"Author Sabrina Lamb was looking forward to kicking off her New Year with a bottle of champagne and a quiet walk on the beach. Instead, on the first day of January she was greeted with a video link from a friend of a brand-new reality show that sent chills down her spine," Allison Samuels wrote Monday for the Daily Beast.
"The video was for All My Babies' Mamas, a new show developed by Oxygen Media featuring rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 kids, and 10 different mothers.
" 'My blood curdled just thinking about it,' Lamb told The Daily Beast.
"So did mine," Samuels continued. "And apparently that was the reaction of the nearly 40,000 people who signed a petition demanding that the show not air. Though the network denies it, Oxygen is expected to announce that All My Babies' Mamas won't ever see the light of day, according to my sources — and that's a good thing. Still, I'm more concerned with how it ever reached this point. How could a network ever assume that a show about an African-American rapper with 11 kids by 10 women would be OK and not immediately deemed racist? How could it not see that it was offending, insulting, and mocking an entire segment of the African-American community? The answer is pretty simple. The network saw it; the network just didn't care. . . . "
Sil Lai Abrams, the Grio: Are blacks to blame for the popularity of reality TV?
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Black family life — the reality, and the reality show
Student journalists at Florida A&M University, their newspaper "delayed" until Jan. 30 on orders of new Dean Ann Kimbrough of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, published online instead Monday.
"We're covering all the news that we would normally be covering," Karl Etters, editor of the Famuan, the student newspaper, told Journal-isms by telephone.
The website is called Ink and Fangs.
The publication delay is indirectly related to accreditation issues and to drum major Robert Champion's well-publicized hazing death in November 2011. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported last week in the Tallahassee Democrat.
". . . A Dec. 2, 2011, article in the student newspaper incorrectly stated senior Keon Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with Champion's death. Three days later, The Famuan posted a revised article on its website omitting Hollis' name and noting the fourth suspended student could not be identified. On Feb. 14, 2012, The Famuan published a correction, but the lawsuit noted it failed to say Hollis had nothing to do with Champion's death or the crime of hazing.
"Hollis' lawsuit, filed in Leon County Dec. 3 against the newspaper, university and its board of trustees, alleges the student newspaper failed to 'exercise ordinary care,' lacked a credible source for its information and failed to investigate what amounted to 'nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.' The complaint contends Hollis' reputation was damaged by the implication he played a role in the hazing that killed Champion. No court dates have been set."
Kimbrough last week ordered additional training for Famuan staff members, which Etters said began on Monday.
Kimbrough messaged Journal-isms Monday night that she had seen inkandfangs.com . She added, "I am thrilled about the strong support of the student journalists from Famuan alums and Famu alums. The alums are interested in helping students via mentoring relationships and many alums are placing ads in the Jan. 30 paper. The Famuan is in financial distress … one of the critical matters being addressed by the SJGC and university administration to ensure student success in their journalism education endeavors."
In an open letter to Kimbrough Monday, Dan Reimold of College Media Matters, which is sponsored by the Associate Collegiate Press, wrote, ". . . Champion's hazing death is horrendously tragic. The school's subsequent accreditation issues and image troubles are also unfortunate (although apparently at least somewhat deserved). The Famuan's admitted mistake in its Champion coverage last fall is troubling. The related lawsuit is certainly painful to bear. And the unrelated issue with some students' eligibility to serve on the paper is a definite cause for concern.
"But none of these things — or all of them, combined — come anywhere close to justifying killing or paralyzing the student press, however soon you may allow it to regain feeling or come back from the dead. Your (overre)action is simply dead wrong, and beneath your university and the position you hold."
Helene Cooper of the New York Times won't be covering the start of President Obama's second term, and the Washington Post's White House team won't include black journalists, according to a staff memo Monday. But other black journalists said they would be back.
Cooper, who moved from the State Department to the White House to cover the Obama administration, will be away for a year on book leave, David Leonhardt, the Times' Washington bureau chief, told Journal-isms. "She just started a book leave, alas. Great for her, but I miss her already. She returns to The Times in a year," he said by email.
Cooper, a native of Liberia, messaged that her book is about Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the women who brought her to power in Liberia. "It's a look at the larger issue of women taking political control in Africa," she said, and will be published by Simon and Schuster.
Cooper's stories were not always White House favorites. Not long after she arrived, Politico reported, Cooper "was the target of a fusillade of complaints from Obama staffers and was for a time essentially frozen out by the administration . . . " Leonhardt said there was no announcement yet on the Times' new White House team.
A Washington Post memo from National Editor Kevin Merida said Scott Wilson, who has been covering the president, would become White House bureau chief, with David Nakamura continuing to be "a key player on our White House team."
Other team members will be Philip Rucker, "two months removed from covering Mitt Romney's quest for the presidency, turning his attention to the victor"; "The unstoppable Felicia Sonmez" as "our point person for digital coverage of the White House"; and Zachary Goldfarb, "who was indispensable explaining the fiscal cliff follies to our readers," joining the others "as an economic policy writer under a joint arrangement between Financial and National."
At the Associated Press, Darlene Superville, who covered the early years of the Obama White House before assuming editing duties, told Journal-isms she would be a general-assignment White House reporter and its primary staffer covering the first lady.
For broadcast, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks said she would return, and that as of Sunday, she had covered the White House for 16 years, including three presidents.
Dan Lothian of CNN, Wendell Goler of Fox News and Kristin Welker of NBC News are also returning, the reporters or their networks told Journal-isms.
As this column noted in November, the composition of the Washington press corps periodically comes under scrutiny. In 2008, Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University found that "Journalists of color make up 13.1 percent of the 495 reporters, correspondents, columnists and editors in the Washington daily newspaper press corps. That's an improvement over the last census four years ago, when just under 10.5 percent of the press corps consisted of minority journalists."
Then Obama took office, and more black journalists were assigned to the new administration. At the Post, the new Obama presidency coincided with a national desk newly led by Merida, with Terence Samuel as a political editor and Krissah Thompson, Perry Bacon Jr., Michael A. Fletcher and Nia-Malika Henderson among its reporters. Bacon left the paper for the Grio, and Fletcher now covers the economy, but Vanessa Williams became a night political editor.
Still, Wayne Dawkins, a Hampton University journalism assistant professor, reported in the Diversity Factor, a subscription-only online journal, "As of 2009, the Washington Press corps was less diverse than the group that covered George W. Bush from 2001-08. Media downsizing wiped out experienced journalists of color who were prepared to compete for those top beats, meanwhile, cuts in state and local gov't and political reporting dried up the pipeline of new recruits."
Politico hired Joseph Williams as deputy White House editor in 2010, but Williams left the publication last year after his editors disapproved of his comments and tweets about Romney.
Ebony magazine was the only major black title to post an increase in advertising pages during 2012, while all four major Hispanic magazines did, the Publishers Information Bureau reported on Monday.
"For the seventh straight year, ad pages declined for the industry, down 8.2 percent, from 164,190.17 to 150,698.57 during 2012, according to new data from the Publishers Information Bureau," Bill Cromwell reported for medialifemagazine.com .
However, Ebony showed a gain of 22.9 percent, second only to Reader's Digest Large Edition, which was up 30.9 percent.
Stephen G. Barr, senior vice president of Johnson Publishing Co. and group publisher of Ebony and Jet, attributed Ebony's success to sales and marketing team efforts to secure more first-time advertisers, an increase by existing advertisers who increased their overall spending and "advertiser/reader feedback [that] recognizes the editorial excellence of the book."
Among other African American titles, Black Enterprise ad pages declined by 9.5 percent, Essence dropped by 10.3 percent and Jet by 13 percent.
The Hispanic parenting magazine Ser Padres, published by the Meredith Corp., increased its advertising pages by 28.8 percent.
A year ago, Enedina Vega, vice president and publisher of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, attributed increases to growing awareness among advertisers of the importance of the Hispanic market and the growth of that market's numbers and affluence.
"My previous comments still hold true," Vega said by email on Monday. "In the case of Ser Padres we are the only Spanish language parenting book in the market, and although birth rates in the U.S. are down for every segment of the population, the Hispanic segment still has the highest growth rate. 33% of [moms] between the ages of 18-24, which most likely represents first time moms, are Hispanic."
Among other Hispanic magazines, Latina's ad pages increased by 2.1 percent, People en Español by 18.6 percent and Siempre Mujer, another Meredith publication, by 17.2 percent.
Mona Zhang, FishbowlLA: All Sections of Ebony are Open to Pitches
"In the days, weeks and months to come, there will be many amazing tributes to Eugene Patterson, the accomplished, talented former editor of the St. Petersburg Times who set the stage for so much of how we do journalism at the Times and in the Tampa Bay area while speaking out on one of the most important issues of his time — racial equality," Eric Deggans wrote Monday for the Times.
". . . But I wanted to pay tribute here to Patterson, who died Saturday at age 89 after a long illness, for serving as one of the best examples of an editor, columnist and journalist who made a difference by taking the right stand at the right time — challenging many who would eventually acknowledge they stood on the wrong side of history — in a way every person who slings opinions for a living dreams of accomplishing.
"Pick up The Changing South of Gene Patterson, the wonderful selection of Patterson's columns in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper from 1960 to 1968 for a look at how his willingness to advocate strongly for the rights of black people at a time when may corners of white society resisted racial equality, proved a brilliant template for how to push social change in prescient writing. . . . "
The Associated Press added, ". . . His famous column of Sept, 16, 1963, about the Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls — 'A Flower for the Graves' — was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the 'CBS Evening News.'
" 'A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham,' Patterson began his column. 'In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.
" 'Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand. … We who go on electing politicians who heat the kettles of hate. … (The bomber) feels right now that he has been a hero. He is only guilty of murder. He thinks he has pleased us. We of the white South who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment.'
" 'It was the high point of my life,' Patterson later said in a June 2006 interview from his home in St. Petersburg. . . ."
Eugene Patterson, Atlanta Constitution: "A Flower for the Graves" (1963)
Attendees at the taping of the annual all-star "BET Honors" came Saturday night with their glamor on, their hair twisted, teased, wigged, weaved, extended, straightened and/or dreadlocked. But the CEO presiding over the festivities, in contrast, wore hers in a short, natural style.
Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, told Journal-isms she had been wearing her hair that way since July. "I just wanted to," she said on the stage of Washington's Warner Theatre. "It was time for a change. I do it every now and then.
"The great thing is that we have choices now. I've heard other women say I've inspired them."
Although natural hairstyles are regaining popularity, how black women wear their hair can still be an issue in the workplace. Rhonda Lee, the meteorologist who lost her job at KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La., after she responded to a Facebook post questioning her natural hair, is just one example. (The station said she violated policy by responding to the viewer.)
Lee told Essence magazine last week, "I'm okay if Solange wears a weave, or Wendy Williams a wig. My only concern is my having the freedom to wear my hair the way I want to. That's the freedom we enjoy as Black women. My industry is a visual medium, and I understand that, but I feel like my White co-workers are told things like, 'Get a nice little cut to frame your face.' They're not told to be completely, biologically different. And that is the burden that I have. I want my biology to be honored and respected."
Blogger Chime Edwards wrote in November that when she saw Debra Lee's hair, ". . . I was shocked, amazed and excited all at once!" She added, ". . . There are many black women who have made the decision to go natural but there are tons who are hesitant because of their profession. Some women believe, "Natural hair isn't professional. How can I expect to move up in a company with my hair in an Afro? . . ." Edwards reassured readers that their fears might be unfounded, citing Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO OF Xerox Corp.
The event Lee headed, the sixth annual "BET Honors," paid tribute to music-industry entrepreneur Clarence Avant, actress Halle Berry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, veteran singer Chaka Khan and retired WNBA all-star Lisa Leslie. Joining them on stage were host Gabrielle Union, actress Phylicia Rashad, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, singers Erykah Badu, Kem, Kelly Rowland, Brandy and Alicia Keys, music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the rhythm 'n' blues acts S.O.S. Band and Mint Condition, entertainer Wayne Brady and actor Anthony Anderson.
In the audience were presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, BET's parent company. Tickets went for $500.
"The show will air on Monday, February 11 at 9:00 pm EST," spokeswoman Sheikina Liverpool said by email. "We had approximately 1,500 guests in attendance and raised over $59,000 for Life Pieces to Masterpieces, Inc., an organization that provides opportunities for African American boys and young men in greater Washington, D.C. by developing and unlocking their potential and empowering them to transform their lives and communities."
"Good Hair" on the TV News Set (Oct. 7, 2009)
A majority of African Americans and Hispanics support Israel over the Palestinians, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, despite efforts by many to portray the Palestinians as fellow oppressed people of color.
According to figures provided to Journal-isms Monday by the Pew center, 42 percent of blacks said they sympathized more with Israel, 12 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 33 percent said both or that they did not know.
Among Hispanics, 47 percent said they sympathized more with Israel, 13 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 27 percent said both or they did not know.
Among whites, the figure was 53 percent sympathizing with Israel, 9 percent saying the Palestinians, 14 percent saying neither and 25 percent saying both or that they did not know.
The survey included 1,104 whites, 144 blacks and 128 Hispanics.
The New York-based America's Voices in Israel has been sponsoring all-expense-paid trips to Israel for Hispanic journalists in order to influence the United States' growing Latino population, its director, Irwin Katsof, has told Journal-isms. The Anti-Defamation League, which sponsored a similar trip, has said it was concerned about what it considered an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.
". . . Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore with the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as President Obama's new secretary of defense," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said last week. "The choice of Hagel has drawn criticism from some of his former Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who have questioned whether he has been supportive enough of Israel."
Rick Horowitz, YouTube: The Smearing of Chuck Hagel (video)
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Senators shouldn't make another mistake on secretary of defense
"Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press," Jim Vertuno and Jim Litke reported Monday for the AP. "The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network." Winfrey said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning" that she came prepared with 112 questions for the 2½-hour interview and that "I was satisfied by the answers (video).
"Robin Roberts, the 'Good Morning America' host who signed off the show last August to receive treatment for a life-threatening bone marrow disorder, says she intends to return to work in February," Brian Stelter reported Monday for the New York Times. "Her announcement, made in grand fashion on 'G.M.A.' Monday morning, is the beginning of a gradual comeback by Ms. Roberts, the biggest star on the ABC morning show, who has been in isolation for months following a bone-marrow transplant."
"Today at the Television Critics Association meeting, PBS announced that, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it will broadcast a series of specials that continue the public conversation on gun laws, mental illness and school security," PBS said on Monday. "The 'After Newtown' programming airs on PBS stations February 18-22 (check local listings)."
"NBC 6 South Florida announced that it will partner with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to produce more local, in-depth investigations. The partnership will include developing stories, conducting research and investigations, sharing content, and cross-linking websites," the center announced on Monday. In 2010, the center became the nation's first nonprofit, digital and bilingual investigative journalism organization.
"Vogue Italia, the magazine known for taking a stand against anorexia and promoting the use of black models in fashion, made another statement this week, putting an Asian woman on its cover for the first time," Andrea Plaid wrote last week for Racialicious. "Chinese model Fei Fei Sun covers the magazine’s January issue. . . ."
"ESPN anchor Stuart Scott revealed on Twitter on Monday that he is again battling cancer," the Huffington Post reported early Tuesday. "A short while after tweeting about his diagnosis and treatment, Scott hosted the 11 p.m. EST episode of SportsCenter."
". . . Join me in sponsoring someone for a $50 membership special," Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, urged members on Monday, noting the number of journalists facing hard times. "Is there someone you know who needs a little extra assistance? Help him or her join now before this special deal ends at the end of January. Membership fees go back to $75 on February 1st."
"AOL Jobs recently indicated a recent book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, outlines several fields which are more likely to attract psychopaths than others," Vicki Salemi wrote Jan. 4 for Media Jobs Daily. "Unfortunately for us, media jobs (primarily television and radio) ranked third on the list and journalist follows in seventh place."
"When Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor was interviewed on Sunday night's '60 Minutes,' a finely tuned eye could have spotted a cartoon by LA's Lalo Alcaraz hanging on her office wall," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. " 'The original cartoon, entitled "L'il Judge Lopez," is signed by me and my daughter, who was the model/inspiration for the little girl in the toon,' Alcaraz writes at his website of news y satire, Pocho. He has embedded a clip of the interview on the site."
"Regrettable news from Donna Myrow, who founded L.A. Youth as a newspaper written by and for Los Angeles teenagers 25 years ago," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. "It has been a struggle to keep the paper going in recent years. A desperate fundraising pitch last year bought some more time. But a note in the upcoming February issue will announce that L.A. Youth is closing down."
The Detroit Regional News Hub, a media organization that has been working closely with journalists since its founding in 2008, aims to present a more balanced view of the city's challenges, Jennifer Conlin reported Sunday for the New York Times. "Initiated by a group of Detroit business leaders in conjunction with local reporters and editors, the Hub, as it is known, is an unusual collaboration between civic leaders and journalists, two groups that tend to be adversaries."
"Who knew NBC anchor Lester Holt was a jazz aficionado? On tonight's 'NBC Nightly News' Holt profiles an underground jazz club in Brooklyn," Alex Weprin reported Saturday for TVNewser. "Not content to merely cover it as a journalist, Holt decided to take to the stage himself with his bass, and bust out some tunes." A video accompanies the item.
Kevin Weston, a new media entrepreneur in Oakland, Calif., who was about to start a journalism fellowship at Stanford University when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, is appealing for a bone marrow match. "Kevin is African-American. Only about 8% of the nation's 10 million registered bone-marrow donors are Black, which makes his chance of finding a bone marrow match quite slim. You are the key to helping Kevin change those odds," his website says.
Neal Boortz is retiring Jan. 18 after more than four decades as a syndicated radio talk-show host, Rodney Ho reported Sunday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He will be replaced by former presidential candidate Herman Cain." At a sold-out farewell at Atlanta's Fox Theatre Saturday night, "Monica Pearson, who worked at Channel 2 Action News for 37 years until last year, said Boortz convinced his radio audience over the years that she had a hot tub in her office. 'I didn’t even have an office!' she said. 'I had a cubbyhole!'"
A concerned Bill Tammeus, longtime Kansas City Star faith columnist, noted that "Helen Gray, who has been religion editor since The Flood, just retired a few days ago. No one has been named to replace her, though one of the news editors will oversee production of the weekly Faith section.' " Tammeaus was quoted by blogger John Landsberg, who wrote Sunday, "What has happened to the Faith Section of the Star with Gray's departure? Benedictine College's stalwart journalism professor Mike Throop posted his views on his Facebook page today. 'Memo: From The Kansas City Star To: Faith-based readers. Drop dead. As I predicted, save for a couple of 'guest' columns, the entire 'section' is wire copy."
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote Saturday that Mayor Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia is unlikely to persuade the Washington Redskins to change their name. ". . . But I suspect it would start to make a difference if other media outlets, including this one, joined the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper in avoiding the routine use of 'Redskins' in football stories," Zorn wrote.
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.