Clifford L. Alexander Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson’s deputy special counsel and civil rights adviser
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Clifford Alexander Says Film Gets One Thing Wrong

Clifford L. Alexander Jr. says nobody from the news media has asked him, but that anyone who says that President Lyndon B. Johnson was at odds with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders over the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act is wrong.

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The issue has arisen because of a portrayal in the buzzworthy film "Selma," which debuted in limited release on Christmas Day.

"On the big screen, it comes off as a scene of high drama: an icon of the civil rights movement upbraiding a hesitant president in the Oval Office, as a portrait of George Washington bears mute witness," Karen Tumulty wrote Wednesday in the Washington Post.

" 'Mr. President, in the South, there have been thousands of racially motivated murders,' Martin Luther King Jr. says, imploring Lyndon B. Johnson to put his weight behind ensuring voting rights for black Americans. 'We need your help!' "

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"To which he gets a pat on the shoulder. 'Dr. King, this thing's just going to have to wait,' Johnson says.

"In real life, that December 1964 meeting happened — but not that way, according to one who was there.

" 'It was not very tense at all. We were very much welcomed by President Johnson,' recalled former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, who attended the session as a young lieutenant to King. 'He and Martin never had that kind of confrontation.' . . ."

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Alexander agrees and notes that Young notwithstanding, none of the stories about the controversy mentions the two black people who worked with Johnson: himself and Louis E. Martin, the "godfather of black politics" who acted as the unnoticed liaison between African Americans and U.S. presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, according to one biography. Martin, who died in 1997, was deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "We were Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside," Alexander said.

Alexander was deputy special counsel to the president, a civil rights adviser. "The only African American, on the staff, at the time," Alexander told CBS News in July on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

In the dispute over Johnson's portrayal in the film, "nobody has asked the black person" who was working with Johnson in the White House, Alexander told Journal-isms by telephone on Thursday. Alexander is credited with helping to shepherd the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through Congress.

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"Johnson wanted the pressure from the outside" to back his civil rights initiative, one that was important to Johnson because he knew it would be historic. "To make it appear that Johnson was some evil-minded genius who was against this is just plain wrongheaded," Alexander said, though he said he has not seen the movie.

Contrary to the popular narrative, King was not the only civil rights leader Johnson dealt with. At the time, the leadership was called the "Big Six" and included John R. Lewis, director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC, now a congressman from Georgia; Whitney Young, executive director of the National Urban League; black labor leader A. Philip Randolph; James L. Farmer Jr., national director of the Congress of Racial Equality; Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP; and King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, known as SCLC. At times, the group included Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women, and Bayard Rustin, who worked with Randolph and is best known as planner of the 1963 March on Washington.

Alexander said he was in the room when many of the White House conversations took place on civil rights initiatives, including discussions of the appointment of African Americans Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court and Andrew F. Brimmer to Federal Reserve Board. Johnson said he loved the idea of having bankers needing to go to Brimmer to get what they wanted, Alexander said, and joked that he liked Marshall because he was from humble roots like himself, unlike Alexander, who went to Harvard.

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Joseph A. Califano Jr., who was Johnson's top assistant for domestic affairs from 1965 to 1969 and was a top aide to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at the time of the Civil Rights Act, challenged the movie's account in a Dec. 26 op-ed in the Washington Post.

"In fact, Selma was LBJ's idea, he considered the Voting Rights Act his greatest legislative achievement, he viewed King as an essential partner in getting it enacted — and he didn't use the FBI to disparage him," Califano wrote.

He also wrote, "Contrary to the portrait painted by 'Selma,' Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. were partners in this effort. Johnson was enthusiastic about voting rights and the president urged King to find a place like Selma and lead a major demonstration. That's three strikes for 'Selma.' The movie should be ruled out this Christmas and during the ensuing awards season." Alexander said he did not know whether Selma was Johnson's idea, but doubted it.

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The film's director, Ava DuVernay, the rare African American female director of a major film, has responded that the "notion that Selma was LBJ's idea is jaw dropping . . . . She also tweeted the link to a New Yorker story that further detailed Johnson's role, and added that people should investigate major historical moments themselves," Emily Yahr wrote Monday in the Post.

Alexander, 81, went on to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was the first African American secretary of the Army, among other positions held over a long career.

Journal-isms asked Alexander what he thought about the argument that President Obama cannot match Johnson's success with Congress because the times have changed and no one could do today what Johnson did.

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He rejected the comparison, saying Obama is himself, not Johnson, Ronald Reagan or any other president. Alexander said he had not been asked for advice by Obama, though he has known him for years and that the president and Alexander's daughter Elizabeth taught together at the University of Chicago. Alexander and his wife, Adele, did have dinner with the Obamas and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett at Camp David on Feb. 24.

"The appropriate criticism" is that Obama did not exercise his power fast enough, Alexander said. "You're getting the true Barack Obama" now, he said. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's first chief of staff, had a negative reputation on Capitol Hill, hampering progress. Moreover, the Senate has in Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky someone who declared that his priority was to defeat the president, a posture Johnson did not have to contend with.

Box Office Mojo: Box office grosses

Lauren Victoria Burke, National Newspaper Publishers Association: 'Selma' is More than a Movie

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Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: When you were at the movies this year, reality wasn't too far away

Lyndon B. Johnson: "And We Shall Overcome": President Lyndon B. Johnson's Special Message to Congress

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: 'Selma': A film worth arguing about

Jeff John Roberts, gigaom.com: Selma soars despite MLK estate's copyright clutches

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Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Can't wait for 'Selma,' a film on true-life drama

Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times: Depiction of Lyndon B. Johnson in 'Selma' Raises Hackles

Karen Tumulty, Washington Post:  'Selma' sets off a controversy amid Oscar buzz

Mark K. Updegrove, Politico Magazine: What 'Selma' Gets Wrong (Dec. 22)

Egypt Opens Door for Deportation of Jailed Journalists

"Three al-Jazeera English journalists jailed in Egypt have been sent for retrial after a New Year's Day appeal hearing in Cairo, dashing their families' hopes of a release on bail, but opening the door for two of the trio to be deported," Patrick Kingsley reported Thursday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.

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"After more than a year in jail, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed now face several further months behind bars, with no date for a new hearing set. Fahmy and Greste could still be deported under the terms of a recent presidential decree that allows foreign nationals to serve sentences in their home countries, but President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's office did not respond to a request for comment about his intentions."

The three were convicted in June 2014 of aiding terrorists, belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, spreading false information, and undermining Egyptian national security.

Kingsley also wrote, "Outside Egypt, observers saw the case as a politicised attack on freedom of expression that ignored due process, and formed just one part of a rampant crackdown on all forms of opposition in Egypt. But within the country, where the coverage of AJE's Arabic sister channels has strongly favoured the Brotherhood, many government supporters saw the journalists as a legitimate target. . . ."

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2 Fired Over Footage Edited to Say "Kill a Cop"

"The reporter and the photographer responsible for misquoting Tyrone West's sister, Tawanda Jones, at a protest rally in Washington, D.C., reporting she and others chanted 'kill a cop,' have been let go by Fox 45, according to two sources confirming a report that first appeared on the site FTVLive.com," Brandon Weigel reported Wednesday for the Baltimore City Paper.

"YouTube footage later showed Jones and others were chanting 'We won't stop/ We can't stop/ Till killer cops/ Are in cell blocks.' The station invited Jones on the air to offer an apology — albeit a botched one.

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"But it seems there has been further fallout, as reporter Melinda Roeder and cameraman Greg McNair have been released, and news director Mike Tomko and a producer who expressed his discomfort with the story have been suspended one and two days, respectively.

"An insider told FTVLive Tomko was the one who pushed doing the story. 'It was found by him, assigned by him and ultimately proofed by him,' the source said.

"Now a person familiar with the situation tells City Paper the news director is losing control of the newsroom, with photographers threatening to stage a 'sick out.'

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" 'The reporters and photogs believe Tomko sacrificed two little people to save himself,' the source says. . . ."

David Zurawick added in the Baltimore Sun, "The station came under heavy fire nationally for the edit. And while apologies were issued, the station never explained how it happened. . . ."

N.Y. Times Tells Police That Refusing to Work Violates Oath

"Many members of the New York Police Department are furious at Mayor Bill de Blasio and, by extension, the city that elected him," the New York Times editorialized on Tuesday. "They have expressed this anger with a solidarity tantrum, repeatedly turning their backs to show their collective contempt. But now they seem to have taken their bitterness to a new and dangerous level — by walking off the job."

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The police are promoting "a false narrative," the Times wrote. "Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court. He hired a proven reformer, [Police Commissioner William] Bratton, who had achieved with the Los Angeles Police Department what needs doing in New York. The furor that has gripped the city since the [Eric] Garner killing has been a complicated mess. But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:

"1. Don't violate the Constitution.

"2. Don't kill unarmed people.

"To that we can add:

"3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around.

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"Mr. de Blasio has a responsibility to lead the city out of this impasse, and to his credit has avoided inflaming the situation with hasty or hostile words. But it's the Police Department that needs to police itself. Rank-and-file officers deserve a department they can be proud of, not the insular, defiant, toxically politicized constituency that Mr. Lynch seems to want to lead."

Andrew Desiderio wrote Wednesday for Mediaite that the Times "is pushing back against Fox Business Network for a report they ran on Wednesday morning claiming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his top aides urged the mayor's political allies to take to the media and 'blast the police officers' who turned their backs to de Blasio on two separate occasions. The Times, according to correspondent David Asman, is the main culprit because they ran editorials this week that 'kowtowed' to the mayor's request. . . ."

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Look Back to Move Forward

Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic: Blue Lives Matter (Dec. 22)

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Nashville police chief eloquently responds to resident upset at his tolerance for protests

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Brian Flood, TVNewser: NYPD Boss Regrets Sitting with Al Sharpton

Matt Ford, the Atlantic: The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests

John Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: Why won't we stop killing each other? (Dec. 19)

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Juan Gonzalez, Daily News, New York: Bill de Blasio does the unthinkable: He keeps his promises (Dec. 19)

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: USA Today Wants You to Think Killings of Police Are on the Rise (Dec. 22)

Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. (Dec. 22)

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Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Ferguson II? Don't jump to conclusions (Dec. 24) 

Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Death at the hands of the police

Don Lemon, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Don Lemon Says The Division Between NYPD & Mayor de Blasio Will Only Get Worse In 2015 (Dec. 23)

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Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: Cops & pols, fathers & sons (Dec. 23)

Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: Bill de Blasio's steep learning curve

Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Innocent Blacks and White Cops — All Lives Are Valuable

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Standing up for the cops

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Response to officers' deaths is misguided (Dec. 23)

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Support police, fight bad policing (Dec. 23)

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: A movement instead of a moment (Dec. 17)

John Ridley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Officer's poor judgment led to tragic conclusion

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Steve Russell, Indian Country Today Media Network: 'Hands Up. Don't Shoot' Isn't Anti-Cops — It's Anti-Bad Cops (Dec. 24)

Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Only good can come from citizens seeing police officers as people

Jay Smooth, Racialicious: Video: Jay Smooth on the Importance of Protesting Against Police Violence (Dec. 26)

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David Uberti, Columbia Journalism Review: How New York protects police records from public view (Dec. 23)

DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: Silence of NYC's good cops widens divide

Roland Martin Show Airs "Creepy" Cosby Interview

"The Bill Cosby train wreck interview series just made another stop — er, crash," theGrio.com reported on Tuesday under the headline, "Bill Cosby rips Phylicia Rashad’s ex in creepy interview."

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"The embattled comedian sat down with NewsOne Now anchor Roland Martin for an interview back in November — but the short clip was posted to TV One's site Monday afternoon.

"The mounting sexual assault and other allegations against Cosby were not discussed — an article on the website says it was 'not long after Martin's interview with Cosby that a number of women came out and accused Cosby of drugging them and raping them.'

"The interview did occur weeks after Hannibal Buress called Cosby a 'rapist' on stage, so it's not exactly clear why that wasn't brought up at all.

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"Martin and Cosby did discuss Cosby's famed TV role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Martin tells Cosby it was 'always great to watch the interplay between [Cliff] and [Claire Huxtable.]' That’s when it gets weird.

"Cosby leans in and proceeds to tell Martin that Ahmad Rashad, Phylicia’s ex-husband, 'messed that thing up.' Cosby, referring to Cliff and Claire's on-screen chemistry, continued:

"When he married her I didn’t mind, but then she got pregnant and I didn’t want Cliff and Clair to have another kid. So we had to hide her body, which took me away from — took Cliff away from touching her and playing with her because I didn’t want the audience to see that. . . ."

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Asked whether the interview was new or a rerun, TVOne spokeswoman Monica Neal told Journal-isms by email, "The interview was new and conducted prior to the majority of the allegations against Mr. Cosby while he was in DC for the Smithsonian donation. Since the interview did not address the allegations, it was held in order to incorporate a panel discussion regarding the subsequent events and provide context."

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: Essayist says Bill Cosby scandal can teach us as much about ourselves as the actor 

Janelle Harris, Mediabistro: So What Do You Do, Roland Martin, Host of TV One's 'NewsOne Now'?

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Michigan Citizen, Black Weekly, Ends Print Edition

"The Michigan Citizen, a weekly aimed at African-American readers, and printed since 1978, is folding," the Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday.

"The newspaper's announcement was posted Wednesday on its website under the headline, 'The Michigan Citizen ends weekly publication.' It was unclear whether the Citizen's website, michigancitizen.com, would continue to operate, but the short announcement hinted that there would be a future for the enterprise online: 'Connect with the Michigan Citizen via social media to learn of future projects.'

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"Officials at the weekly could not be reached today for comment. . . ."

The Citizen had a circulation of 56,400, according to mondotimes.com.

Meanwhile, "Civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis, now president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, says he envisions Black newspapers as becoming the 'new mainstream' rather than an alternative press as it is often called," Hazel Trice Edney wrote Wednesday for the Trice Edney News wire.

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"The Black Press, I believe has an opportunity where it can make even more traction than it has in the past," Chavis said in a recent interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. "In other words, I don't see the Black press as a side press from the mainstream press. I want the Black press to become the new mainstream because the demographics are changing. . . ."

"Illegal Immigrant" Survives, Despite Style Changes

"As style manual changes go, it was big news," Rui Kaneya wrote Dec. 23 for Columbia Journalism Review. " 'Illegal immigrant,' a phrase long used for people living in the country without authorization, was no longer 'sanctioned' in Associated Press copy, the wire service declared in April 2013. Its influential Stylebook was updated to read, in part:

" 'Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant.

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"The change was part of a broader effort to avoid 'labeling people,' said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor, but the move seemed clearly a concession to advocates for immigrants who argued it was offensive to describe a person or group of people as 'illegal.'

"Within weeks, major newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today followed AP's lead and abandoned the phrase, and it seemed likely more would follow. The Stylebook 'is the last word on journalistic practice, so it's particularly important for the AP to set this standard,' Rinku Sen, publisher of the website Colorlines, which had coordinated a campaign to 'Drop the I-Word,' said at the time. 'This should put the debate to rest.' A columnist at the Los Angeles Times chimed in: 'For U.S. reporters and editors, the term "illegal immigrant" looks to be going the way of the eight-track tape.'

"But things haven’t quite worked out that way — not yet, at least. As Fusion noted recently, at least two elite media outlets, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, still prefer 'illegal immigrant.' Many others encourage or permit alternatives but haven't banned the term, as a quick Google search will show. A recent Washington Post article, for example, used the term in its headline and lead.. . ."

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Milwaukee Columnist Eugene Kane Leaving After 33 Years

After 33 years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the old Milwaukee Journal, more than 20 of them as a columnist, Eugene Kane is leaving the newspaper, he told readers at the end of his Sunday column. As reported in September, newspapers have laid off, reassigned or retired at least 21 black opinion writers since 2008 as the industry contracts.

Kane told Journal-isms by email on Thursday that his departure follows a July announcement that the newspaper's parent Journal Communications is merging with the larger E.W. Scripps Co. He also noted that Editor Martin Kaiser is leaving in February and that changes are expected with a new op-ed section.

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"Many of the folks I've worked with for decades in my age/experience range also took buy-outs a few months ago and I figured it was a sign that the new company wanted severe cut-backs," Kane said.

"My only concern is that there are precious few Black folks covering the community these days in Milwaukee, none on Metro and James Causey," an op-ed columnist, "the only black voice left." As for the future, Kane said he "will be teaching a class at UW-Milwaukee this year and working on some other writing projects. Also, looking for that next chapter in life that can be as satisfying as the last one."

Kane began his career as a columnist with a humor column in the old Milwaukee Journal, then moved to a metro column in the merged Journal Sentinel. He took a buyout in 2012 but remained as a Sunday columnist.

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He wrote last month about his experiences with Bill Cosby in light of the allegations of sexual misconduct by the comedian. "In 2004, I worked with Cosby to hold a community forum in Milwaukee at North Division High School centered on education and parental responsibility. The event came about because I had written a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Cosby's remarks at an NAACP event in Washington, D.C., months earlier that many took to be overly harsh and judgmental about low-income, poorly educated black people.

"My column criticized Cosby for the tone of his remarks. The next workday, I received a call from one of his representatives: "Mr. Cosby is going to call you in a half-hour about your column."

"As it turned out, Cosby didn't unload on me for my temerity to criticize him — just the opposite. He began a conversation with me that put his words in context, and we began to bond over the phone due to our mutual Philadelphia connections. . . ."

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Maynard Institute for Journalism Education: Eugene Kane | Mentor

$10 Million Grant to Aid Female Journalists

"In October, IP reported on the Howard G. Buffett Foundation's $4 million grant to the International Women's Media Foundation," Joan Shipps reported Dec. 22 for Inside Philanthropy. "That was a lot of money, given how infrequently funders throw big support behind this focus area. But it turned out that Buffett wasn't done: He's now tossed another $10 million into the pot for women journalists. Wow.

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"What's more, IWMF has hit the ground running since that first gift in October and has big plans for promoting women in journalism in 2015 and far into the future.

"With the latest $10 million in Howard G. Buffett support, the IWMF is implementing three areas of programming:

"The Courage in Photojournalism Award . . .

"The African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative . . .

"The Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists . . ."

Short Takes

A celebration of life for Michel du Cille, the Washington Post photojournalist who died at 58 on Dec. 11, is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington. A reception is planned in the Post's Community Room, 1150 15th St. NW. The National Press Photographers Foundation said it has begun a fund in du Cille's memory. Contributions can be made at http://nppf.org/michel-du-cille/.

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"A change is going to come to MSNBC in 2015," Stephen Battaglio reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times. "'Technology is continuing to drive unprecedented changes across the media landscape — and we all should be taking a hard, honest look at how we need to evolve along with it," Phil Griffin, president of the NBC-owned cable news channel, wrote in a year-end message sent to employees Monday and reviewed by The Times. . . . The channel will continue to seek an ethnically diverse audience, Griffin noted. Earlier in the year he added Jose Diaz Balart, the Cuban-American journalist who also serves as an anchor for Spanish-language network Telemundo, to MSNBC's daytime lineup. MSNBC has seen its Latinos viewership grow this year. The channel also continues to draw more African Americans than CNN or Fox News, he added. . . ."

"The Walt Disney Co. has negotiated a new multiyear distribution deal with DirecTV that will allow more viewers to catch a glimpse of Fusion," Veronica Villafañe reported Dec. 27 for her Media Moves site. "In addition to getting all of Disney's news and entertainment content, as part of the agreement, the satellite TV company has to launch ABC-Univision joint venture Fusion, as well as several other channels, including the Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and ESPN3. . . ."

As two of her "17 Hopes and Dreams for The Times in the New Year," New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan Wednesday urged "More women's voices on the Op-Ed pages and more women's bylines on the front page" and "The addition of some black critics to the culture staff; and a more diverse staff in general. . . ."

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"Kernie L. Anderson, 74, of Philadelphia, a huge name in African American media in the region, died Saturday, Dec. 20," John Timpane reported Dec. 26 for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Mr. Anderson, an executive at WDAS-AM/FM, WHAT-AM, and WURD-AM, was known for his precision and control in business affairs, his commitment to African American media, and his ability to turn things around for ailing media venues. . . ." Philadelphia Tribune obituary. Philadelphia Daily News obituary.

"New York's WNET is reversing its decision — at least temporarily — to shift independent documentaries from primetime on its main channel to the secondary WLIW on Long Island, which reaches a far smaller audience," Dru Sefton reported Dec. 23 for Current.org. "After filmmakers objected to the change, WNET and PBS said they will undertake a four-month 'listening tour' across the country with representatives from the affected shows, Independent Lens and POV, along with stations to get input from producers and other stakeholders. . . ."

"Rajan Devadas, one of the most admired Indian-American photojournalists whose lenses chronicled US-India relations for more than half a century, has died" at 93, the Press Trust of India reported on Sunday. "Devadas, a Padma Shri awardee, died of cardiac arrest at Hebrew Home of Greater Washington on Friday. He is survived by his wife and eight children." Padma Shri is one of India's highest civilian awards. In a career spanning more than five decades, "Devadas has covered US visit of every Indian Prime Minister from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh besides photographing every US president from John F Kennedy to George W Bush. . . . ."

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In Dallas/Fort Worth, "Kaley O'Kelley will co-anchor CBS 11 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. with Doug Dunbar beginning in late January," KTVT-TV announced on Dec. 19. O'Kelley, a member of the Native American Journalists Association, joins KTVT from KTVK in Phoenix, where she has been a morning news anchor and reporter since 2009.

"As we start a new year, many of us will be constantly working to serve and elevate our growing community, but the work is not confined to us alone," Kevin Olivas wrote Thursday for the Latino section of NBCNews.com. "As with other movements reaching for equality and non-persecution of a people, individuals from various walks of life have been contributing to helping Latinos — including Latino migrants who risk death trying to reach the U.S. — even if they may not be Hispanic themselves. As we near the end of this holiday season and look to the year ahead, I am thinking of those voices who may not be Latino, but who offer their care and love to nuestra comunidad as a reason to mark the humanitarian spirit at this time of year. Perhaps they can be considered honorary Latinos. . . ."

The role of the African American film and television critic must expand "to enjoy universal recognition and respect," Ricardo A. Hazell wrote Tuesday for EURweb.com. Gil Robertson, who heads the African American Film Critics Association, said in the story that the AAFCA is doing its part by mentoring "through our internship program at Clark-Atlanta and Howard University. Our Clark internship is going into its third year and our Howard internship will be starting in the fall of 2015. We also have plans to expand the program to Northwestern University and to USC in Los Angeles. . . ." 

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"Here's a trade secret: Any time you come across a good, solid piece of reporting or writing, if you look closely, you'll see the fingerprints of a great editor," Charita Goshay wrote Wednesday for the Repository in Canton, Ohio. Goshay was praising Gayle Beck, the Repository's editorial page editor since 1998, who is retiring.

James Ragland, columnist for the Dallas Morning News, told readers Dec. 26 that he is preparing to commemorate 30 years in journalism on Jan. 7, all but three years spent at the Morning News.

"The Interview is a dangerous movie," Peter Klein wrote Tuesday for Columbia Journalism Review. He also wrote, "The film, which was released over the Christmas holiday, depicts two goofy journalists, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, who score an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and who are recruited by the CIA to kill him. . . . Why make a big deal of a movie that's clearly fiction? Because it plays right into the farcical notions of the world's tyrannical leaders — that journalists are secretly working for the CIA, an assumption which carries tragic consequences.. . ." As Joe Davidson wrote in the Washington Post after the CIA staffed a booth at the 2008 Unity: Journalists of Color convention, "Federal law prohibits the agency from using journalists employed by U.S. news organizations — note the U.S. — unless the president or the CIA director rules otherwise on a case-by-case basis. CIA officers are not allowed to pose as journalists. . . ."

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"With This Ring," a movie based on the novel "The Vow" by Mitzi Miller, Angela Burt Murray and Denene Millner, is to premiere on the Lifetime channel on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, Deron Dalton reported Saturday for eurweb.com. Miller is editor of Ebony magazine, Murray, a former editor-in-chief of Essence, co-founded cocoafab.com, a digital network for young women of color; and Millner is an Atlanta-based journalist and editor.

"A sharp increase in the number of Ethiopian journalists fleeing into exile has been recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists in the past 12 months," Nicole Schilit reported Monday for the Committee. "More than 30 — twice the number of exiles CPJ documented in 2012 and 2013 combined — were forced to leave after the government began a campaign of arrests. . . .

In Venezuela, "El Universal, which was founded in 1909 and still fields the largest reporting staff of any Venezuelan newspaper, used to be fiercely critical of President Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, who died of cancer last year," John Otis reported Tuesday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. Otis also wrote, "But since the sale of El Universal to a mysterious business group, most of the newspaper's critical news columnists have been jettisoned. EUTV, El Universal's fledgling Web-based TV station that provided independent reporting, has been shut down. Several journalists, including three of the paper's eight economics reporters, have resigned after complaining about censorship by their editors. . . ."