The ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs led with new reports Wednesday about the death in jail of Sandra Bland after police released a video of her interaction with a Texas state trooper that prompted criticism that the officer had acted improperly.
David Montgomery and Michael Wines wrote for the New York Times:
"A 28-year-old woman whose arrest this month during a traffic stop ended with her hanging death in a county jail cell told officials that she tried last year to kill herself, the Texas sheriff who oversees the jail said on Wednesday. But the jailers did not put her on suicide watch, and her family's lawyer said that they had no evidence that she had ever tried to commit suicide or had struggled with depression.
"The back-and-forth over the mental state of the woman, Sandra Bland, came a day after Texas authorities released a dashboard camera video showing how a stop for changing lanes without signaling escalated into a shouting match and struggle between Ms. Bland, who was African-American, and a white state trooper, Brian T. Encinia.
[In addition, a bystander recorded video that shows Bland complain that the trooper slammed her head into the ground, Travis Gettys reported Monday for Raw Story.]
"Some legal experts who reviewed the video raised questions about whether Ms. Bland, who was moving to Hempstead from Chicago to take a job at a local college, should have ever been arrested.
" 'This whole thing could have been avoided,' said Christopher C. Cooper, a civil rights lawyer, former Washington, D.C., police officer and recognized expert in police conflict resolution. He said that the video showed that the trooper's decision to stop Ms. Bland for a minor infraction was legal but questionable, and that the officer's angry, forceful response to Ms. Bland's refusal to put out a cigarette seemed excessive.
"Ms. Bland’s journey from arrest to death in the cell where she was found hanging on July 13 has brought demands from friends, family members and supporters nationwide, fueled by social media, for answers to how she died, with many insisting that she was not suicidal. . . ."
The Times also published an interactive web feature Wednesday, "Assessing the Legality of Sandra Bland’s Arrest."
St. John Barned-Smith, Houston Chronicle: Officials: Sandra Bland spoke of previous suicide attempt
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Questions About the Sandra Bland Case
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Sandra and Kindra: Suicides or Something Sinister?
Danielle Bowler, Eyewitness News, South Africa: The Death of Sandra Bland and History's Echoes
Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: Danger inherent for police in traffic stops
David Edwards, Raw Story: CNN panel explodes after ex-cop says Sandra Bland died because she was 'arrogant from the beginning'
Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post: However Sandra Bland died, suicide in jails is a national tragedy
H. A. Goodman, Huffington Post: If Sandra Bland Were a White Woman, Statistics Show She'd Be Alive Today
Eli Hager, Marshall Project: What You May Have Missed in the Sandra Bland Video
Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press: False expectations define the racism in Bland video
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times: What happened to Sandra Bland in cell 95? Debate continues with video release
Demetria Irwin, thegrio.com: Sandra Bland's death is a sobering reality check for her fellow millennial activists
K.K. Rebecca Lai, Haeyoun Park and Larry Buchanan, New York Times: Assessing the Legality of Sandra Bland's Arrest
Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Sandra Bland's death in custody doesn't add up
Jamil Smith, New Republic: Sandra Bland Never Should Have Been Arrested
Nick Wing, Huffington Post: Sandra Bland Should Never Have Been In Jail In The First Place
John Yang, Amy Calvin and Erin McClam, NBC News: Sandra Bland Death: Officials Say Glitch, Not Editing, Caused Video Irregularities (video)
John Yang, "Today," NBC News: Dash-cam video of Sandra Bland arrest being reviewed for edits
NAHJ Hires Nonprofit Veteran as Executive Director
"After an exhaustive search across the country, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) board of directors has selected Alberto Mendoza to be NAHJ’s new executive director," NAHJ President Mekahlo Medina announced on Thursday.
The announcement said, ". . . Mendoza most recently served as the Regional Vice President with Jumpstart: Children First where he led the operations in California, Texas and Washington which served over 3300 children. He also served as the President and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, a California policy and advocacy organization, where he was the first Latino leader to run a statewide environmental organization.
"In 2009, United States Senator Barbara Boxer honored Mendoza with the first ever U.S. Environmental Leadership Award. Alberto was also the founding Regional Executive Director for the Drug Policy Alliance-Southern California office and also led programs for Girl Scouts USA, Public Counsel and AIDS Project Los Angeles. . . ."
In May, NAHJ abruptly parted ways with Executive Director Anna Lopez Buck, who helped to steer the organization through a significant financial crisis as interim executive director in 2011 and was rewarded the next year with the job on a permanent basis.
Medina said then that he could not disclose the circumstances of Lopez Buck's departure, and that he would take leave from his reporting job at KNBC-TV in Southern California to fulfill the executive director's duties on an interim basis. [Added July 23]
Cosby Mounts Media Campaign to Save His Reputation
"Bill Cosby's legal team pressed forward on Wednesday with a vigorous public defense of the entertainer, arguing that while Mr. Cosby acknowledged embarrassing personal details in a legal deposition 10 years ago, he admitted to no crime, a fact they say has been lost in the recent wave of media coverage," Graham Bowley and Sydney Ember reported Wednesday for the New York Times.
Meanwhile, 'Simon & Schuster has pulled a number of celebrity endorsements for Mark Whitaker's Bill Cosby biography, which was published in September, from web pages for online retailers," Jessica Goodman reported Wednesday for Entertainment Weekly. "The biography, Cosby, didn’t mention the sexual abuse allegations that recently became publicized, and was widely criticized for not doing so.
"The Associated Press first broke the news, and Cary Goldstein, the Simon & Schuster vice [president] and executive director of publicity, confirmed to EW that it would pull the blurbs because of 'recent events.'
" 'Simon & Schuster and the author have decided to remove all of the celebrity endorsements we received prior to publication last fall,' Goldstein said in a statement. 'In addition, there is no plan for releasing a paperback edition, or for issuing a revised version of the book.'
"Praise from Billy Crystal, Mary Tyler Moore, and others will not appear on Amazon.com or other retailers. . . ."
The New York Times report continued, " 'There has been a good deal of confusion, and perhaps a better word would be misrepresentation, regarding the deposition testimony which has been filtering out in excerpt form,' a lawyer for Mr. Cosby, Monique Pressley, said in a phone interview. 'There is no criminal conduct here. Nothing within the deposition moves the ball forward for those people accusing Mr. Cosby of criminal activity.'
"Ms. Pressley, a lawyer in Washington who is newly representing Mr. Cosby, took to television shows like ABC's 'Good Morning America' and 'Shepard Smith Reporting' on Fox News Channel as part of a whirlwind series of interviews aimed at defending Mr. Cosby. . . ."
The report also said, "She said people needed to understand the context of Mr. Cosby's comments in his deposition, specifically that Quaaludes were a legal drug in the 1970s that many people used during consensual sexual encounters. . . ."
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: You can't erase Cosby, Confederacy
Ta-Nehisi Coates said Wednesday that the recent criticism of his new book byCornel West demonstrates that "I don't think Cornel West knows who I am."
The Atlantic magazine writer also said David Brooks, a New York Times op-ed columnist who also critiqued the book, simply has his facts wrong. Under the headline, "Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White," Brooks wrote, "There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children's Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one. Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America."
In a Facebook posting last week, West took issue with Coates' efforts to model his book, "Between the World and Me," after James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time."
"In Defense of James Baldwin — Why Toni Morrison (a literary genius) is Wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates," West, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, began. "Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power.' . . ."
On Pacifica Radio's "Democracy, Now!" Wednesday, co-host Juan Gonzalez said to Coates, "Your book has now become part of the ongoing debate between African-American intellectuals in this country. Your response to Cornel West?"
Coates replied, "Well, I was really, really sorry to see that . . . . I don't think Cornel West knows who I am. But — and I don't mean like I’m all that, and he doesn’t know who I am. I mean I literally don't — I think he saw this James Baldwin quote from Toni Morrison, and I think he then went and wrote, you know, a couple of Facebook posts. I wrote a book.
"People can read my book — I hope they do — and they can read his Facebook posts, and they can decide whether — you know, which has more merit. People can read Cornel West's claim that I avoid any critique of the president, or they can go —and they can go to The Atlantic and see what I've actually written about the president, and then they can decide which is true. I have great, great admiration for Cornel West. I think he's made a weighty contribution to black literature and to black letters. I hope he continues to do that."
Coates went on to discuss a meeting at the White House at which he challenged President Obama, saying, "He has no right to lecture black people on morality."
Host Amy Goodman asked Coates about Brooks' op-ed piece.
"Well, I would just challenge that on the facts," Coates replied. "There was not an Abraham Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis. As the great historian Ed Baptist responded: Wrong, every president up to Abraham Lincoln was Jefferson Davis. It simply is — that's not — I mean, that's just like factual. You know, Abraham Lincoln is singular. . . ."
After criticism of his first Facebook post, West wrote a second one clarifying his views on Coates' book.
James Forman Jr., the Atlantic: Between the World and Me: 10,000 Years From Tomorrow
Woody Lewis blog: Blues for Mr. David
David Palumbo-Liu, Salon: The cult of white liberal race-deniers: David Brooks, Sandra Bland and race denying at its worst
"Dori J. Maynard, a nationally respected journalism educator and thought leader on diversity issues, will be honored posthumously as recipient of the 15th annual Robert G. McGruderAward for Diversity Leadership, awarded by the Associated Press Media Editors in partnership with the American Society of News Editors," APME announced on Wednesday.
"Maynard, 56, served as president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She died of lung cancer Feb. 24.
" 'Dori Maynard changed lives in newsrooms and communities across the country,' said Alan D. Miller, APME president.
" 'Thousands of journalists learned to think differently, to be more inclusive, and to make sure that we represent the diversity of our communities in our news coverage and our newsrooms,' he said. 'Her words will long ring in our ears, and our readers can be grateful for that. She was the epitome of diversity leadership and left us too soon. We are privileged to honor her and her legacy with the 2015 McGruder Award.'
"Maynard will be remembered and honored during the annual awards luncheon of the ASNE-APME conference Oct. 16-18 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. . . ."
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: ASNE diversity award named in memory of Dori J. Maynard (May 5)
Alex T. Williams, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania, argues in Columbia Journalism Review that the reason newsrooms don't have more journalists of color isn't that they are not being trained, but that they aren't being hired.
"Using unpublished data from Grady College's 2013 Graduate Survey, I analyzed how many minority bachelor's degree recipients from 82 colleges earned full-time jobs within 6 to 12 months after graduating with a journalism or communications degree," Williams wrote Wednesday.
"Here, I found an alarming trend. In 2013, graduating minorities that specialized in print were 17 percent less likely to find a full-time job than non-minorities; minorities specializing in broadcasting were 17 percent less likely to find a full-time job; and minorities specializing in public relations were 25 percent less likely to find a full-time job. In contrast, minorities specializing in advertising were only 2 percent less likely to find a full-time job than their white counterparts.
"Overall, only 49 percent of minority graduates that specialized in print or broadcasting found a full-time job, compared to 66 percent of white graduates. These staggering job placement figures help explain the low number of minority journalists. . . ."
Williams wrote that three factors likely explain the hiring discrepancy.
"First, Nieman Reports has noted that minority students are less likely to serve on campus newspapers because they are more likely to attend colleges without the resources to support a newspaper or to feel ostracized by a mostly white newsroom.
"Second, minority students are less likely to complete unpaid internships. . . .
"Lastly, minority students often aren’t in the hiring networks that editors rely on to find job candidates. . . ."
Williams concluded, "Rather than approaching hiring with a one-size-fits-all mentality, newsrooms should try to interview a variety of candidates. If a job candidate is a solid, curious writer with drive and a good work ethic, they deserve consideration. By making this small adjustment, more minority candidates will get their foot in the door — literally — which could help address the decades-long criticism that newsrooms need more diversity."
"The Associated Press is uploading more than 550,000 video clips to YouTube — covering news events dating back to 1895 — which the news org said will be the largest collection of archival news content on the Google-owned platform to date, Todd Spangler reported Wednesday for Variety.
"AP, together with newsreel archive provider British Movietone, will deliver more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. The goal: to provide high-profile, searchable repositories that let documentary filmmakers, historians and others find news footage, and to promote licensing deals for rights to use the video. . . ."
- Asked whether items in the news footage were of particular interest to African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans, and/or journalists who are members of those groups, Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive, replied by email:
- "Absolutely there is content that will be of interest to all communities. the archive itself is truly global and will allow Americans of various ethnic groups to explore countries of their ancestries, whether that is the Far East for [Asian] Americans or Latin America for Hispanic communities.
- "Equally, there is a great deal of footage that originates from the United States that helps tell the story of various communities in the country. Coverage of the Civil Rights movement is especially strong and there are many unique items including the Selma march that was recently unearthed.
- "The prominence of Dr King and Malcolm X and their assassinations are included and coverage of issues that will interest African Americans continues throughout the following decades right up until the present day. Sports figures, entertainment and popular culture feature heavily also. . . ."
- NABJ Calls Stephen A. Smith Wrong — No Stuart Scott Snub
- After the National Association of Black Journalists announced 11 inductees into its Hall of Fame Monday, sports commentator Stephen A. Smith took to the airwaves for an indignant and lengthy denunciation of NABJ for rejecting the nomination of Stuart Scott, the popular ESPN anchor who died of cancer in January.
- In a nearly eight-minute segment on his SiriusXM show (audio) that created buzz in black sports journalism circles, Smith told listeners that "his nomination was recommended by the Hall of Fame Committee" of NABJ.
- "The board has the final say. They elected not to do it. I have one simple for the National Association of Black Journalists: What the hell do you exist for?"
- But NABJ President Bob Butler and Maureen Bunyan, an NABJ co-founder who chaired the Hall of Fame Committee, told Journal-isms that Smith had his facts wrong.
- "Stuart Scott was NOT…was NOT nominated to the Hall of Fame," Bunyan wrote by email.
- "I repeat…. NO One…nominated him…NO one …before his death or after his death.
- "No nomination of Mr. Scott EVER Came before the Hall of Fame Committee which researches & recommends Nominees to the NABJ Board for its approval.
- "Therefore, he could Not have been 'rejected' by the NABJ Board.
- "I took part in the Board meeting during which the Nominations were presented to the Board for its discussion. At NO time was there a discussion of Mr. Scott's nomination, since there was NONE… Therefore he could not have been 'rejected' as Mr. Smith has apparently been informed.
- "Mr. Smith is very welcome to submit a nomination of Mr Scott for the next class of Hall of Fame Inductees. The nomination forms, requirements and process are posted on the NABJ website."
- Des Moines Register: Time for Trump to Drop Out
- The Des Moines Register, the largest paper in the state that hosts the all-important Iowa caucuses, called Tuesday for Donald Trump to get out of the Republican presidential race. "Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show," it said in a headline over its editorial.
- "People who run for public office typically perform a great public service, regardless of whether they win on Election Day," the editorial began. "That's particularly true of presidential candidates, most of whom must devote two years of their lives to hard-fought campaigns that involve staggering personal and financial sacrifices, all in an effort to serve their country.
- "And then there's Trump.
- "In the five weeks since he announced his campaign to seek the GOP nomination for president, Trump has been more focused on promoting himself, and his brand, than in addressing the problems facing the nation.
- "If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes. . . ."
- Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America: How The Press Missed The Trump Surge
- Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: What Al Sharpton learned from James Brown that Donald Trump hasn’t
- Arturo Carmona, Fox News Latino: Why is the GOP outraged by Trump comments on McCain, but not on Mexicans?
- Editorial, Daily News, New York: Donald ducks the draft
- Fox News Latino: Marco Rubio compares Trump to Obama: 'We already have a president with no class'
- Hadas Gold, Politico: Republican candidates get Trumped
- Mike Hashimoto, Dallas Morning News: With mouth wide open, Trump reveals too much of his true self
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: McCain owes an apology of his own
- Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Trump's delusions will catch up to him
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Both parties face an angry summer
- Leonard Pitts, Jr., Miami Herald: Here's hoping cooler heads prevail in GOP
- Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Attacking Donald Trump seems to only make him stronger
- Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Confusion at Huffington Post following Trump recategorization
- David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: See Trump juke the polls in our debased media, political systems
- Confederate Monument Debate Takes a Westward Turn
- As Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday that Dylann Roof, the accused Charleston, S.C., church shooter, would now face federal hate crime charges, the debate over Confederate symbols — such as the battle flag Roof has been pictured brandishing — continued.
- Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and James Ragland of the Dallas Morning News, both black columnists, warned against taking down Confederate monuments. "Losing the Confederate flag is one thing, jettisoning history is another," Norman wrote Friday. The headline over Ragland's column Wednesday read, "We can't avoid America's Confederate history by removing it from view."
- The San Antonio Express-News, however, editorialized against arguments that cast the monuments as the equivalent of history. "Names on public places are generally meant to honor the bearers of those names," it said on Monday. "And statues in public parks — such as the tribute to Confederate soldiers in Travis Park — are not generally placed there to provide mere history lessons, though they can serve that purpose. They are erected to honor people. . . ."
- The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., took exception to a move in the state Legislature to make it more difficult for a locality to remove controversial monuments. "It's hard to say whether the law or just the timing is bad, an editorial said Wednesday. "GOP legislators, having long advocated against big government, now want to interfere, again, in local governance in North Carolina. . . ."
- In the West, Montana-based Todd Wilkinson wrote for Writers on the Range, a column service of High Country News, that his part of the country has its Confederate equivalents. "Should Custer be celebrated as a hero of conquest or recast as the bigoted, egotistical, narcissistic villain he apparently was?" Wilkinson asked Friday in the syndicated column.
- "Does he deserve to have his name attached to towns, counties, a state park and a national forest, or should his name, like the Confederate flag, be removed?
- "Travel anywhere in Western Indian Country, as I have done on assignment for a quarter-century, and you will find few names deemed more offensive to Native people.
- "We forget it wasn't all that long ago that the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was called the Custer Battlefield by the National Park Service, which manages it.. . . ."
- Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: The perfect music for a Ku Klux Klan march
- Gene Demby, NPR "Code Switch": A Compromise On Displaying The Confederate Flag
- Amy Driscoll, Miami Herald: Confederate general or environmentalist? The symbolism of a statue for Florida
- Editorial, Anniston (Ala.) Star: That flag is so yesterday
- O. Ricardo Pimentel, San Antonio Express-News: We’re purposely dense on Confederate symbols
- Steve Schale, Tampa Bay Times: Replace statue with more deserving Floridian
- Short Takes
- "Alabama Media Group content executive Roy S. Johnson is being tapped to build and oversee a new teamfocusing on developing statewide, interactive, multi-platform journalism that showcases the best of Alabama and creates new revenue opportunities," al.com reported on Tuesday.
- "NBC's Lester Holt gives Nightly News a total viewer win for the fourth consecutive week, while also claiming the key A25-54 demo," Brian Flood reported Tuesday for TVNewser. "Nightly News has won both categories every week since Holt was officially named anchor. Nightly News has now won among total viewers for five of the last six weeks, nine of the last 12 weeks and 297 of the last 304 weeks. . . ."
- "President Barack Obama criticized the media Tuesday for letting its fascination with 'shiny objects' distract from more important issues," Hadas Gold reported Tuesday for Politico. " 'The media are a bunch of different medias. Some get on my nerves more than others,' the president said during an appearance on 'The Daily Show,' his last with Jon Stewart as host. . . ."
- "Christy Arboscello, a dogged former Free Press reporter who wrote about crime, courts and Macomb County, died Monday after a long battle with cancer," Daniel Bethencourt reported Monday for the Detroit Free Press. "She was 34. Arboscello had first been diagnosed with cancer nine years ago, and had been fighting the disease when it returned and spread. In the last few months, she had been in hospice care. . . ."
- "The Society of Professional Journalists has chosen Robert Hernandez, associate professor of professional practice at University of Southern California-Annenberg, as the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. His primary focus is exploring and developing the intersection of technology and journalism," SPJ announced on July 14. "Each year, SPJ honors an outstanding journalism educator who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession and/or journalism education. . . ."
- "Wali F. Muhammad, who got his broadcasting start as an announcer on the radio show of his grandfather, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, became a popular disc jockey in the secular world," Maureen O'Donnell wrote Monday for the Chicago Sun-Times. She also wrote, "The Chatham resident died July 16 at age 67 from complications from a fall at his home on May 6, said his daughter, Naeemah Muhammad-McMillon. . . . Wali Muhammad mentored many fledgling members of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. . . . "
- Carla E. Wills, executive producer of news and public affairs at WEAA-FM in Baltimore, a Morgan State University station, is joining "Democracy, Now!" as a senior news producer, the show's general manager, Julie Crosby, told Journal-isms by email on Tuesday. "She will identify stories to cover, research and pre-interview guests, write for broadcast and the web, select visual elements to enhance storytelling and work on field productions," Crosby messaged.
- "At an internal CNN town hall event Wednesday, CNN president Jeff Zucker defended primetime anchor Don Lemon's on-air use of a sign emblazoned with the N-word," Jordan Chariton reported for TheWrap. "A CNN insider told TheWrap that Zucker was asked about the stunt that opened Lemon’s show in June in the wake of President Obama's use of the word during a podcast and of the Charleston church massacre. 'Zucker said it's not something for a daily basis, but Don was trying to make a point,' the insider said. The person who asked seemed concerned with Lemon's actions, which many media observers condemned as a classless stunt. . . ."
- "Hillary Clinton's campaign leads those of major Democratic presidential candidates in staff diversity, according to an analysis by a diversity hiring organization," Dayana Morales Gomez reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. Citing July 1 FEC filings, the group reported that Clinton's staff is 32 percent nonwhite, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's staff is 9 percent nonwhite and the staff of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is 10 percent nonwhite.
- "MadameNoire, a site that caters to the interests of African-American women, digs deeper than some other lifestyle publications serving a similar audience," Valerie Berrios wrote Tuesday for FishbowlNY as part of a MediaBistro series on freelance opportunities. "Freelancers interested in pitching MadameNoire should keep this in mind and be prepared to put on their reporter’s hats. . . ."
- Funeral services for Glennwood Branche, who recently retired as vice president of operations at the ABC News bureau in Washington, are scheduled for Monday at the 19th Street Baptist Church, 4606 16th St. NW in Washington. Visitation is 10 a.m. with a service at 11. Branche died of leukemia at age 62.
- Responding to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists that the government of Kenya had failed to uphold its commitment to a free press, Dr. Fred Matiang'i, minister of information communications and technology, told CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, "Our Government respects freedom of press and in return we expect Journalists to exercise professionalism and responsibility in their practice." Simon paid Matiang'i a courtesy call in his office on Friday, Moses Nyandika reported Monday for the Kenyan government.