Premature Defense of Paterno Statue?

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Pundit Admits Opining on Paterno Statue Too Soon

File this under "it sounded good at the time" or "too-infrequent admissions by commentators that they aren't always right."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic magazine blogger, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times last week in which he argued that the statue of Joe Paterno, the disgraced Penn State football coach, should remain.

" . . . in a democracy, memorial statues are not simply comments on their subjects, but comments on their makers," Coates wrote, citing this example: "In Columbia, S.C., there stands a statue of Ben Tillman, the populist South Carolina senator who helped found Clemson University and, in his spare time, defended lynching from his august national offices."


And so, Coates argued, referring to Jerry Sandusky, the coach exposed as a child predator, " . . . Removing the Paterno statue allows Happy Valley to forget its own compliance in a national crime, to expunge its own culpability in its ruthless pursuit of glory. The statue should remain, and beneath it there should be a full explanation of Sandusky's crimes, Paterno's role and some warning to all of us who would turn a pastime into a god and elect a mortal man as its avatar."

Not so fast, argued Jessica Luther Wednesday on "This argument that the statue should stand does not take into account what it might mean to the victims of Sandusky that the grinning JoePa remains an image on campus in any capacity.

"One of the great frustrations of media coverage when it comes to the Sandusky trial has been the focus on how everyone else outside of the victims themselves will cope with what has happened. How will Penn State football move on? What will the Penn State community do to heal? Not that those aren't legitimate questions. Yet when they take precedence in any capacity over the most direct victims (some of them still children) of Sandusky's crimes, we are doing it wrong."

In a blog post on Sunday, Coates conceded the point.

"I continue to be concerned about public historiography, but that all feels really abstract when you're talking about a victim of child rape. To carry forth my original analogy, whatever my thoughts on Ben Tillman, it would take a cold heart to make academic points to the families of lynching victims from the confines of the writer's comfy offices.


"As for my part, I try to see as much as I can. But I miss things. More perspectives would have made for a better column."

As Reuters reported, the NCAA, the governing body of U.S. college sports, fined Penn State $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons Monday in an unprecedented rebuke for the school's failure to stop Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.


Jason Pugh added in the Times of Shreveport, La., "When NCAA president Mark Emmert announced sanctions against Penn State, it helped legendary Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson return to the top of the NCAA Division I all-time wins list."

Howard Bryant, Penn State should not play football (July 14)

Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Paterno family still trying to cover up (July 17)


Kristian Dyer, Yahoo Sports: City of Grambling praises decision to strip Joe Paterno of wins record

Jemele Hill, 'Worst' scandals or 'latest' scandals?

Bomani Jones, Penn State, And The NCAA's Thirst For Punishment

Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Joe Paterno Is Nothing More Than a Coward (July 13)


Monte Poole, Bay Area News Group: NCAA's strict sanctions against Penn State unfortunately don't affect those associated with Jerry Sandusky or Joe Paterno

Jason Reid, Washington Post: If Penn State doesn't shut down football program, the NCAA should (July 13)


Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: Money matters make proper punishment of Penn State impractical (July 22)

Deron Snyder, Washington Times: Justice on the way for Sandusky's abettors (July 10)


Jason Whitlock, Shocker: NCAA does the right thing 

Ifill, Woodruff to Be First All-Female Convention Team

"Late last month, PBS announced that Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff would co-anchor the network's coverage of the 2012 conventions," Alyssa Rosenberg wrote Monday for "That's not really surprising: Ifill and Woodruff are two of PBS's most distinguished anchors. But at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, the network pointed out something interesting. Ifill and Woodruff will be the first all-female team in news broadcast history to spearhead a network's convention coverage.


" . . . We don't even notice how often it is that white men provide the default perspective on any given event — which is why there is something powerful about PBS's rather routine decision. Woodruff and Ifill will inevitably bring their own experiences to anchoring the conventions, whether as women journalists, or in Ifill's case, as a woman of color. Turns out there's no reason a presidential election should need the supposedly soothing gravitas of a man to help viewers interpret information and make decisions."

Ben Armbruster, Romney Rep Tara Wall Struggles to Define Republican's Afghanistan Policy


Gene Demby, HuffPost BlackVoices: Voter ID Law Support Linked To Attitudes About African Americans, Study Finds

John Harwood, New York Times: More News Reports Show Up in Campaign Ads, to Journalists' Chagrin


Rick Horowitz, "You Didn't Build That" (video)

Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: A little color wouldn't hurt in Romney's VP


Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Objectivity and Its Opposite, 'Objectivity'

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: Harry Reid and the race card


Solange Uwimana, Media Matters for America: CNN Facilitates Romney's Deceptive Attack Ad Against Obama

Armstrong Williams blog, the Hill: Romney needs to break the tradition of political mudslinging


NAHJ Veterans Pose 9 Media Questions to Candidates

Last week, Juan Gonzalez, columnist for the Daily News in New York and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists from 2002 to 2004, said he would "probably not" make an endorsement in the NAHJ president's race, telling Journal-isms, "I'll wait till the convention to get a clearer idea of what the policies and positions of the contending candidates are before I decide on my vote.


"And by 'policies' I mean something more substantive than whether to hold a convention next year, or who should be a voting member. I want to hear their vision for the future of NAHJ and for the journalism profession."

Since then, Gilbert Bailon, NAHJ president in 1995, and Cecilia Alvear, president from 2000 to 2002, told Journal-isms they also were not ready to endorse. "I want to study the candidates and their proposals and visions very carefully," Alvear said. Bailon, now editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said, "I've been away from the board for a long while, and I don't know a number of the current players. I will be at Unity to get reconnected."


On Saturday, Gonzalez and other journalists with a history in the association — three of them members of NAHJ's Hall of Fame — sent all NAHJ candidates a list of nine questions seeking their views on such issues as media consolidation, the state of Spanish-language media, NAHJ's advocacy role, whether broadcasters should be required to place their political files online and the concept of Network Neutrality, or "open Internet."

The group included Jessica Durkin, founder, and former NAHJ board member; Felix Gutierrez, professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, associate professor of journalism, University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism, and Joseph Torres, senior external affairs director for Free Press and former deputy director of NAHJ.


"We are concerned the association is not well positioned to advocate for issues and policies that deal with the many challenging structural issues confronting journalists of color," they said. "If we do not help shape the changing structure, we fear that journalists of color will remain marginalized in whatever media platform we work."

As of Monday night, Hugo Balta, presidential candidate; Josie Tizcareno Pereira, candidate for at-large, Spanish language officer; and Federico Subervi, candidate for at-large, academic officer, had responded.


Separately, Russell Contreras, vice president/print and chief financial officer, posted his own "NAHJ Plan for Growth 2014" on the site of his slate, "HalftimeInNAHJ."

Among his items was a proposal for Unity Journalists, the alliance that now includes NAHJ, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Asssociation. The National Association of Black Journalists withdrew last year. Contreras wrote:

"The NAHJ board will decide the future of NAHJ's role in UNITY. As NAHJ president, I will call for a summit of the UNITY alliance partners and NABJ President Greg Lee to iron out a new agreement that puts the concerns of the alliance partners first, not UNITY. NAHJ will ask all UNITY board members who are no longer journalists to resign immediately. NAHJ will look toward partnering with NABJ, NAJA and AAJA on future conventions, and possible reorganizing under a new alliance with updated bylaws and goals."


While the statement does not mention NLGJA, Contreras told Journal-isms by email, "The call for a summit with UNITY alliance partners includes NLGJA. They are an alliance partner. I've also approached NLGJA and talked to some board members about partnering with us in the future. We have a good working relationship with them."

Native American Journalists Association: Announcing the candidates for the upcoming NAJA Board Election at UNITY


Proctor Back in Newspapers as Editor of N.C. Group

"Glenn Proctor, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and award-winning news media manager, has been appointed executive editor of Lake Norman Publications . . ." a group of weekly and monthly papers in the region about 25 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., the Huntersville (N.C.) Herald reported Friday.


"In his new role, Proctor will oversee the day-to-day news and digital information operations of the company's newspapers — the Herald Weekly, Mooresville Weekly and Denver Weekly and the monthly Mountain Island Monitor.

" 'I like to win,' Proctor told the staff Wednesday, July 18, during the announcement of his hiring. 'Whether that's with better writing, better layout (design of pages), better photography or better attitudes, I like to win.'


"Craig Moon, owner and CEO of Lake Norman Publications, said, 'Glenn is just the type of person our newspapers need at this point in our company's development — an award-winning, uncompromising journalist who excels at mentoring and leadership."

Moon retired in 2009 as president and publisher of USA Today. Proctor retired last year as vice president for news and executive editor of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.


Proctor wrote on Facebook, "As David Ng put it: This is like the scene from Godfather III when Al Pacino as Michael Corleone says, 'I keep trying to get out and they keep sucking me back in.' "

Writers Examine Use of N-Word, Beauty Standards

Emma Sapong, a reporter for the Buffalo News, wrote Friday about the use of the "N" word by African Americans, accompanying it with a sidebar headlined, "Why I had to write this story." The daughter of a Liberian mother, Sapong said she was not fully prepared for its casual use by African American adults when she was growing up.


Nor was she "Some 20 years later, as an adult journalist, well-versed in American life and its fixation with race." She "met the n-word's other personality" when it was hurled at her by young white men as she walked down a Buffalo street.

Meanwhile, Jessica C. Andrews, writing Thursday for the online Clutch magazine, examined the implications of comments on Facebook and Twitter about the facial features of Blue Ivy Carter, infant daughter of entertainers Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and what the remarks say about beauty standards in 2012.


"The criticism of full lips, 'nappy' hair, and wide noses in our communities is weighted," Andrews wrote. "Some people would have you believe attractiveness is subjective, but the truth is our collective view of facial features is tangled in the web of racism. In our social imagination, European features set the standard for what's beautiful, rendering broad noses and big lips ugly."

Nadra Kareem Nittle, Maynard Institute: The Media and the N-Word

NABJ "Meet-Up" at Martin Luther King Memorial

About 40 members of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Association of Black Media Workers (Baltimore), Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and Washington Association of Black Journalists gathered in a slight drizzle Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington to take a photo and celebrate King's legacy. The "meet-up" was followed by a picnic in the Maryland suburbs.


Short Takes

One of six fires set July 14 on the Lac Courte Orielles reservation in Northern Wisconsin damaged the property of Paul DeMain, CEO and production editor at and a past president of the Native American Journalists Association and Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., authorities said. DeMain was not hurt. The Sawyer County Sheriff's office and tribal police said a "person of interest," who was not identified, was apprehended on July 15.


"The Advocate, Baton Rouge's daily newspaper, plans to expand its coverage area to include New Orleans this fall when The Times-Picayune reduces print publication to three days a week. Details are still being worked out, the newspaper's president said Monday," Jaquetta White reported Monday for the Times-Picayune.

Jay Nordlinger, National Review senior editor, posted an online column that used the term "wetbacks," Raul A. Reyes wrote Friday for HuffPost LatinoVoices. "Apparently, it did not occur to Nordlinger that the word 'wetback' is deeply offensive to the Hispanic community. In fact, in a follow-up post, Nordlinger responded to colleagues and online criticism about his choice of words. Rather than apologize, however, he expressed defiance. . . . "


"News anchor Vickie Newton announced during Friday's evening news that she will be leaving the station," the St. Louis American reported Monday, referring to KMOV-TV. "Vickie will move back to her home state of Arkansas to be with her family and to pursue other interests. "Vickie joined News 4 in January 2002. Since then, she has anchored the top-rated 'News 4 at 10' weekdays with Larry Conners. Vickie has also co-anchored the station's 5pm newscast. She received the Regional Emmy Award for Best News Anchor from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2003."

"Keith Russell has been hired at WRC in Washington, DC, the NBC O&O announced today. He will anchor the midday newscast and contribute to the station's evening newscasts," Merrill Knox reported Monday for TVSpy. "The move is a transition from sports to news for Russell, who has been sports anchor at WPVI in Philadelphia since 2005. Prior to that, he spent more than five years as an anchor at ESPN."


"The Los Angeles Times has named Cindy Chang an immigration and ethnic affairs reporter, beginning in September. Chang will join the paper from The New Orleans Times-Picayune, where she had been a city reporter," reported on Monday. The Times was awarded a $1.04-million, two-year Ford Foundation grant in May to support additional reporters in the newsroom, including writers to focus on immigration and ethnic communities in Southern California. Spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan and Editor Davan Maharaj did not respond to a emailed question about whether Chang was hired as a result of the grant.

"Weekly Reader, a staple in American classrooms for a century, has some hard news for its young readers: it's shutting down," Josh Kosman and Keith J. Kelly reported Monday for the New York Post. "Chief rival Scholastic, which bought the school newspaper earlier this year, is folding it into Scholastic News and axing all but five of Weekly Reader's 60 employees in White Plains, NY, The Post has learned."


"Panamanian activists from the city of Colón are not thrilled with the description of their city offered by political consultant, Raphael Williams who is the son of Fox News contributor, Juan Williams," Bruno Gaston reported Saturday for "Speaking to Fox and Friends anchor, Brian Kilmeade on the fourth of July, Williams talked about the poverty he witnessed during the visit with his father who recounted his parents fleeing a dictatorship decades ago when he was a child."

"Jessica Serrano has been tapped to lead the editorial team at the newly launched iVillage Mujer de Hoy, a multi-platform bilingual digital magazine that will live on," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site.


In New York, "More than 500 votes in the controversial Democratic primary contest between Charlie Rangel and Adriano Espaillat were never counted for any of the candidates," Juan Gonzalez reported July 18 in his column for the Daily News in New York. "A Daily News review of official precinct-by-precinct results for the 13th Congressional District shows that electronic vote scanning machines the Board of Elections has used for the past two years failed to record any voter choice on 436 ballots."

Melissa Harris-Perry, the Tulane University professor who hosts a weekend show on MSNBC, was the subject of a profile Friday by NPR's David Folkenflik. "The legacy of President Obama is personal for Harris-Perry, whose father is black," Folkenflik reported. "She self-identifies as black, too. But her mother, who is white, was raised an observant member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — like Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney."


"Leading journalists from across Africa have teamed up with international demography experts to train journalists how to report on important demographic and health data," Chris Conte reported Friday for the International Center for Journalists. "The training project was launched at a meeting of senior journalism trainers in Entebbe, Uganda, July 11-13 in a collaboration among the International Center for Journalists, MEASURE DHS and the newly formed African Health Journalists Association (AHJA)."

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

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