Shocking Findings in Probe of Ga. Police Shootings

Nearly half the 184 Georgians shot and killed by police since 2010 were unarmed or shot in the back
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Reporters Uncover Fate of Victims of Ga. Police

"Nearly half the 184 Georgians shot and killed by police since 2010 were unarmed or shot in the back, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation has found," Brad Schrade and Jennifer Peebles reported Monday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Those findings emerged from the most extensive review of police shootings ever undertaken in Georgia, and cast doubt on claims by police that deadly force was always justified. The AJC and Channel 2 reported in October that every police shooting case since 2010 had been deemed lawful in the state's criminal justice system. . . ."

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The AJC story is part of renewed news media scrutiny of the use of deadly force by police. A Washington Post team reported Tuesday, "More than 50 police officers involved in fatal shootings this year had previously fired their guns in deadly on-duty shootings, according to a Washington Post investigation.

"For a handful of officers, it was their third fatal shooting. For one officer, it was his fourth," the article by Keith L. Alexander, with reporting by Steven Rich, Amy Brittain, Wesley Lowery and Sandhya Somashekhar said.

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"The findings concerned many law enforcement experts, who said that most officers never fire their weapons on the job. The analysis also exposed another gap in the federal government's oversight of fatal police shootings nationwide: the absence of a system for tracking multiple shootings by individual officers. . . ."

In Texas, a grand jury on Monday decided that no felony crime was committed by sheriff's officers or jailers in the death of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Chicago-area black woman jailed after trooper Brian Encinia pulled her over for not signaling a lane change.

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Paul J. Weber of the Associated Press wrote Tuesday of a larger issue involving the Texas state police.

"Records obtained by The Associated Press show at least six formal complaints have been found valid since the beginning of 2012 against members of the nearly 4,000-strong force for violating traffic stop procedures — the kind of incidents like the one involving Encinia and Bland. Two troopers received written reprimands, and the others received suspensions ranging from 1 to 30 days without pay.

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"But the department cannot put a number on informal accusations raised against troopers — such as rudeness or attitude — in which citizens don't sign their names to affidavits that trigger formal investigations. Law enforcement watchdogs said that is a glaring departure from most major U.S. police departments that keep tally of all citizen contacts, even for accusations that are considered minor or quickly proven baseless upon reviewing patrol-car video. . . ."

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, "Hundreds of protesters shut down stores, light-rail trains and traffic to the airport Wednesday afternoon, creating a rolling wave of disruption on one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year," Kelly Smith, David Chanen and John Reinan reported for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

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Protesters were seeking justice for Jamar Clark, "who died after being shot by Minneapolis police in a scuffle Nov. 15. Activists claim he was handcuffed when he was shot, an assertion denied by police officials," the trio wrote.

The Star Tribune editorial board warned expected demonstrators Tuesday, "What is not in dispute is that the Mall of America is not a public space and that it has the right to protect its property rights, business purpose and the safety of those who work and visit there."

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The editorial added, "Hennepin County District Judge Karen Janisch acknowledged as much in a ruling Tuesday that barred three Black Lives leaders from the protest. But she noted that a restraining order could not be granted against an entire group that is not a legal entity and has no formal membership. Janisch was quick to note that her order was not to be interpreted as a sanctioning of the protest. . . ."

In Georgia, "The AJC/Channel 2 investigation also found black Georgians killed by police were more likely to be shot in the back or unarmed than whites. About three out of five blacks were unarmed or shot in the back, compared to about two out of five whites. Seventy-eight percent of the officers who discharged their weapons were white," Schrade and Peebles reported.

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"Overall, police fatally shot black citizens at a rate twice that of whites based on population figures, the investigation found. . . .

"The case of Maurice Hampton illustrates many of the findings identified by the AJC's investigation. An Atlanta police officer pulled over Hampton for running a stop sign in 2011 as he headed to his new job as a dishwasher at a southwest Atlanta night club. Hampton, a black parolee, had no driver's license. He got out of his car and ran. Minutes later, he was dead. . . ."

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Schrade and Peebles also wrote, "In all, reporters conducted more than 100 interviews, obtained more than 500 public records and analyzed thousands of pages of incident reports, investigative files and court records. . . ."

Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia clears way for mentally ill to buy guns

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: New Orleans violence claims men, women, children — even babies in utero

Editorial, Baltimore Sun: Will there be justice for Sandra Bland? [accessible via search engine]

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Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times: Missouri shows us why smart gun laws are needed

Sharon Grigsby, Dallas Morning News: Only consolation in Sandra Bland decision: Trooper not off the hook yet

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Cynthia McFadden, NBC News: 'Uber for Cops': Entrepreneur Creates App to Combat Crime in New Orleans (video)

Jim Mitchell, Dallas Morning News: Bernie Sanders: Bland wouldn't have died if she were white. Really?

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Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Laquan McDonald case reveals child-welfare system's flaws

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Another family questions police killing (Dec. 14)

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Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: A Cleveland orphan breaks the cycle of inner-city violence (Dec. 12)

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Lax gun laws, KC's homicide rates show how black lives don't matter to Missouri’s politicians

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Jackie Spinner, Columbia Journalism Review: How Chicago's Spanish language media is covering Laquan McDonald and Anita Alvarez

Mark Joseph Stern, Slate: How to Frame a Man for Murder

Washington Post Pulls Cartoon Depicting Cruz, Daughters

On Saturday, Eric Reed posted on his buzzpo.com site:

"Ted Cruz is poised to release a hilarious new campaign ad that will debut during Saturday Night Live in certain Iowa markets.

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"The parody ad features the Texas senator once again reading story books to his young daughters. Some of the titles are 'Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer,' 'How Obamacare stole Christmas,' and 'The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails. " The daughters join in.

The rest of the story made national news on Wednesday.

"Ted Cruz is furious with the Washington Post for an editorial cartoon depicting his two young daughters as leashed dancing monkeys," Fox News Latino wrote.

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"The cartoon, which was drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ann Telnaes, sparked immediate controversy and was later taken down by the Post, but not before Cruz launched an 'emergency' fundraising effort to pull in $1 million in 24 hours.

" 'My daughters are not FAIR GAME,' Cruz wrote in a fundraising email sent late Tuesday. 'I'm sickened … I knew I'd be facing attacks from day one of my campaign, but I never expected anything like this.'

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"Accusing the 'liberal media' of attempting to 'attack and destroy me (and my family) by any means necessary,' Cruz railed against the cartoon that depicts his two young daughters, Catherine, 4, and Caroline, 7, being paraded around by Cruz, who is dressed in as Santa Claus in cowboy boots and carrying an organ grinder.

"Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said that it was generally the Post's policy 'to leave children out of it.'

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" 'I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published,' he said in an editor's note. 'I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree.' . . ."  Telnaes' cartoon, which is animated, runs only online.

In an email discussion among the Association of Opinion Journalists, some invoked the unwritten rule cited by Hiatt to "leave the children out of it." One said a written editorial would have been a better response to Cruz's "parody ad." But some defended Telnaes.

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"Contrary voice here," wrote J.R. Labbe, former editorial director of the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas. "Politicians can't use their children as props and expect people to not criticize them. Was Ann's cartoon inartful? Maybe. But it's one thing to have a still photo of the happy political family on a push card; it's another entirely to script the kiddies to act out political parts in a video."

Callum Borchers, Washington Post: Why that now-retracted Washington Post cartoon is a gift to Ted Cruz

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Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star: Future five remaining GOP presidential candidates could give Republicans a more diverse pack than the Democratic Party could have ever fielded

David A. Love, theGrio.com: Ted Cruz: The other wildly extreme GOP frontrunner (Dec. 15)

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David Weigel, Washington Post: Supporters trust Ted Cruz, even when the tape says not to

Disney Wants Out of Fusion, Partnership With Univision

"Walt Disney Co. and Univision are in talks for Disney to exit Fusion, Fusion, [accessible via search engine] their joint venture cable and digital news network aimed at millennials that has struggled to gain traction since it launched two years ago, according to people familiar with the matter," Keach Hagey and Joe Flint reported Tuesday for the Wall Street Journal.

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"Both sides are trying to find a way for Disney to exit by the end of the year, some of the people said. While Univision buying out Disney's stake is one of the options being discussed, it isn't the only one, according to some of the people. Fusion was launched in October 2013 as a partnership between Disney's ABC News and Univision, the Spanish language broadcaster. It was originally conceived as a channel targeting English-speaking Hispanics.

"The idea was to give ABC News more access to the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the U.S., while giving Univision — which has seen its audience age in recent years — entree to a younger demographic. Univision handled the content side of the channel while Disney was in charge of distribution and advertising sales. But Fusion's programming strategy never fully jelled and the network ended up jettisoning the original concept in favor of a channel aimed at all millennials with a focus on pop culture and technology. . . ."

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Detroit Reporter Spends Retirement Tracking a Killing

"The clock was running down on Bill Proctor's 40-year career in broadcast news," Jessica Lussenhop reported Monday for the BBC. "Instead, he has been trying to track a killer.

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"His colleagues at WXYZ-TV, an ABC-affiliate television station in Detroit, Michigan, were already compiling his 'greatest hits' reel, with the foregone conclusion there were no more great hits to come.

"Then Proctor's phone rang. A strange woman's voice told him she had information about a murder.

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"In the mid-1990s, 'Amanda' — who asked the BBC to withhold her name — was a crack addict living on Detroit's west side. She claimed that, one night, in the middle of a smoking binge, a man she described as a casual boyfriend left her apartment to buy more drugs from a dealer in the building. When he returned, she told Proctor, his hands and jacket were covered in blood.

" 'I think I killed her,' she recalled him saying.

"Amanda said her boyfriend forced her to gather a few things and flee to a house he shared with his brother a few blocks away. For weeks, she said, he menaced her and wouldn't let her out of his sight. When it became clear the law wasn't looking for him, she said that he started to relax, and she was able to slip away.

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"The police, she would find out much later, had arrested a different man.

"Proctor listened intently. It was a crazy story told almost two decades later by a woman who admitted she was high at the time. But she had been trying to get someone to listen to her for years, she said, and had even gone in person to the police in 2012 to file an official report. But nothing seemed to have come of it.

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"She gave Proctor the boyfriend's full name, then told him something that made his stomach turn.

" 'You were the investigative reporter on the case," she said. . . ."

Lussenhop also wrote, "If Amanda was to be believed, it was Proctor who had got the story horribly wrong. . . ."

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Are Black Protests on White Campuses "Whiny"?

"Critics in the media and academia have rolled their eyes at black students' claims of 'trauma' and calls for 'safe spaces,' " Gene Demby wrote Tuesday for NPR's "Code Switch."

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"They point to a few instances of ill-conceived, ham-fisted protests by some of these student activists as evidence that their complaints are, at best, embarrassing and childish and, at worst, evidence of the advancing forces of political correctness. . . .

"But a fair number of post-collegiate black folks I've talked to have also expressed these sorts of sentiments toward the campus protesters, suggesting they're 'whiny' and 'entitled.'

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"To be sure, there's a different tenor to their bristling. They're less likely to suggest that today's black students are suffering from paranoid delusions of discrimination on campus because they lived through much of the same.

"The good ol' boy antagonism of Old South Week, the annual parade of blackface/brownface parties around Halloween, the testy run-ins with campus police who think you're trespassing. In fact, it's because so many older black folks survived a gantlet of racial jankiness in college that they've adopted a 'kids these days' attitude toward today's protesters and their grievances. . . ."

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Meanwhile, Martín Xavi Macías, a self-described Chicano journalist, wrote of his sympathy for black students demanding their own "space," even on public property and also when journalists have a right to be in that space, too.

"On November 24, the day the Chicago Police Department released video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by an officer, protesters gathered outside the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez," Macias wrote Friday for yesmagazine.com.

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"Inside, dozens of chairs lined the walls. Snacks and coffee had been laid out for guests in a corner of the room. The space was set up for what was billed as a public meeting to discuss the video.

"But activists were denied entry by staff and police officers. As tensions rose and a yelling match began, I attempted to interview people amid the commotion and was rebuffed, over and over again.

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"A young black activist turned to me and said I was 'taking up valuable black space at an action about black suffering.'

"Reading between the lines, I knew I was being asked to move. I agreed. As a Chicano journalist who comes from an activist tradition, I know the front lines of any movement calling for justice are (and should be) led by those directly, and most severely, impacted by the injustice. As a cisgendered, able-bodied, 'Latino-looking' man, I don't experience police and state violence on the scale that black people do. So I reconsidered my position, and I put my notebook down. . . ."

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Jim Sleeper, author of 1997's "Liberal Racism: How Fixating on Race Subverts the American Dream" and a lecturer in political science at Yale, had been dubbed a liberal-turned-conservative on race. He wrote Journal-isms about his current perspective, expressed in a pieceNov. 25 in Salon:

"I'm thinking that your readers might be interested (and a few of the older ones perhaps surprised) to see the section of this very long piece that's entitled 'Black Afflictions'," wrote Sleeper, who is white. "As the first paragraph of the whole piece reminds readers, I've often been a stringent critic of black protest strategies, especially during the 1980s and 1990s — not because I thought that racism was declining, but because I argued that the strategies were counter-productive. This time, I'm basically on the side of the protestors, whose BLM and other strategies are mostly very different from those of the late 1980s and '90s.

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"Some of them seem to me reminiscent of the best of earlier strategies; as I say here, I don't agree with Todd Gitlin's drawing too strong a distinction between today's campus protesters and those of the civil-rights movement, partly because we need to remember that any undergraduate student body is a civil society on training wheels, not quite the real thing, and partly because civil society in general is more scary these days, for everyone, not only people of color, and I think that a lot of people realize this. . . ."

Sleeper's "Black Afflictions" section in Salon begins, "A four-walled vise presses in upon every black student at Yale, even as doors in those walls open and close unpredictably and the walls themselves sometimes seem to withdraw – all this invisible to most of us, its pressures unseen and unfelt. . . ."

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Danny Funt, Columbia Journalism Review: At Yale, a fiery debate over who's being silenced

Fred McKissack, Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.: A solitary struggle: Black journalist feels pull of conflicting loyalties 

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Sam Sanders, NPR: Obama Warns Campus Protesters Against Urge To 'Shut Up' Opposition

Jim Sleeper, Washington Monthly: Student Protests and Free Speech (Dec. 10)

Dianne Solís and Holly K. Hacker, Dallas Morning News: #BlackAtSMU_  (Dec. 17)

Lilly Workneh, HuffPost BlackVoices: 11 Big Accomplishments Black Activists Achieved In 2015

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General Rethinks Plans to Reduce Media Access to Gitmo

"Hours after the White House objected to new limits on journalists’ access to the U.S. military's detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the general who oversees the facility said he is reconsidering his rules and weighing a plan that might reinstate access," James Rosen reported Dec. 17 for the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

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"Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, denied that he was trying to restrict reporters' ability to cover the detention center despite reports that he had reduced reporters' visits to just four times a year and only for a day each time. . . ."

Ben Fox added Dec. 17 for the Associated Press, "Members of the news media have been visiting Guantanamo since it opened in January 2002 to hold suspected members of al-Qaida and the Taliban. That continued as the detention center evolved from little more than a collection of outdoor cages baking in the Cuban sun to a modern prison complex. That access has always come with extreme limitations. Journalists have been required to sign thick packets of ground rules, subject photos and video to security screening before either can be published and accept that many questions will go unanswered. . . ."

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Rosen also wrote, "It has been more than two months since any reporter visited the military prison. The next tour is scheduled for February, but Southcom has said there will be no access inside the prisons on that trip.

"For most of the period since the Guantánamo prison opened in January 2002, four months after the Sept. 11 attacks, up to 20 journalists could see detainees on weeks when there were no military commission hearings.

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"Journalists, who typically arrived on a Monday and left on a Thursday, were not allowed to talk with the detainees, but they could view them and interview military staff members who worked in the detention center.

"Kelly's new rules would end those conversations as well.

" 'As it stands today, there is no opportunity for journalists to go inside the detention center or interview key military personnel about their duty there,' said Dave Wilson, a senior editor who has overseen the Miami Herald's prize-winning coverage of Guantánamo. 'The last journalists visited more than two months ago. So unless something changes, and soon, we’re looking at a long stretch of time without independent reporting.'

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Rosen added, "Kelly said his decision had been prompted in part by the 'abusive' behavior toward military personnel of a reporter who visited the naval base and the prison in October."

The Miami Herald editorialized on Tuesday, "Reporters who demonstrably misbehave should be barred. But why exclude the world's press to punish just one individual? And if there are stresses on the staff, the details should be made public so that a justified increase in staff funding can be considered.

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"Gen. Kelly also said he was frustrated with reporters who asked questions about President Obama's thwarted efforts to close Gitmo, which members of the military can't discuss. Really? Just say 'No comment' and get over it. It's hardly a substantial reason to impose a 361-day-per-year news blackout. . . ."

Group Links Fox News Viewers, Expressions of Racism

"Since the election of Obama in 2008, Americans have become increasingly polarized about racial issues," Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel reported Tuesday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

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"At the same time, Americans have also become more polarized in their news media viewing habits. In the wake of horrifying events like the racially motivated mass murder in a Charleston church, some have connected these trends; Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 3/19/15), for example, criticized Fox News for ignoring the reality of systemic racism.

"Is there any merit to such criticisms? Do media and racial polarization reinforce each other? Is there a connection between news media viewing habits and attitudes about racial equality? Based on an analysis of the American National Election Studies 2012 dataset, we find that white respondents who regularly watch Fox News are more likely to express attitudes of symbolic racism and racial resentment. This is especially true of those Fox News viewers who live in the South.

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"One common expression of racial resentment is the stereotype that black people have disproportionate influence over the levers of power. Though people of color are far more likely to live under an unrepresentative city council and have far less influence over policy, many racist whites wrongly think that government disproportionately benefits non-whites through social programs.

"Our analysis suggests that regular Fox News viewers are more likely to hold such opinions, even after controlling for other factors such as individual race, age, income, education, partisanship, ideology, religiosity and geography. . . ."

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Howard U. Debunks Claim About Black Dollar Circulation

"The claim that a dollar circulates in the black community for only six hours cannot be substantiated," Brookie Madison, a staff writer for TruthBeTold.news, a new fact-checking website from the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University, wrote this week.

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"The federal government does not produce data that would allow such a comparison.

"In addition, economists contacted by TruthBeTold.news said some of the data cited [by those making the claim], such as information about dollars circulating in the Jewish community, is questionable because the federal government does not collect information by religion. And researchers would be unable to get the information accurately from a survey of consumers.

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"The earliest source of the statistic appears to be a book that is nearly 20 years old. The book also never mentions the name of the study nor provides any information about the author. . . ."

Rhonda Swan, Fla. Opinion Writer, Dies of Breast Cancer

"Rhonda Swan, 51, a former Palm Beach [Fla.] Post editorial writer, author, life coach and loving mother and grandmother, died Wednesday morning in Springfield, Mass., of complications from breast cancer, friends said," Tony Doris reported Wednesday for the Post.

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"Friends and former colleagues described her as a determined, independent woman with a brilliant smile, one who chose her path in life and toward death, on her own terms.

"Around 2011, she went for a mammogram but forgot her prescription, so the hospital wouldn't perform the procedure. She ended up not getting one for another year, then undergoing a mastectomy soon after she did because cancer was detected.

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"After her diagnosis with a return of breast cancer in 2014, she left The Post and moved to Costa Rica, where she pursued alternative treatments. She spent her last days in a hospice, near family in Springfield."

Doris also wrote, "An author and award-winning journalist, she worked as an editorial writer, editor and reporter for the Post from 2005 to 2014. Prior to that she served as deputy city editor for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.; and Family/Community Team editor at The Daily Press, in [Newport News], Va. . . .

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"Her book, 'Dancing to the Rhythm of My Soul: A Sister's Guide for Transforming Madness into Gladness,' was a memoir based on Swan's spiritual journey that also served as a self-help guide. Swan wrote two novels, 'I Saw Your Profile' and 'Exposed: The Consequences of Truth.' She also published a volume of poetry, 'Speaking My Mind … in Poetic Verse.' . . .”

She is a past president of the Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists.

Ozell Sutton Dies, Integrated Arkansas' White Newsrooms

"Ozell Sutton, an Arkansas native whose work with the civil-rights movement began as the first black journalist at the Arkansas Democrat and led him to state and national political appointments, died Saturday at the age of 90, his family said," John Moritz reported Monday for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock.

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"When he was hired by the Democrat after graduating from Philander Smith College in 1950, it was the first time a black reporter was employed by a white-owned newspaper in the state, according to previous Democrat-Gazette coverage.

"In 1957, Sutton was involved with the desegregation crisis at Central High School, where he reported being beaten.

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"Sutton accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights leaders to the March on Washington in 1963 and to Selma, Ala., in 1965.

"He was staying with King when King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. . . . "

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Short Takes

"Fox Sports 1 personality Colleen Dominguez is accusing her employer of age discrimination, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Central District of California," Samer Kalaf reported Dec. 17 for Deadspin. "The suit, which lists Dominguez’s age as 54, claims that when the correspondent was hired on March 1, 2014, Fox Sports 1 described her as a 'key personality' in the agreement, and expected her to play a major role in its coverage. Despite that sentiment, the complaint said, Dominguez's assignments quickly diminished. Dominguez claimed that she started working on getting interviews for her own benefit, because Fox Sports 1 wouldn't give her anything. . . ."

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"Oklahoma City meteorologist Shelby Hays has apologized for using the term 'Indian giver' on air Wednesday morning," Mark Joyella reported Wednesday for TVSpy. " 'I send my deepest apologies,' Hays said in a post on Facebook. 'I had no idea that’s what it meant. I have been informed now & can promise I will never say that again. We live & we learn.' While discussing the 'gift' of a nice weather forecast for the holidays, Hays said things would change quickly by the weekend. 'It's the Indian gift-giving, that's what my Dad calls it, where you get something and it gets taken away.' . . . " 

"Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s National Press Club speech will be aired for the first time since they were delivered 53 years ago at a special 7:30 pm event on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Club's ballroom" in Washington, the club announced. "In July 1962 Dr. King became the first African American to speak at the Club. An audio recording was made of the speech and filed away in the Club’s Archives and later transferred to the Library of Congress. No television footage of the speech in its entirety exists. . . . The program will be aired on SiriusXM Radio’s Urban View Channel."

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Jeff Ballou, a news editor/manager at Al Jazeera English has been elected vice president of the National Press Club. The National Association of Black Journalists issued congratulations on Dec. 16.

President Obama should not visit Cuba, as he has hinted he might, without putting black Cubans Esteban Morales and Gloria Rolando "at the top of his list of people to meet for mojitos or a bottle of Cristal — and a truly revealing conversation about black life in Cuba," DeWayne Wickham, longtime columnist and dean of the School of Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University, wrote Wednesday for The Root. Wickham has been to Cuba 20 times and taken journalists and students on 19 of those trips.

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"In what First Amendment advocates are calling a victory for the media and access to public information, an appellate court Tuesday dismissed a judge's decision last month ordering The Palm Beach Post to remove portions of a story and transcripts of recorded calls of a jailhouse informant from the newspaper's website," Daphne Duret reported for the Florida newspaper. The SunSentinel in Fort Lauderdale said in an editorial that in one call, confessed murderer Frederick Cobia told his daughter, "I'm the only person in the United States' history that could ever provide testimony that could close over 60 murder cases, you hear me? I know a lot, sweetie. I'm gonna sit down and write a book about all these different murders and what happened and how they happened. . . ."

"The number of immigrants deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropped for the third consecutive year in 2015, according to figures the Department of Homeland Security released Tuesday," Roque Planas reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. "The data also shows a decline in the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally into the United States, even as talk of cracking down on illegal entries from Mexico has played an outsized role in the 2016 Republican presidential debates. . . ."

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"On Wednesday morning, the Norfolk Police held a news conference to discuss the recent string of homicides in the city," Kevin Green reported for WAVY-TV in Norfolk, Va. "Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith addressed the 33 homicides for the year — and the 14 that remain unsolved. Police say that seven of those have little to no information. Today, police appealed to the community for help, showing the seven cases through the eyes of the victim's family. This included the family of Joseph Bose, the Hampton University journalism student shot to death walking to his car around Halloween. . . ."

The Asian American Journalists Association is accepting applications for co-director, faculty members, photographer and videographer for its Media Institute. The application deadline is Jan. 8. For questions, contact AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow at kathyc@aaja.org.

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L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz" novels, and Adolf Hitler "had one thing in common: both called for the extermination of a race of people; Hitler the Jews, and Baum, the Sioux people of South Dakota," Tim Giago wrote Monday for Native Sun News. He added, "American journalists should at least investigate and report on the genocidal proclamations of Mr. Baum. I wrote about him on the front page of USA Today in December of 1990 and I did not see one follow-up by any other media. . . ."

"Raycom Media has named a new Regional News Director," Rick Gevers reported Sunday for his newsletter. "It's JAMES FINCH, who's been the news director for the company's FOX affiliate in Birmingham [Ala.], WBRC-TV, for more than seven years. [He] first joined the station almost 20 years ago as a photojournalist and producer, and moved into news management in 2000. James previously spent six years in the Marines as a combat correspondent. . . ."

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"The Sports Journalism Institute is set to welcome another class of students to the family as we prepare for boot camp this summer in Columbia, Mo.," the institute announced this week. "A group of four women and eight men make up the Class of 2016, which will be in residence at the University of Missouri School of Journalism from May 27-June 3, with students moving on to internships around the country. . . ."

"Charles F. Harris, an editor and publisher who pushed commercial and academic presses to embrace black writers, explore black issues and court black readers, died on Dec. 16 in Manhattan," Bruce Weber reported Tuesday for the New York Times. "He was 81. The cause was colon cancer, his son Francis said. Mr. Harris began his career in publishing at Doubleday & Company in the mid-1950s, when black editors were rare and the prevailing notion in the book business was that, with few exceptions, writing by black authors or aimed at black readers belonged to a niche market that was at worst inconsequential and at best narrow and unprofitable. He spent much of his career defying that premise. . . ."

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"Japanese-Americans are teaming up with Muslim groups to call for an end to anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino," KTVU-TV in San Francisco reported on Tuesday.

"CNN's Don Lemon abruptly ended an interview with conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter after the conversation veered from Donald Trump's recent comments about Hillary Clinton's bathroom use to a heated back and forth about President Bill Clinton's sexual trysts," Elizabeth Preza reported Tuesday for Mediaite.  

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Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it "calls on the Japanese government to do everything possible to obtain the release of Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese freelance journalist who was kidnapped in Syria in July and who is still being held hostage by an armed group. According to the information obtained yesterday by RSF, those holding Yasuda have started a countdown for the payment of a ransom, failing which they are threatening to execute him or sell him to another terrorist group. . . ."

"Leaders from African unions took the lead in representing journalists at the experts meeting of the two-day 'Forum on Media in Africa,' organised by the Moroccan government and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation last week in Marrakech," the International Federation of Journalists reported on Tuesday. Stanis Nkundiye, treasurer of the Federation of African Journalists, "reminded the ministers and government officials from Africa that journalists faced increased physical dangers such as targeting, arbitrary arrest and intimidation, just for doing their jobs. He cited the imminent trial in a military tribunal of three journalists in the Cameroon for protecting their sources and urged the trial to be halted and the charges withdrawn. . . ."

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"The Sudanese authorities suspended one of the country’s leading papers and charged its owner with spreading 'false news' and undermining the state, the owner said Wednesday," the Associated Press reported. "The development was the latest in the ongoing crackdown on press freedom in the African country. Following the charges, Osman Mirghani, the owner and editor-in-chief of daily al-Tayar, said he was due in court next week, along with journalist Ahmed Youssef al-Tay, the editor-in-chief of another paper, Assayha. . . ."

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