . . Ruiz has been Weekend Editor for NPR digital since 2015. . . .”
“Michelle Ye Hee Lee, a reporter for The Washington Post Fact Checker, is leaving to report for the newspaper’s political enterprise and investigations team,” Daniel Funke reported Wednesday for the Poynter Institute. Lee is also senior vice president of the Asian American Journalists Association.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate Judiciary hearing panel Wednesday (Oct. 18) that he could not promise ‘not to put reporters in jail for doing their jobs,’ “ John Eggerton reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable.
The Directors Guild of America Theater in midtown Manhattan was filled Tuesday with 500 invitation-only admirers of Mike Hodge, the New York president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). He had worked at the Washington Post and become a member of the “Metro Seven,” reporters who filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1972. Hodge died Sept. 9 at age 70 after a heart attack. Account below.
On Friday, NPR’s “Latino USA” premieres a one-hour episode about Puerto Rico as it tries to recover one month after Hurricane Maria struck the island.
“While tragic and horrific, the Las Vegas slaughter of 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Music Fest was not the deadliest mass killing in the United States,” Valerie Russ wrote Oct. 12 for the Philadelphia Daily News, quoting Ruth Cankudutawin Hopkins, member of the Dakota/Lakota Sioux Nation in South Dakota. . . . ‘We wanted to raise the issue that our story is part of the American story,’ said Greg Morrison, treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists, one of the organizations that issued the reminder. ‘When telling American stories of horrific events, include our stories and the stories of Hispanics and Native Americans. That’s when you’re telling the whole story.’ . . .”
Athena Jones, a general assignment correspondent for CNN, wrote Oct. 12 in Self under the headline, “I Thought 36 Was Way Too Early for a Mammogram. Then I Got Breast Cancer — Twice.” She told readers, “I was loathe to leave the campaign trail in the midst of the biggest story of the year, but was fortunate to have the support of my managers at work—including a boss who had himself been diagnosed with cancer twice in his 30s. They arranged for me to spend the next several months — and ultimately the rest of the year — working at the White House, filling in for a correspondent who had left to cover the candidacy of Donald Trump. . . .” She concludes, “My message to women is that it is essential to be aware of how common breast cancer is and to take steps to detect and prevent it, including considering getting tested early in consultation with their doctor.”
“The challenge is to invent a news ecosystem for Indian Country that builds on models that do not yet exist,” Mark Trahant, Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota,” wrote Monday for Trahant Reports. The National Congress of American Indians announced Oct. 4 that it is assuming control of the assets of Indian Country Today Media Network, the result of a donation to the organization by the Oneida Indian Nation. Losing money for its owners, the Oneida Indian Nation, Indian Country Today Media Network announced Sept. 4 that it was suspending publication.
“A Sierra Leonean journalist is in critical condition at the hospital after he was stabbed repeatedly in an attack by political party supporters on October 11,” the Media Foundation for West Africa reported Monday. The victim is Musa Sesay, a journalist working with The Exclusive Newspaper.
500 Celebrate Life of Mike Hodge, Journalist Turned Actor and Union Activist
The Directors Guild of America Theater in midtown Manhattan was filled Tuesday with 500 invitation-only admirers of Mike Hodge, the New York president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
They gave him the kind of sendoff that made it clear that these were show-business professionals who knew how to do it right.
It was filmed for later posting on the SAG-AFTRA website; photos from Hodge’s life, in perfect focus, were blown up and numerous; a video chronicled his life; and an eight-page, four-color booklet accompanied the hour-long “celebration of life,” filled with photographs and concluding with a passage from Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.”
All in tribute to a man, the eulogists said, who “demanded diversity,” loved his union, blazed paths, wanted everyone to live up to his or her potential and, of course, was well-loved. Those of us from Washington, D.C. — Bobbi Bowman, Tommi Childs, Junette Pinkney and myself among them — hadn’t quite realized the scope of what Mike Hodge had become after leaving D.C. in the mid-1970s.
Hodge dabbled in acting in college, but was part of the first integrated class at the School of Journalism at West Virginia University.
He had worked at the Washington Post and become a member of the “Metro Seven,” reporters who filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1972.
“I really don’t know anyone who has said anything bad about Mike,” David P. White, the SAG-AFTRA national executive director, told the crowd. And in New York and in politics, that’s saying something, White said.
“Mike was the center of more SAG-AFTRA accomplishments than I can think of,” Rebecca Damon, the executive vice president, said. “There wasn’t a person in this room that he didn’t love. He had a gift of making strangers into friends and friends into family. Maybe we can all be Hodges.”
He loved to talk about family, his colleagues said.
His younger sister, Karen Hodge Thomas, said Hodge taught her how to use the telephone, which in those days was part of a party line. She “mostly” heeded his advice not to listen when she heard other voices. What he was really teaching her was the importance of communication, she said. Hodge would read to his youngest sister, Vicki Hodge Lynch, who became a teacher.
Hodge had presence and presents, Thomas said, gifting her later with a state-of-the-art Nintendo game that her family played incessantly when they were snowed in in their Charlotte, N.C., home. When she visited him in Washington, he picked her up at the airport in a stretch limousine. “He wanted us to live life large and enjoy it, just as he was doing.”
Carol Maillard, a close friend since 1972, performed with her longstanding a capella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. She disclosed that Hodge, a baritone, was the first member of a 10-person group from which Sweet Honey was drawn. As his full name was Michael Bernard Hodge, they nicknamed him “B. Hodge.”
SAG-AFTRA colleagues portrayed Hodge as a listener and a doer.
On Oct. 9, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris unveiled the union’s first President’s Award for meritorious service and selected Hodge as the recipient.
“Hodge, who had been president of the New York branch, died on Sept. 9 at the age of 70 [after a heart attack],” Dave McNary reported for Variety. Carteris announced the award on Monday, a day after the conclusion of the union’s biennial convention at the Sheraton Universal.”
McNary quoted Carteris, “I am honored to present this award to Mike Hodge for his extraordinary service, dedication and commitment to the membership of SAG-AFTRA, and unionism in America. It only feels right that it should go to someone who worked so hard for the union.
“He will be sorely missed but we continue to feel his presence in the indelible mark he made on this union and all who came in contact with him.
“From merger to negotiations to the resources he brought to New York members, we are all better off for having shared this journey with him.”
A reception followed at the union’s extensive midtown Manhattan offices.
Lyn Dyson, like Hodge a former member of the D.C. Black Repertory Company, and now a documentarian, told me there that the story of the Metro Seven would make a good documentary.
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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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.