Journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot to death on live TV  in Virginia Aug. 26, 2015.
WHO TV screenshot

The tragic killing of two Virginia television reporters Monday prompted commentaries reaffirming the need for gun control, bemoaning the frightening "dark side" of social media and noting the vulnerability of television news crews. But it was attention to the mental health of black journalists that prompted Jeffrey Ballou, a news editor at Al Jazeera English, the Americas, to speak up.

Ballou wrote on social media to fellow members of the National Association of Black Journalists, "During the San Diego convention [in 2010] with the help of Paula Madison and Terrie Williams I organized . . . a panel backed by the AFRICA channel on mental health challenges for journalists. This was a good follow up to a similar panel in Tampa organized in part by Terrie Williams.


"At the San Diego convention, we had mental health professional Dr Imani Walker (Paula Madison's daughter), NBC medical correspondent Dr. Bruce Hensel, CNBC commodities/energy/personal finance correspondent, Sharon Epperson, ESPN correspondent, Lisa Salters among others.

"We spoke of how journalists deal with traumatic stories, personal pitfalls, financial turmoil, respecting and getting treatment for various mental health challenges.

"I recommended afterwards that we build partnerships with mental health organizations, provide links and hotline phone numbers to the membership and look at expanding programming to the local chapters.


"[It's] likely time that we revisit those recommendations."

The Virginia gunman said he was persecuted because he was black and gay. In a 23-page suicide note faxed to ABC News, Flanagan, 41, mentioned the June massacre of  nine African Americans in Charleston, S.C. "The church shooting was the tipping point… but my anger has been building steadily… I’ve been a human powder keg for a while… just waiting to go BOOM!!!!," Flanagan wrote.

The Daily Beast put one spin on the race angle. "Vester Flanagan Threatened Colleagues, Played the Race Card for Years," according to a headline.


But others who have written about African Americans and mental illness say racial concerns cannot be dismissed so easily.

Lauren Gambino and Jon Swaine wrote Wednesday for the Guardian that Flanagan "was told by his bosses to seek medical help after colleagues at the television station where he worked with his victims repeatedly complained about him, according to memos obtained by the Guardian.

"Several flare-ups were detailed in internal messages from Dan Dennison, then the news director of WDBJ7, that were sent to Flanagan and copied to senior colleagues. Flanagan on Wednesday morning shot dead reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.


"Flanagan, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound later on Wednesday, was reprimanded for 'lashing out' at a colleague and for his 'harsh language' and 'aggressive body language' while working as a reporter.

"By then he had been told to contact employee assistance professionals at the company Health Advocate. 'This is a mandatory referral requiring your compliance,' Dennison told Flanagan on 30 July 2012. 'Failure to comply will result in termination of employment.'

"On Christmas Eve that year, Dennison emailed colleagues to say he had just warned Flanagan that he had one final chance to save his job. 'I'm not entirely sure where his head is at,' said Dennison. Flanagan was fired three months later.


"As he sued the station over his dismissal, Flanagan blamed everyone but himself. 'My entire life was disrupted after moving clear across the country for a job only to have my dream turn into a nightmare,' he said, in a letter to a judge. . . ."

The Guardian reporters also wrote, "As police escorted him out of the newsroom, he told an officer, according to the memo: 'You know what they did? They had a watermelon back there for a week and basically called me a n——- [sic].'

"The memos were filed to a court in Roanoke, Virginia, as part of a civil lawsuit filed by Flanagan against the station in March 2014. He alleged racial and sexual discrimination, which the station denied. The case was dismissed later that year. . . ."


The story of the journalist killings led all three broadcast networks' evening news programs. On ABC's "World News Tonight," reporter Pierre Thomas described Flanagan as "a man slowly descending toward madness." Anchor George Stephanopoulos agreed. "So much sickness there," he told viewers.

Another broadcaster referred to Flanagan as a "serial EEOC complainer."

Ralph Berrier Jr. reported for the Roanoke (Va.) Times, "In 2000, Flanagan filed a discrimination lawsuit against a Tallahassee television station where he worked, according to online court records.


"The court records have been purged, and details of the case's outcome were unclear.

"At the time the lawsuit was filed, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that Flanagan had worked for WTWC-TV, the area's NBC affiliate, for about a year before claiming he was fired after complaining about racist comments made by station officials. Flanagan claimed in the lawsuit that said he and another black employee were referred to as 'monkeys' and that a supervisor once told him that 'blacks are lazy and do not take advantage of free money' for scholarships and economic opportunities, the newspaper reported. . . ."

Berrier also wrote, "Jeff Marks, WDBJ's president and general manager, said during live comments on Channel 7 at noon that the former employee 'quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with' after he was hired in April 2012. . . ."


In 2004, John Head, a veteran of USA Today and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote about his struggle with depression. In "Standing in the Shadows: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men," he told readers, "This book is a plea for black men with depression to walk out of the shadows, to stop suffering in silence, and a plea for our people to remove the stigma attached to mental illness."

Head told Journal-isms six years later that "people can be affected in ways that those who don't experience it don't understand. I would not be surprised if there were many white reporters and reporters from other races suffering," he said, but minority reporters face added pressures in the newsroom to prove themselves "in ways that might not be obvious to other reporters."

This is not to automatically tie mental illness and violence. The Harvard Mental Health Letter reported in 2011, "Public opinion surveys suggest that many people think mental illness and violence go hand in hand. A 2006 national survey found, for example, that 60% of Americans thought that people with schizophrenia were likely to act violently toward someone else, while 32% thought that people with major depression were likely to do so.


"In fact, research suggests that this public perception does not reflect reality. Most individuals with psychiatric disorders are not violent. Although a subset of people with psychiatric disorders commit assaults and violent crimes, findings have been inconsistent about how much mental illness contributes to this behavior and how much substance abuse and other factors do. . . ."

Amy L. Alexander, a writer and co-author with Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint of "Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans," published in 2001, messaged Journal-isms about Flanagan Wednesday. "We need more information about Vester, for certain," she said. "I do not at all make excuses for his act, even if it emerges that he did have a chemical imbalance or something."

However, Alexander also said, "His former co-workers, all white, are using language that casts him as having been hypersensitive about race or the potential for racial discrimination in the workplace.


"Those of us who are Journos of color and/or women who have worked in newsrooms in small or mid-sized markets, especially, are very aware of how quickly and thoroughly the marginalization (and frankly DEMONIZATION) can happen when the dominant group, aka majority white staff and leadership, is not genuinely invested in your success. That said…I WANT MORE INFORMATION ON THIS FRONT but I also suspect that Vester had 'other issues' as well. In total, I'm really sad and dispirited by the murders. Horrible, anyway you slice it."

. . . A Live Shot Is an "Exercise in Vulnerability"

"Alison Parker and Adam Ward had the most seemingly simple and stress-free of assignments: a live interview with a local Chamber of Commerce representative," Mark Joyella wrote Wednesday "No crowds, no police, just a conversation about growing the local economy, with a pretty sunrise in the background.


"I've worked in newsrooms where Kevlar vests were available — ready to be handed out to reporters and photographers who might be headed into dangerous assignments. But this? Who could have expected this assignment would leave the two journalists shot dead and their interviewee hospitalized, all at the hands of a former colleague?

"Over the past 20 years that I worked as a local TV reporter — most notably in the years after 9/11 — the lobbies of television stations have become hardened with secure doors, bulletproof glass at reception and complicated procedures for building access.

"The fear, of course, was that a television station broadcasting live could become an attractive target for a terrorist or other armed assailant, so such security upgrades made sense.


"But while the studio, and the anchors, have been surrounded by layers of security, the reporters in the field remain unprotected — and arguably, they are more vulnerable than ever.

"We promote liveshots heavily ahead of newscasts, and often have reporters in the same live location from newscast to newscast. It's easy to determine where a reporter — and his or her live camera — are located, often for hours at a time.

"The liveshot is an exercise in vulnerability. I asked journalists on Twitter today about their perspectives on what it's like to report live on location, and many were quick to share their stories of feeling exposed. . . ."


Duncan Adams, Roanoke (Va.) Times: Crisis counselor emphasizes fostering resilience in the wake of tragedy

Broadcasting & Cable: A History of Violence Caught on News Cameras

Roy Peter Clark, Poynter Institute: The Virginia shooting and the dark side of the social media age


Daily Beast: Virginia Cops Threatened Journalists (video)

Editorial, Hartford Courant: When Will We Say 'Enough' To Gun Slaughter? (accessible via search engine)

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: WDBJ Shootings Prompt Clinton to Call for Tougher Gun Laws


John Eggerton, Multichannel News: Media Industry Reacts to Roanoke Journalist Killings

Josh Feldman, Mediaite: WDBJ Station Manager: Shooting Suspect Didn’t Take Firing Well, We Had to Call the Cops (video)

Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: Before today, 8 journalists have been murdered while on assignment, at work or for their work in the U.S. since 1992


Andrew Husband, Mediaite: Who Is WDBJ Shooting Suspect Vester Flanagan, a.k.a Bryce Williams?

National Association of Black Journalists: Statement of Condolence From NABJ on Fatal On-Air Shooting Of Va. Reporter, Cameraman

National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Condolence on Fatal On-Air Shooting Of Va. Reporter, Photojournalist


Kierran Petersen, "The World," Public Radio International: Virginia police order BBC journalists to delete footage of suspected shooter's crash

Dan Rather, Mashable: Journalists are failing us on gun violence

Dexter Thomas, Los Angeles Times: Are we afraid to watch white people dying?

Pierre Thomas, Jack Cloherty, Jack Date and Mike Levine, ABC News: After Shooting, Alleged Gunman Details Grievances in 'Suicide Notes'


Al Tompkins, Poynter Institute: Should you use the video and the fax from the WDBJ shooting? That depends

WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Va.: Two WDBJ7 employees shot and killed; suspected shooter kills himself

Sharpton Losing Daily MSNBC Show, Moving to Sundays

"Al Sharpton is losing his daily show on MSNBC, with the network saying he'll be downshifted to the weekend," the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. "The move is one among many changes at the network as it moves away from commentary and towards breaking news coverage.


"Sharpton's 'Politics Nation' has aired at 6 p.m. EDT on weeknights for the past four years at the ratings-challenged news network.

"MSNBC is in the midst of wholesale changes under NBC News boss Andrew Lack, deemphasizing its left-leaning programming during the daytime hours in favor of more straight news shows. . . .

"MSNBC said Wednesday that starting Oct. 4, Sharpton's 'Politics Nation' will air at 8 a.m. Sundays. His daily show ends Sept. 4. . . ."


"I’m very happy," Sharpton said Wednesday, David Hinckley reported for the Daily News in New York. "First, I can reach a wider audience of people who don't get home by 6 at night. Second, I can now get the A-list guests and newsmakers I want. And third, a Sunday morning host is what I always wanted to be.

" 'I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit. I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.' "

Sharpton's MSNBC show began in 2011, following complaints from the NAACP that there were then "no African American hosts or anchors on any national news show, cable or broadcast network, from the hours of 5PM-11PM."


In addition, black journalists had been continually criticizing the networks for their failure to place journalists of color in these key prime-time slots. Sharpton's credentials as an activist, not a journalist, miffed some, and Sharpton canceled an appearance before the National Association of Black Journalists convention in response to expressions of such concerns, reported in this column.

Others saw potential conflicts of interest. The Associated Press reported Wednesday, "Sharpton's show occasionally put MSNBC in awkward positions, since he continued his political activism while doing some stories where there was racial controversy while remaining host of a news program."

Sharpton's dual role brought attention to causes that might otherwise have been underreported, such as cases of police violence. But that was of little consequence to his detractors, some of whom mocked Sharpton's skills as a broadcaster, creating videos [video] making the point.


While MSNBC President Phil Griffin stood behind Sharpton, the show averaged only 500,000 to 600,000 viewers in recent weeks, trailing Fox News and CNN in the key age demographic of 25-54, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"There's no word on what MSNBC has planned for the 6 p.m. slot, but Chuck Todd will soon move in at 5 p.m.," Chris Ariens reported for TVNewser.

Dissatisfaction with representation of journalists of color on cable remains.

Today, Don Lemon hosts a prime-time show on CNN, but while Lemon is a black journalist, his gaffes and questionable choices have been criticized by journalists of all races. In June, Bob Butler, then NABJ president, rebuked Lemon over a stunt in which Lemon held up the ultimate racial slur and asked viewers whether they found it offensive.


CNN President Jeff Zucker has stood behind Lemon. Zucker told in GQ in April. "Let me put it this way. There's certainly a lot of interest in Don Lemon, and that's a good thing for Don and for CNN. You know, Don is a little bit of a lightning rod. Frankly, we needed a little bit of lightning. . . . "

Spanish-Language Media Vent Rage at Trump

"The adversarial relationship between Mr. [Donald] Trump and the Spanish-language news media, which has simmered publicly since he announced his candidacy in June, boiled over on Tuesday at a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa, when the candidate erupted at Jorge Ramos, the main news anchor at Univision and Fusion, when he tried to ask a question without being called on," Ashley Parker reported Wednesday for the New York Times.Spanish-Language Media Vent Rage at Trump


"Mr. Trump signaled to one of his security guards, who physically removed Mr. Ramos from the event.

" 'Don't touch me, sir. Don't touch me,' Mr. Ramos said, as he was marched out of the room. 'I have the right to ask a question.'

"Mr. Ramos was eventually allowed to return. But for the Spanish-language press, which has grown in size and influence in politics, the tense exchange was a highly public flexing of muscle against a candidate who many outlets no longer pretend to cover objectively: They are offended by Mr. Trump's words and tactics — and they are showing it.


"Some, including Mr. Ramos, said that their networks have covered Mr. Trump more aggressively than their mainstream counterparts, which until recently, at least, largely dismissed Mr. Trump as a summer amusement — less a serious candidate than a ratings bonanza in the form of a bombastic reality television star.

"Mr. Ramos, who earlier this month delivered a searing indictment of Mr. Trump, calling him, 'the loudest voice of intolerance, hatred and division in the United States,' attributed the difference in approach to how directly the issue of immigration affects Latino Americans.

" 'This is personal, and that's the big difference between Spanish-language and mainstream media, because he' talking about our parents, our friends, our kids and our babies,' Mr. Ramos said in a telephone interview. . . .' "


After the dust-up with Mr. Ramos on Tuesday night, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement condemning Mr. Trump.

Defense of Ramos was not unanimous. On Facebook, Ruben Navarrette Jr., a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, quoted Ramos as saying, "If this happened to me, imagine what happens to those who are not citizens, not high profile journo…"

Navarrette then wrote, "Wow! What an incredibly arrogant thing to say, even for a chilango like Ramos! This little-sized man has a gigantic ego (just as big as Donald Trump's) and he clearly doesn't think the rules of polite society and journalist etiquette apply to him. Who cares if he was interrupting another reporter, or hadn't been called on? He has rights! At least he does in this country, as opposed to the one he fled. When Jorge speaks, he speaks for all of Latin America. So you had better listen up, gringo. When he looks in the mirror, it's obvious he sees a young Ricardo Montalban looking back.


"Why wouldn't Ramos just say what he was really thinking: 'If they can do this to Mexican royalty, imagine how they treat la plebe. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my manicure.' . . ."

Navarrette told Journal-isms he was writing a column on Ramos' clash with Trump and planned to appear on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: How Donald Trump makes America grate

Kelly Chen, Huffington Post: CNN Blows Off Anderson Cooper's Katrina Anniversary Special For Donald Trump


Wayne Dawkins, LinkedIn: Imagine if journalists Trumped the bully?

Nick Fernandez, Media Matters for America: Conservative Media Cheer Donald Trump For Ejecting Univision's Jorge Ramos From Press Conference

Trip Gabriel, New York Times: At Donald Trump Event, Jorge Ramos of Univision Is Snubbed, Ejected and Debated


Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept: Jorge Ramos Commits Journalism, Gets Immediately Attacked by Journalists

Kasie Hunt, "Morning Joe," MSNBC: Trump clashes with reporter: who was wrong? (video)

Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register: Trump boots reporter, vows to hold grudges


Latino Rebels: Trump Supporter to Ramos: "Get Out of My Country!"(VIDEO)

Bryan Logan, Business Insider: Univision's CEO just ripped into Donald Trump

Simon Maloy, Trump v. Ramos in perspective: What really matters in The Donald's latest media feud 


Damon Marx, FishbowlDC: Jorge Ramos on Trump's Immigration Plan: 'This Is Personal'

Joe Peyronnin, Huffington Post: Trump vs. Ramos

Jessica Torres, Media Matters for America: Trump Has Now Shut Down Two Of The Most Well-Respected Hispanic Journalists At His Press Conferences


Asian Men, Black Women Underrepresented in Magazines

"Although publications in recent years have been paying closer attention to diversity, gender stereotypes related to race are still apparent in the pages of U.S. magazines, according to a recent interdisciplinary study conducted by William & Mary faculty and student researchers," Erin Zagursky wrote Wednesday for, which describes itself as a web-based science, research and technology news service.

"Led by Professors Joanna Schug and Monika Gosin, the researchers examined photos in six popular, American magazines and found that Asian men and black women were underrepresented, potentially due to stereotypes that associate femininity with Asian people and masculinity with black people. 


"The study is the first to show that not only are black women rendered "invisible" in media depictions, but Asian men are, too, said Schug, an assistant professor of psychology. . . ."

Lynn Elber, Associated Press: Female directors make work gains; minorities lag

Canister-Thrower in Iconic Ferguson Photo Is Charged

"The St. Louis County counselor has filed charges against Edward Crawford, who was featured in an iconic Post-Dispatch photo hurling a tear gas container back toward police during the Ferguson protests last year," Kim Bell reported Wednesday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


"Crawford, 26, was cited for violating two county ordinances: interfering with a police officer and assault. . . ."

Bell also wrote, " 'I didn't throw a burning can back at police,' Crawford said. 'I threw it out of the way of children.' . . ."

Another man, featured in a New York Times photograph, was cited this month for interfering with a police officer on Aug. 11, 2014. Rashaad Davis' court date is Oct. 5.


Bell also wrote, "Among those already cited for county ordinance violations are reporters for the The Washington Post, Huffington Post and CTV News, a Canadian broadcast network. . . ."

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: When the 'black gunmen' you rant about turn out to be white

Editorial, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Ralkina Jones' death in Cleveland Heights jail raises questions


Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: New civil rights movement finds its political voice

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Charles F. Coleman Jr., Janaye Ingram, Deray McKesson, Dion Rabouin, Orlando Watson, "PBS NewsHour": WATCH LIVE: Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts ‘Black Millennials: They Rock, but Can They Rule?’ (Aug. 20)

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: We've ignored a reason for homicides of blacks: Look at the enemy within.


Carla Murphy, Talking Points Memo: Parenting While Black: Toya Graham on Violence, Fear and Freddie Gray (Aug. 11)

NPR "Code Switch" staff: Reporting Post-Ferguson: A Journey To 'Very Dark Places'

Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times: Without Release of Video, Police Shooting of White Driver Gets Less Publicity (Aug. 16)


Survey Finds Racial Divide on Recovery From Katrina

"This week marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall in New Orleans," Abby Phillip reported Sunday for the Washington Post. "By all accounts, the city has made enormous strides since the 2005 calamity.

"But how much residents think that's true depends largely on their race.

"A new Louisiana State University survey found that black and white people in New Orleans had starkly different assessments of their community's strides since the storm.


"Nearly 80 percent of white residents of New Orleans say that Louisiana has 'mostly recovered' since the storm, according to the survey from LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication's Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

"But nearly 60 percent of black people say the opposite — that the state has 'mostly not recovered' in their view.

"It isn't just that white residents think things are better now than the day after the flood waters receded. Most white residents also believe the city is better than it was before the storm arrived. Most black residents, on the other hand, think the opposite.


"The responses reflect a truth about New Orleans that became impossible for the rest of the country to ignore once the levees broke: The city's black residents were disproportionately affected by flooding. The African American population in New Orleans lived largely in the city's low-lying eastern areas, which suffered massive flooding.

"Blacks accounted for 73 percent of the people displaced by the storm in New Orleans. And more than one-third of the black people in New Orleans displaced by Katrina were estimated to have been poor, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. (About 14 percent of the city’s non-black population displaced by the storm was poor.)

"This survey and others — including one from the Kaiser Family Foundation — indicate that the city's recovery is viewed as being largely lopsided along racial lines. . . ."


The Atlantic: Story of a Family: The Baquets (video)

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: One of the first to open a post-Katrina business, one of the last to rebuild home

Paul Greeley, TVNewsCheck: Al Jazeera America In New Orleans For Katrina Specials


Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media: Katrina's Message on America's Poor Still Unheard 10 Years Later

Jesse Washington, the Undefeated: Black hope and faith after Hurricane Katrina

Answering Critics, Dr. Dre Says Misogyny Is Behind Him

"For Dr. Dre, this summer was meant to be a victory lap in a successful career. 'Straight Outta Compton,' a biopic about his hip-hop group, N.W.A., topped the box office last week with a $56.1 million opening," Joe Coscarelli reported Friday for the New York Times.


" 'Compton,' his first album in 16 years, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard chart. Last year, the music company that Dr. Dre helped establish, Beats, was sold to Apple for $3 billion, making him the self-proclaimed 'first billionaire in hip-hop.'

"But critics charge that the movie, which was co-produced by Dr. Dre, glosses over N.W.A.'s record of misogyny and ignores Dr. Dre's history of physically abusing women. In a sign that the uproar was threatening not only his reputation but also his business dealings, Dr. Dre, who has previously spoken dismissively or vaguely about the decades-old episodes, confronted them on Friday in a statement to The New York Times. While he did not address each allegation individually, he said:

" 'Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I've been married for 19 years and every day I'm working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again.' . . ."


Alejandro Danois, the Shadow League: The Brilliance of N.W.A. (Aug. 18)

Ricardo A. Hazell, the Shadow League: Eye on Film: Straight Outta Compton (Aug. 15)

Jenn M. Jackson, The Root: As a Woman, I Can't Love Madea and Hate Straight Outta Compton


Jamilah Lemieux, Washington Post: White critics and rap fans love 'Straight Outta Compton,' but they're missing half the story

Don Lemon, Straight Outta Compton, Straight Outta Violence (Aug. 18)

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Film depicts N.W.A.'s impact, partially

Yolanda Sangweni, Essence: Eazy-E's Daughter, E.B. Wright, Opens Up About Her Late Father's Legacy in 'Straight Outta Compton'


Paul Scott, Straight Outta Con Man: Exposin' the Truth About NWA (Aug. 4)

Damon Young, Why I Have No Interest In Seeing Straight Outta Compton (Aug. 19)

Press in Indian Country Operates Under Different Rules

"Joe Martin had never worked for a newspaper or owned a handgun when he took the reins of the tribally owned Cherokee One Feather in 1995," Holly Kays reported Wednesday for the Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville, N.C.


"But when the first changed, so did the second. Then a 26-year-old whose only job experience since graduation from college was as a cage cashier at the casino, Martin found himself fast-tracked to a steep, steep learning curve.

" 'I've gotten death threats here and there,' he said. 'I don't know how many times I've had somebody say they were going to go to the chief or council and make sure that I got fired.'

"Eventually, he did get fired. Martin hasn't worked for The One Feather since 2007. . . ."


Kays also wrote, "While Cherokee is geographically located in North Carolina, it's not actually part of the state. Like all other federally recognized Native American tribes, The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a sovereign nation. That means that it makes and enforces its own laws, so the fact that the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees all citizens the right to a free press and free speech doesn't have any bearing on how things work on the Qualla Boundary. . . ."

The Qualla Boundary is the band's 100-square-mile sovereign nation and encompasses parts of five Western North Carolina counties.

Furthermore, Kays explained later in the piece, "Indian tribes are different from other newspaper coverage areas in that they're not just another county, another town, separated from the neighbors by arbitrarily drawn political lines.


"Indian tribes are their own nations, pockets of culture thousands of years old. On the Qualla Boundary, for example, everybody who's enrolled traces ancestry back to someone whose name is on the 1924 Baker Roll, a census of the Eastern Band of Cherokee people alive at the time. Many enrolled members are related to each other through some tie of marriage or birth from the last 100 years — it's a community of blood, as well as geography.

"That can further complicate things when it comes to reporting the news.

" 'Me and my brother grew up and we beat each other up every single day, but don't you dare let someone else jump on him,' said Councilmember Brandon Jones by way of explaining the dynamic.


" 'We can fuss and fight and not get along, but then when something happens and there's an outside opinion versus the Eastern Band, we all come together.'

"On the one hand, people deserve to know what their government is up to. But would you want to publish your family secrets for anyone to read? For many in Cherokee, that's a hangup when it comes to endorsing a free press — does giving media free rein equate to exposing what is the equivalent of family business for public consumption? . . ."

Steve Russell, Indian Country Today Media Network: Where Is Our MLK for Disenrollment?


Short Takes

"In another controversial move in a career filled with controversy, Curt Schilling, the former pitcher and ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball analyst, paid the price for posting a tweet Tuesday equating Muslims with Adolf Hitler," Teri Thompson and Andy Martino reported Tuesday for the Daily News in New York. "ESPN removed Schilling from its Little League broadcast team following the tweet, saying in a statement it had removed the former hurler and implied that further action could be taken 'pending further consideration' . . ." Thompson and Martino also wrote, "Schilling tweeted a photo of Hitler, with the text: 'It is said that only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists . . . In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How'd that go?' . . ." 

Lori Lei Matsukawa, anchor at KING-TV in Seattle, is among recipients of the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation for 2015 for her contributions to deepening relations between the United States and Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced on Aug. 18. "Matsukawa has been a prominent figure among Japanese Americans in the region through her dedicated service with many community organizations," the ministry said.


"When Wilfredo Oscorima, the governor of the southern Peruvian state of Ayacucho, was sentenced in June to five years in prison for official misconduct, independent daily La Calle viewed the ruling as vindication for its vigorous investigations into his administration," John Otis reported Wednesday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "But La Calle has paid a steep price for its critical posture, its owner and editor Esther Valenzuela said. State government advertisements were pulled from the newspaper. Its reporters and editors were smeared as terrorists on social media and hit with criminal defamation complaints filed by the politicians they wrote about. Now Valenzuela has decided to shut down the 22-year-old newspaper. . . ."

Inside Vogue's September issue, cover model Beyoncé says not a word, Matthew Schneier reported Aug. 19 for the New York Times. "This is unusual for Vogue. A review of five years' worth of cover articles indicates that she is the only celebrity cover star not to submit to some type of interview (and on the occasion of her two previous Vogue covers, in 2009 and in 2013, she did). . . . At some imperceptible point around 2013 to 2014, she appears to have stopped giving face-to-face interviews. A member of her team told a reporter in May that despite numerous appearances, she had not answered a direct question in more than a year. . . ."

"All journalists need be activists, at least part of the time," Dan Gillmor, who teaches digital media literacy at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, wrote Friday for Editor & Publisher. "Even those journalists who worship at the altar of objectivity should recognize that on at least some issues, they cannot possibly be objective or neutral. Or at least, they should not be. On some issues we have to take stands, even though those stands may put us at policy odds with the people and institutions we cover. . . ." Gillmor added, "We need to be advocates for freedom of expression in general, freedom to associate, freedom to collaborate, freedom to innovate. They're not only at the core of whether we can do our journalism; they're at the heart of liberty itself. . . ."


"CNN continues to pay tribute to the remarkable pool of talent assembled in the offices of Politico, the Rosslyn-based news outlet that launched in 2007," Erik Wemple reported Tuesday for the Washington Post. "Today the 24-7 cable net announced the hiring of Manu Raju, Politico's senior congressional reporter, to the position of senior political reporter. . . ."

Pat Banks, 61, of Philadelphia, who was an assistant systems editor and before that an editorial assistant for The Inquirer, died of lung cancer Monday, Aug. 24, at Einstein Medical Center," Bonnie L. Cook reported Wednesday for the Philadelphia Inquirer. ". . . Ms. Banks worked on the city desk in the 1980s at the North Broad Street building. She answered the phones at a time when there were lights flashing on multiple incoming calls and it was necessary to yell across the newsroom to alert the call's recipient. . . ."