Shaun King Is Out: Daily News Loses Its Activist Black Columnist

  • Black Lives Matter’s King Joining Harvard Project
  • N.Y. Times Invites Readers to Chat About Race
  • Jordan Chosen as J-Educator Furthering Diversity
  • RTDNA: Trump Threatens Journalists’ Safety
  • Arizona Republic Pans Trump as Feeding Paranoia
  • Latino Groups Praise CBS Strides Toward Inclusion
  • Lee Flap Attributed to ESPN’s Fear of Negative Press
  • Village Voice Ending Print Edition After 62 Years
  • Mexican Reporter Killed While Under Protection 
Shaun King tweeted, I “have poured my heart into 637 different columns over these past few years.”

Black Lives Matter’s King Joining Harvard Project

Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist who writes prolifically and controversially for the Daily News in New York as its “senior justice writer,” is leaving the news organization to become a writer-in-residence at the Harvard University-based Fair Punishment Project, King announced Wednesday.


“We will miss Shaun’s passionate voice and perspective, and we have begun to focus on how best to provide new coverage to the issues he addressed,” News Editor-in-Chief Arthur Browne told Journal-isms by email. “I do not yet know what form the coverage will take.”

In his tweet, King wrote:


King, 37, brought to the News a continuing perspective rarely seen in mainstream media. Today, others debate whether Confederate generals should be honored with statues, but in March, King went further by opposing honoring slaveholding American presidents such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. He wrote, AdolfHitler is a monster who should never be honored.

Just as this is true for Hitler, it is true for any American President who ever owned human beings and forced them into a life of slavery. The Holocaust and slavery are each an unjust disgrace. . . .”


In June, King expressed despair over his most consistent vexation, police brutality. “I am losing,” he wrote. “This isn’t me pointing the fingers at activists or organizations. I am right in the middle of this fight. I’ve marched. I’ve protested. I’ve organized. I’ve taught. I’ve petitioned. I’ve donated. I’ve lobbied. I’ve voted. I’ve campaigned. I’ve presented. I’ve written. I’ve tweeted. I’ve Facebooked. I’ve strategized. I’ve televised. I’ve radioed.

“For three straight years, I’ve thrown everything I’ve known to throw at the problem of police brutality in America, and by all measures, the problem is now worse than it was before I did any of those things.


“We are losing. We are being outspent, out-organized, and out-maneuvered by an unjust system that is so deeply entrenched and so well fortified with the principles of white supremacy, racism and classism that in spite of all of our collective efforts, injustice marches on. It isn’t skipping a beat. . . .”

In March, King declared President Trump “mentally unfit to hold the Office of President. As a result, he should be immediately removed from office.”


The biracial King aroused such antipathy from some on the right that claims circulated that King was actually a white man in disguise. King said his father was a light-skinned black man, and not white, as his birth certificate indicated, apparently falsely.

He drew a rousing defense from the Daily News editorial board, which noted that “the pursuit of King’s racial make-up had overtones that recalled among the ugliest of the crimes of U.S. society at large: the one-drop rule.” The editorial scolded, “attempting to discredit opponents by delving into their racial identities without far more care than shown here is repugnant.”


As an activist who used his social media expertise to raise money for the victims of police shootings, King was also the target of suspicions about where the money was going.

He responded by publishing “A complete accounting of every dollar raised by Shaun King throughout the Black Lives Matter Movement.”


The columnist also fought off allegations of plagiarism.

The Fair Punishment Project is a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute, the Accountable Justice Collaborative (at The Advocacy Fund), and the Bronx Defenders.


Executive Director Rob Smith told Journal-isms by telephone Wednesday that King would be the first of several writers in residence and that more details would be announced.

King was most recently at the Daily Kos when the News tapped him in 2015 for the newly created role of senior justice writer. “Shaun’s writing on social inequality, police brutality and race relations in America has been some of the best work done in the country,Jim Rich, then executive editor, wrote when King was hired. “His passion and attention to detail on topics that are of critical importance to our readers — both online and in print — make him a perfect fit for the Daily News. . . .”

The New York Times made this offer on Wednesday.

N.Y. Times Invites Readers to Chat About Race

The New York Times Wednesday invited subscribers to join “A conference call to confront racism . . . Your direct line to reporters at the front lines of the racial divide.”

Marc Lacey

“In response to readers’ questions about the events in Charlottesville and its aftermath, we’re inviting you to participate in an Insider-only conference call between John Eligon, national correspondent covering race, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, domestic affairs correspondent,” the Times said in an email.


“The conversation, moderated by the national editor Marc Lacey, will mine the frontline experiences of Times journalists around the country.

“How do Times journalists work across desks to write about, and explore, the cause of the color divide? How are White House policies helping or hurting race relations, and how will they continue to play out on the national stage? Is white nationalism really increasing its reach, and if so, with whom? Bring your questions, and prepare to move beyond the rhetoric in this exclusive Times Insider event.”


The event takes place Aug. 29 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET. Subscribers who respond are to be emailed call-in numbers.

Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades-Ha explained by email, “This is part of our subscriber event programming, which includes digital and live experiences. We expect around 600-1000 to join the call. (The Times has 3.3 million total paid subscriptions including print, digital news and crosswords subscriptions.)


“Tuesday’s call is the second conference call. The first was held on July 18 and it focused on health care. Health and science editor Celia Dugger participated with Abby Goodnough.”

Separately, Elisabeth Bumiller, the Times’ Washington bureau chief, said Wednesday during a webcast on “Trump and the Press,” sponsored by the American Society of News Editors, that “the Washington bureau looks quite a bit different than it did a few years ago” in its diversity. She did not elaborate or respond to a request for further explanation.


Jordan Chosen as J-Educator Furthering Diversity

Gerald Jordan

Gerald Jordan, associate professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas, is the recipient of the 2017 Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship,” the American Society of News Editors announced Wednesday.Journal-isms readers participated in nominating candidates for the $1,000 award, given in recognition of an educator’s outstanding efforts to encourage students of color in the field of journalism.

It is to be presented Oct. 10 at the ASNE annual convention in Washington. A merger of ASNE and the Association of Opinion Journalists, which originated the fellowship, was completed in 2016.


Jordan was nominated by Miriam Pepper, associate editor at Opinion in a Pinch and former vice president for the editorial page at the Kansas City Star.

Pepper wrote of Jordan, “I agree with these fine words from his very old friend and former colleague Laura Hockaday, a retired Star editor in features.


“’He personifies warmth, humor and camaraderie. He seems to be always smiling and happy to see a colleague, old or new. He must be a fine and very popular professor at the University of Arkansas’s School of Journalism, where he has relished teaching in the home of the Razorbacks.’ ”

A published comment from one of his students:

“One of the best professors I’ve ever had. He treats everyone as an equal. The University of Arkansas is truly lucky to have this dude. . . . “

Phoenix police use gas on a protester outside the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday. President Trump held a rally in Phoenix earlier in the evening in which he launched “vicious attacks” on the news media. (Michael Chow/Arizona Republic/

RTDNA: Trump Threatens Journalists’ Safety

The Radio Television Digital News Association responded to President Trump’s “most vicious attacks to date on the U.S news media” Tuesday night in Phoenix by urging “reporters and photojournalists to be vigilant, and to take whatever steps they feel necessary to protect their personal safety while fulfilling their Constitutionally-guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.”


In a news release, Dan Shelley, RTDNA incoming executive director and leader of the organization’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, said, “Throughout his campaign, and throughout his first seven months in office, the president has consistently tried to make responsible journalists the villains in his effort to fire up his political base.

“We know that this kind of rhetoric has emboldened some people who don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media to act out against reporters and photojournalists at the national and local levels.”


RTDNA quoted an account of the Phoenix rally by Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times:

In an angry, unbridled and unscripted performance that rivaled the most sulfurous rallies of his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump sought to deflect the anger toward him against the news media, suggesting that they, not he, were responsible for deepening divisions in the country.


“ ‘It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions,’ Mr. Trump said. He added, ‘They’re very dishonest people.’

“ ‘The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news,’ he said. . . .”


The organization continued, “During the Charlottesville protests on August 11 and August 12, at least four journalists were attacked by people in the crowd. They are among at least 15 reporters and photojournalists who have been assaulted or accosted this year, as documented by the nonpartisan U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which RTDNA is a founding partner.

“ ‘As long as the person with the most powerful bully pulpit in the world continues to attack verbally the news media, journalists are at risk,’ Shelley added. . . .”The RTNDA report continued, “Many of RTDNA’s coverage guidelines address actions reporters can take to safeguard their safety. Also, one of RTDNA’s founding partners in the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the Committee to Protect Journalists, has published an extensive Journalist Security Guide. . . .”


Arizona Republic Pans Trump as Feeding Paranoia

Donald Trump’s trip to Phoenix displayed the deep political divisions in our country and provided a painful demonstration of why he is not the person to heal that divide,” the Arizona Republic and editorialized on Wednesday.


The editorial also addressed Trump’s disparagement of the media.

“A president truly committed to unity would not spend so much time attacking the media as ‘damned dishonest’ and ‘fake news,’ while trying to rewrite his own response to Charlottesville.


“It was Trump himself who blamed ‘both sides’ after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly. . . .

“He stooped to petty insults and once again went on about the size of his crowds while diminishing his opponents. In one faux magnanimous moment, he said he won’t criticize by name Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of whom Trump went on to lambaste nonetheless for not supporting his agenda enough.


“This speech was not about unity, despite his insistence that his ‘movement was built on love.’

“It was about retrenching. It was about blaming others. It was about feeding the paranoia of his passionate followers. . . .”


Dylan Byers, CNN Money: WSJ staffers unhappy with cautious treatment of President Trump

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: A Partial Eclipse of Bad News

Ron Dungan, the Republic | Who was that ‘Blacks for Trump’ guy at the Phoenix rally?


Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, NBC News Latino: A Side of Immigration Red Meat at Trump’s Arizona Rally

Wilmer Valderrama, left, and Rocky Carroll in a scene from “NCIS.” (Bill Inoshita/CBS)

Latino Groups Praise CBS Strides Toward Inclusion

After coming under intense fire for its continued lack of progress in featuring minorities and women in leading and key roles, CBS was hailed Tuesday by two national Latino organizations as a ‘leader’ in the inclusion of Latinos in prime-time television,” Greg Braxton reported for the Los Angeles Times.


“Heads of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the National Latino Media Council said in a statement that CBS has made impressive strides in honoring a 1999 memorandum of understanding with a multi-ethnic coalition to increase Latino representation in front of and behind the camera.

“ ‘In a short amount of time, CBS made substantial changes that have catapulted the network to a leader in the field when it comes to the inclusion of Latinos,’ Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said in the statement.


“ ‘This shows that great strides can be made when executives at the networks make hiring Latinos a priority, and we hope that every other network considers them an example to follow.’

“The praise for CBS comes just a few weeks after network executives were blasted by several journalists during the summer portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour for not following through on continued promises to increase diversity.


“Of the network’s six new shows, just one, ‘SWAT,’ features a minority lead, and none feature a woman in a leading role. Most of the performers of color on CBS comedies and dramas are part of ensemble casts, such as Wilmer Valderrama of ‘NCIS.’

“CBS has the lowest number of minority leads among broadcast networks and is the only one not to have a series built around a family of color. . . .”


“When asked about other minority groups who have been largely sidelined by CBS, Nogales said that he hoped they would make the same demands for inclusion as his organization. . . .”

The coalition said:

“. . . Specifically, the network has done the following:

“Doubled the number of Latino regular actors from 2016;

“Doubled the number of Latino writers since 2016;

“Agreed to order scripts from Latino writers and producers and look for stories relevant to that community; and


“Agreed to hear an additional 10 pitches from ten Latino writers/producers.”


Lee Flap Attributed to ESPN’s Fear of Negative Press

As the Robert Lee story was gaining Concorde-level speed last night on social media,” Richard Deitsch wrote Wednesday for Sports Illustrated, “a prominent ESPN on-air talent sent me a direct message on Twitter:

“ ‘If they don’t switch the guy, we get mocked for having a guy named Robert Lee on a Virginia game,’ said the ESPNer. ‘Can’t win.’


“There’s some truth there.

Robert Lee (Cindy Schultz/Albany Times Union)

“The sports announcer Robert Lee, best known prior to Tuesday night as the radio and television play by play voice of the Siena College (Loudonville, N.Y.) men’s basketball program, has found himself at the center of a major sports controversy on perceived political correctness run amok.”In what ESPN says was a joint decision between the broadcaster and the company, Lee was removed from broadcasting Virginia’s season-opening football game on Sept. 2 against William & Mary because of the similarity of his name to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. He was re-assigned to call Youngstown State at Pittsburgh on ESPN3 on the same day.

“ESPN senior director of communications Keri Potts told late Tuesday night that the company did not mandate Lee switch games and that the announcer was more comfortable not doing the assignment because of the potential mockery that could come from doing the game.


“ ‘We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name,’ the company said in a statement. ‘In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.’ . . .”

Deitsch also wrote, “Even if you believe ESPN on face here about protecting a broadcaster, it’s still a self-inflicted wound and a decision made out of fear of negative press. The company would have been far better served with Lee doing the game and dealing with the one-day fallout (if you can call it that) of jokes and snickers. This is obviously easy for me to say in hindsight, given I’m not the one dealing with it. . . .”


Village Voice Ending Print Edition After 62 Years

After more than 60 years, The Village Voice is stopping the presses,” Pete Vernon wrote Tuesday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Peter Barbey, the Pennsylvania-based owner who purchased the paper in 2015, announced the decision at a brief staff meeting today. The Voice will end its weekly print edition, the company said in a statement, but will ‘continue as a brand with its digital platform as well as a host of new events, products, and initiatives.’


“In an ideal world, the Voice would return to its glory days and fill the Gawker-sized hole in the current digital media landscape, and if that is Barbey’s goal, then a pivot away from pricey print makes sense. The Voice has reported double-digit increases in Web traffic since its site was redesigned in May. Playing out the optimistic approach, one could see a deep-pocketed owner committing to a strategy that pours resources into reporting and recaptures the adversarial approach that made the Voice an indispensable star in the firmament of New York journalism. . . . “

The roster of writers of color associated with the Voice over the years includes Amiri Baraka, Greg Tate, Stanley Crouch, Jill Nelson, Lisa Jones, Carol Cooper, Hilton Als, Peter Noel, Chanel Lee, Dasun Allah, Dennis Lim, Chisun Lee, Nita Rao, Andy Hsiao, Luis Francia, Ed Park, Pablo Guzman, Ed Morales, Jorge Morales, Enrique Fernandez, Colson Whitehead, Scott Poulson- Bryant, Steven Thrasher, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nick Charles, Terence Samuel and Thulani Davis.

Thulani Davis (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Davis, a writer and editor who worked at the Voice from 1978 to 1991 and 2001 to 2004 and now teaches at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, reflected Wednesday for Luke O’Neil in Esquire.


They wouldn’t let me write about jazz because I had too many friends who played jazz,” Davis said. “I got to discover reggae and rap. I was the first person to cover either of those things there. I saw Afrika Bambaataa, all those guys. I wrote my first review in rhyme. The first time I wrote a feature, I wrote about James Brown, and Nat Hentoff went around the building and asked who was I and went and told the editor, Whoever she is, keep her, she’s great.

He championed me through my first firing. He helped me get my first book published. Those people were awesome. The other thing I loved about the Voice was the art direction, the photographers, they made it beautiful.”


CJR’s Vernon also wrote, “The impulse to bemoan the print demise of one of journalism’s icons is tempting and most likely warranted, but Barbey argued that it was necessary. ‘The most powerful thing about the Voice wasn’t that it was printed on newsprint or that it came out every week,’ he said. ‘It was that The Village Voice was alive, and that it changed in step with and reflected the times and the ever-evolving world around it. I want The Village Voice brand to represent that for a new generation of people — and for generations to come.”

Camila Domonoske, NPR: New Yorkers Mourn End Of An Era As ‘Village Voice’ Ceases Print Edition


Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: Are alt-weeklies dying or just moving online?

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, New York Times: Long Live The Village Voice

John Leland and Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times: After 62 Years and Many Battles, Village Voice Will End Print Publication

Reporter Candido Rios Vazquez was killed Tuesday in Mexico’s Veracruz state. (

Mexican Reporter Killed While Under Protection

His phone rang, but Mexican newspaper reporter Candido Rios Vazquez didn’t answer,” Kate Linthicum reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times.


“On the other end was his boss, editor Cecilio Perez Cortes, who wanted to know whether his star crime writer could cover a deadly shooting in a small town near Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

“Rios, it turned out, wasn’t answering because he was one of the victims.

“The 57-year-old, who was enrolled in a government program to protect journalists after years chronicling corruption in one of the deadliest countries for reporters, was one of three people killed in Tuesday’s shooting in Veracruz state.


“Officials said Rios was shot to death at a corner store in Hueyapan de Ocampo. Also killed were a former police investigator with whom he was sharing a soda and a local rancher who may have been caught in the crossfire.

“Rios was at least the ninth journalist killed in Mexico so far this year. The spate of killings, which have targeted some of the country’s most prominent and respected reporters, has prompted international outcry, with human rights advocates and American officials pressing President Enrique Peña Nieto to do more to protect journalists and prosecute crimes against them. . . . .


Alex Pena and Gilad Thaler, CBS News: The Deadliest Assignment: Reporting in Mexico

Christopher Sherman, Associated Press: Mexico human rights official says reporter wasn’t target


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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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