A plaque honoring World War I soldiers on a Greenwood County, S.C., memorial separates those who served into “white” and “colored” sections. 
Jeffrey Collins/Associated Press

Black History Month a Good Time to Illuminate the Present

"Along Main Street in a small South Carolina city, there is a war memorial honoring fallen World War I and II soldiers, dividing them into two categories: 'white' and 'colored,' " Jeffrey Collins wrote last week from Greenwood, S.C., for the Associated Press.

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"Welborn Adams, Greenwood's white Democratic-leaning mayor, believes the bronze plaques are relics of the South's scarred past and should be changed in the spirit of equality, replaced like the 'colored' water fountains or back entrances to the movie theater that blacks were once forced to use.

"Yet the mayor's attempt to put up new plaques was blocked by a state law that brought the Confederate flag down from the Statehouse dome in 2000. The law forbids altering historical monuments in any way without approval from legislators. . . ."

Black History Month is not a favorite topic of newspaper editorial writers, according to search engine results and an inquiry among editorialists. But issues such as those of the war memorial in Greenwood, disparities between the races and the abuse of law-enforcement authority portrayed in the movie "Selma" illustrate how much the past is still with us. The surprise that has greeted "Selma's" recounting of conditions endured by African Americans 50 years ago underscores another reason for attention to history.

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"We have to see the story of race in this nation, how the stories intertwine and how much of the nation's historical narrative, largely written and sculpted by whites, often overshadows or outright fails to illustrate the impact, roles and stories of blacks," the Morning News of Florence, S.C., wrote on Thursday.

The Greenville News, another South Carolina paper, editorialized last week, "Move to the campus of Clemson University where there is a divisive debate in 2015 about the role in history of one of the founders of the university. Tillman Hall is named for Ben Tillman, a South Carolina governor elected in 1890 on a platform of brutal racism and a personal history of violently working to suppress the new freedoms of former slaves.

"Those former slaves were voting after the Civil War, and in many Southern counties, including Edgefield where Tillman lived, they could command a majority of the votes if allowed unobstructed access to the voting booth. Tillman best personifies the Southern leader who proudly used violence and intimidation to deny in reality the freedom that black citizens had come to be afforded through new laws.

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"Regardless of whether the name Tillman remains on what until 1946 was called Main Building on the Clemson campus, take a few minutes to learn more of the man's shameful history. Pop his name and Hamburg Massacre into your Internet browser, and then at the very least learn how his legacy lived well into the 1960s in our state. . . ."

Campus newspapers seemed more eager to discuss the month than their professional counterparts.

The Oklahoma Daily wrote last week, "Racism isn't dead in America and neglecting to talk about race won't make the problem go away. February is Black History Month and the perfect opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation about race in America. We believe speaking openly about racial issues is one of the best ways to address inequality, and what better place to start with than the University of Oklahoma. We encourage students to brush up on race at OU to remind them of our history, how far we've come and how far we have to go. Below are a few of the most important figures and events in the history of race at OU. . . ."

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In Greenwood, the Index-Journal editorialized Dec. 28 about the war memorial.

"In Edgefield, a museum was established to honor the Confederacy and its leaders. Established in a home that was once occupied by a Confederate officer who helped rend power from blacks and run Republicans out of state government following the Civil War is the Oakley Park Museum," the newspaper wrote.

"The existence of the museum in and of itself is of no real concern. At least, it should not be. Again, museums are a means of recounting and sharing important history. But if the museum truly celebrates what took place, if it truly is honoring the Red Shirts, who used violence in an effort to turn the tide on Reconstruction, then it has a misguided purpose.

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"Far better it would be if the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy made clear its operation of the museum is to provide historic perspective and be a teaching tool about yet another dark time in our state's history. Instead, with its apparent goal of celebrating and honoring those who sought a return to when blacks were held as slaves and treated as anything but equals, the museum becomes a symbol of a cause yet supported by some.

"Oakley Park should serve as a museum that can be visited by black and white alike in an effort to understand our state's history and learn where we erred in the treatment of our fellow Americans. It should not be a banner under which stragglers try to maintain intimidation of blacks and keep a misdirected cause alive.

"In Greenwood, Mayor Welborn Adams is leading a charge to replace plaques on the Uptown War Memorial that honors Greenwood's fallen in four wars — the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam. The plaques bearing the names of those who died in the world wars are separated by race, marked 'White' and 'Colored.'

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"Many signed onto the mayor's campaign, and with all the best of intentions and reasons. We too have questioned the need to have elements of segregation thrust onto the public's eyes, especially the visiting public that might view the plaques as an extension of and love for our past.

"But the plaques are historically accurate, and just as is the case with the Oakley Park Museum, that accuracy can be duly noted without being celebrated and honored. Changing the plaques does not change the fact that there was a time when blacks and whites who served in our armed forces did indeed serve separately. Replacing the plaques with new ones that simply list the fallen in alphabetical order might well have an unwanted effect by unwittingly removing a visible acknowledgement of the sacrifices black soldiers made for their country, a country only a handful of years earlier enslaved and killed them. . . ."

BlackPast.org: McLaurin, George W. (1887-1968)

K. Tempest Bradford, NPR "Code Switch": For Black History Month, Letters To Reveal And Inspire

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George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Black Press Called 'Essential' to Future Progress

Editorial, Central Michigan Life, Central Michigan University: Righting historical wrongs

Editorial, Daily Eastern News, Eastern Illinois University: Black History Month sends a wrong message (Feb. 3)

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Editorial, the Heights, Boston College: A Month For Reflection On Race In America (Feb. 2)

Editorial, Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette: Black History Month is a celebration of American history (Feb. 2)

Editorial, Morning News, Florence, S.C.: Black History Month still needed in our society

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Editorial, Oklahoma Daily, University of Oklahoma: Black History Month gives us the chance to talk about racism at OU

Editorial, Waterloo Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier: Black History Month still an important designation (Feb. 3)

Julia Lee, HuffPost BlackVoices: Why I Teach Black Literature (Feb. 3)

Rachel Martin with LaShonda Katrice Barnett, "Weekend Edition," NPR: Black And Female In Jim Crow Era, A Reporter In 'Jam! on the 'Vine'

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Kelefa Sanneh, the New Yorker: Don't Be Like That: Does black culture need to be reformed?

Lester Holt Fills in at NBC as Brian Williams Crisis Deepens

Lester Holt returned to the anchor chair at "NBC Nightly News" on Monday after Brian Williams relinquished the position while the network looks into his admission last week that he had exaggerated a story of being attacked in a helicopter in Baghdad in 2003.

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"The crisis has reached to the highest level of NBCUniversal," Emily Steel and Ravi Somaiya reported Monday for the New York Times. "Stephen B. Burke, its chief executive, held a meeting at his house this weekend to discuss the next steps. Among the options the network is likely to consider is whether Mr. Williams should apologize again and return to the air, whether he should be suspended or whether he should be pressured to resign, television industry executives said.

"Mr. Williams, who on Saturday said that he would step aside for several days as 'Nightly News' anchor, is distraught, according to people close to him, telling friends that if he could go door to door and apologize to each of his viewers he would do so.

"NBC declined to make its executives or Mr. Williams available for an interview.

"For NBC, the decision is about more than journalistic ethics. It is also about business. The news group is in fierce competition with rival networks for ratings that ultimately affect advertising spending. NBC generated $200 million in advertising sales for its evening news broadcast in 2013, compared with $170.6 million for ABC and $149.9 million for CBS, according to WPP's Kantar Media. (That is the first full year for which the data is available.) . . ."

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Jade Walker added for the Huffington Post, "NBC is investigating Williams' Iraq coverage and his Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Williams is taking a temporary leave of absence from the network, and cancelled a planned appearance on CBS' 'Late Show with David Letterman.'

"Other anecdotes Williams has told over the years are getting the magnifying glass treatment as well, including a tale he repeatedly shared about being mugged at gunpoint back in the 1970s.

"During a 2005 story in Esquire and a profile in New Jersey Monthly three years later, Williams talked about how he was robbed while selling Christmas trees out of the back of a truck to help a church in Red Bank, N.J. However, longtime residents say they doubt the story is true. . . ."

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Jessica Williams reported Monday for NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune, "The former general manager of the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, where embattled 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Brian Williams reportedly roomed during Hurricane Katrina, said Sunday (Feb. 8) that neither mass flooding nor floating human remains were near the hotel after the levees broke. Her statement raises questions about Williams' stated Katrina experiences and could add to a pool of public skepticism regarding his tale. . . .

Paul Farhi added Sunday in the Washington Post, "Williams has given varying accounts of the risks he faced in reporting on Israel's war with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in 2006.

"In a 2007 interview, Williams described a close encounter with rockets fired by Hezbollah as he flew over northern Israel in an Israeli military helicopter.

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" 'There were Katyusha rockets passing just beneath the helicopter I was riding in,' he told a student interviewer from Fairfield (Conn.) University that year.

"But Williams didn't mention that in his own account of the helicopter trip, written on an NBC News blog in July the previous year.

"In that version, he was in a Blackhawk helicopter 'at 1,500 feet,' accompanied by 'a high-ranking general in the Israeli Defense Forces' and that rocket fire preceded them rather than passed beneath them. . . ."

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Preliminary Nielsen ratings show that "NBC Nightly News" dropped 36 percent on Friday from last week's Monday-Thursday average among viewers aged 25 to 54, Chris Ariens reported for TV Newser. NBC's competitors were down too, but not as much, Ariens wrote. However, Stephen Battaglio reported for the Los Angeles Times, "Holt tends to retain the 'NBC Nightly News' audience when he fills in for Williams during the week."

Evan McMurry wrote for Mediaite, "Holt, who came up through local newscasting and reporting in L.A. and Chicago, has served as the anchor for NBC Nightly News on the weekends since 2007, in addition to co-hosting on weekend editions of Today and hosting NBC Dateline. Holt has been NBC's all-purpose understudy for over ten years, having filled in for Matt Lauer or Tom Brokaw before he became Williams' go-to backup; he substituted for Williams at the anchor desk after the latter underwent knee surgery in 2013.

"Neither is Holt a stranger to working from the field, earning accolades for his reporting for NBC from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Just a few weeks ago he live-tweeted the hostage situation that unfolded in a Parisian grocery store following the Charlie Hebdo attack . . ."

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Noting that Holt is a black journalist, media writer Amy Alexander wrote Monday for alldigitocracy.org, "Holt's ethnicity is not central to this situation, yet it is a big deal within the context of inclusion and diversity, a subject that is as much a third rail in the news industry as economic solvency in the era of waning audiences. Holt is inheriting the anchor role under a cloud of scandal, a situation that is far from ideal.

"At the same time, it is cosmic retribution that the on-air talent pool at NBC shook out in such a way that Holt emerges as the best candidate to replace Williams. Until Saturday, when Williams said he was stepping down (apparently temporarily, at least in Williams' mind, as of that announcement), it was not clear if Williams would remain in the managing editor and anchor roles at 'Nightly.'

"Had Williams remained, it would have been another sign to me and to other journalists with 'non-traditional,' aka non-white profiles, that once again a practitioner who had violated journalistic rules was being given a pass largely due to the cloak of White Guy Entitlement that encased him. . . ."

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Chris Ariens, TVNewser: 'Nightly News' Takes Ratings Hit During Brian Williams Crises

Chris Ariens, TVNewser: How 'Reliable Sources' and 'MediaBuzz' Covered Brian Williams

Ken Auletta, the New Yorker: Brian Williams and the God Complex

Ed Bark blog: unclebarky.com: Weighing in on the curious case of Brian Williams

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times: Brian Williams' future uncertain as NBC News launches investigation

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Dylan Byers, Politico: The decline and fall of NBC News

Michael Calderone and Danny Shea, Huffington Post: Who Could Replace Brian Williams At 'NBC Nightly News'?

Richard Campanella, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: In light of the Brian Williams Katrina controversy: a brief history of French Quarter flooding

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David Carr, New York Times: Brian Williams, Retreading Memories From a Perch Too Public

Maureen Dowd, New York Times: Anchors Aweigh

Jeff Greenfield, Daily Beast: What Brian Williams's Chopper Whopper Says About Modern News Media

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Megyn Kelly, Fox News Channel: Reporter who broke Brian Williams story speaks out

Terrence McCoy, Washington Post: Was Brian Williams terrorized by gangs at the Ritz-Carlton during Katrina?

Evan McMurry, Mediaite: Pilot Says He Told NBC News of Williams' False Story in 2003

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Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times: Brian Williams: Personal branding got in the way of the news

Radio Ink: What If Brian Williams Happened To You?

Jay Rosen, presslink.org: Brian Williams has not led. What's an anchor for?

Jack Shafer, Politico Magazine: Brian Williams' Slow Jam

Ravi Somaiya, New York Times: Soldiers in Brian Williams's Group Give Account of 2003 Helicopter Attack

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Al Tompkins, Poynter Institute: Brian Williams and the culture of 'I, we and us' 

Jade Walker, Huffington Post: Brian Williams' Story About Rocket Fire In Israel Comes Into Question

Johnson Publishing Finds Its Corporate Base Shrinking

"Johnson Publishing, parent company of Ebony magazine, has the weighty title of 'curator of the African-American experience.' But the corporate base supporting that role keeps shrinking," Lynne Marek reported Saturday for Crain's Chicago Business.

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"The company's recent decision to sell its historic photo collection is the latest example of downsizing, following the cancellation of Jet magazine's print version, the sale of Johnson's 11-story Michigan Avenue headquarters and the paring of its workforce by a third since 2007. Now it's trying to sublet one of two floors it rented at its new digs, after giving up a third earlier.

"Johnson Publishing Chairman Linda Johnson Rice and CEO Desiree Rogers say they're positioning the 73-year-old publisher for growth, but even a 2011 cash infusion from JPMorgan Chase hasn't prevented reductions. Rogers . . . acknowledges that print advertising revenue for its remaining title, Ebony, fell 8 percent last year over 2013, or only 3 percent if digital is included. She has cut costs and outsourced to buoy the bottom line. . . ."

Marek also wrote, "Johnson has a steep challenge because it can't offer advertisers an array of audiences in different publications. . . ."

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"Fresh Off the Boat" Ratings Impressive in Debut

"Diversity continues to flourish this broadcast season," Nellie Andreeva reported Thursday for Deadline Hollywood. "ABC's Fresh Off The Boat, the first Asian American family comedy on TV in two decades, logged the second-highest-rated comedy series debut this season only behind ABC’s Black-ish, the first broadcast black family sitcom in years. And Fox's black 'Dynasty' drama Empire continues to be on fire, hitting more series highs. . . ."

Michael O'Connell added for the Hollywood Reporter, "Fresh Off the Boat now faces the unfortunate challenge of moving to [its] regular Tuesday time slot — which hasn't been particularly kind on comedy. . . ."

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Kat Chow, NPR "Code Switch": A Brief, Weird History Of Squashed Asian-American TV Shows

Arthur Chu, Salon: Eddie Huang is our Richard Pryor: "Fresh off the Boat" and TV history in the making

Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Is "Fresh Off The Boat" historical or the taming of Eddie Huang?

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Luis Vazquez, Orlando Weekly: For Orlandoans, Asian-Americans, and hip-hop heads, "Fresh off the Boat" is a giant step

Jeff Yang, Los Angeles Times: For a dad stung by stereotypes, 'Fresh Off the Boat' is point of pride

Wayne Yang, AsAmNews: Is "Fresh Off The Boat" For America? Is it For Me? Understanding "Fresh Off The Boat" from an Southeast Asian Perspective

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A Cultural Disconnect in Evaluating Beyoncé's Gospel

In one of the biggest cultural disconnects in coverage of Sunday night's Grammy Awards, the Huffington Post bannered, "Beyoncé's Powerful Grammys Performance Brings The House Down."

Author Christopher Rosen continued, "Bow down to Beyoncé."

"I am sorry. What house did she bring down?" asked one poster.

The pop star sang the gospel classic "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," in an angelic white see-through dress that had Black Twitter abuzz — and not in a good way.

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Some questioned whether Beyoncé had ever been to church, having ended the song with "Thanks, guys" rather than, say, "Thank you, Jesus." One journalist wrote, "It takes more than a good voice to sing certain songs. In order to really truly 'sang,' you have to believe God just had breakfast with you. You have to feel like the Holy Ghost just knocked you sideways and left a lump of music in your throat."

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs wrote Monday for the Chicago Sun-Times, "Thomas Dorsey's gut-wrenching gospel staple, 'There's something everyone should know when considering and analyzing Beyonce's Grammy performance of Take My Hand, Precious Lord.'

"It's this: The song was written after Dorsey's wife and newborn baby died and he writhed in pain in Chicago, begging God to take even a piece of the hurt away. And anyone who is familiar with the African-American church — funerals in particular — has heard this song sung with a gut-punch. It’s not upbeat. It's not fast. Rather, it's poignant and intended to show how God does heal the singer and, as many in the black church might say, it offers proof of the 'comforter' of the Holy Spirit.

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"It’s not a song to be sung lightly or without consideration. And that’s why there is a schism between those who appreciated Beyonce’s literal, angel-in-a-see- through-dress translation of the song and those who preferred Ledisi’s rendition (as Mahalia Jackson) . . . ."

Toni Fitzgerald reported for medialifemagazine.com, "Facing the season premiere of 'The Walking Dead,' the No. 1 scripted series on television, the annual music awards program fell to its lowest viewership since 2009. . . ."

Martin Says Ethics Rules on Speaker Fees Miss Nuance

"Roland Martin, the liberal pundit and host of TV One's NewsOne Now With Roland Martin will co-host the Republican National Committee's Black Republican Trailblazer Awards Luncheon in Washington, a source tells BuzzFeed News," Darren Sands reported Monday for BuzzFeed.

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"The luncheon, being held Wednesday afternoon, features some of the biggest names in the GOP, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. The Feb. 11 event will take place at Washington's historic Howard Theatre. . . ."

Martin said he is not being paid for the appearance, though he said he had been compensated as keynote speaker at the Arkansas Black Democratic Caucus dinner in June 2013.

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics says, "Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility." Some news organizations, such as the Washington Post, are more specific, "We do not accept payment — either honoraria or expenses – from governments, government-funded organizations, groups of government officials, political groups or organizations that take positions on controversial issues. . . ."

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Martin replied to Journal-isms by email, "It's always interesting to hear us talk about such issues, and not acknowledge that the very media companies we work for will take money from any source: Republicans, Democrats, big oil, environmentalists, you name it. So while we talk about ethics and such, our salaries are actually being paid by the same dollars. Am I dismissing ethics? No. But we do need to examine the nuance of the issue.

"I'm no different [than] Jeff Bezos at the Washington Post. He owns the joint. I own my joint. He is about growing the bottom line of the Post; I'm about growing the bottom line of Nu Vision Media. Bezos cares about increasing shareholder value. I care about increasing shareholder value. I just happen to be the lone shareholder.

"More of us need to think along the lines of Me, Inc. I've taught many sessions on this and have counseled a number of individuals.

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"I'm not trying to wait to get laid off to focus on my bottom line. Am I getting paid to emcee the GOP event? Nope. But what if I was? Would that cause me not to call folks out and speak truth? Not at all.

"I just think too many journalists don't even bother to realize that our media companies are taking money from sources left and right, but all of a sudden when we choose to form our own companies, it's now 'a problem.' "

NPR Chief Says All Shows Should Contain "Different Voices"

Jarl Mohn, who in July became the new CEO of NPR, said he prefers integrating different voices into a "patchwork," rather than having separate programs for "different voices and viewpoints."

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He was interviewed by Ben Mook of Current.org in an exchange published Monday:

"Current: Another programming decision that came down before you arrived last year was the cancellation of Tell Me More. What do you think NPR can do to improve its broadcast reach and relevance to the minority audiences that were targeted by Tell Me More?

"Mohn: I'm happy with the solution that the team came up with for that. Having Michel Martin and her team work across all of our platforms — digital and broadcast — is a terrific approach. You hear her quite frequently now in Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's reaching a lot more people than she was reaching before. We hope to do more of that.

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"She's also just an amazing talent in a live format as well as in person. We've started producing town hall meetings — such as the one she did for St. Louis Public Radio around the protests in Ferguson, Mo. — and a number of stations picked that up.

"Current: Do you see a need to come up with a new show, maybe not like Tell Me More, but one that targets that audience?

"Mohn: I've never been a fan of that approach. I don't think it works. I've observed what KPCC has done with Take Two, and that works.

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"Pairing A Martinez and Alex Cohen has brought a whole new audience, turning new listeners on to public radio and bringing them to shows in other dayparts. That approach is a bigger win for everybody.

"All of our programs should be infused with different voices, and that’s not just about race. It has to do with age, geography and politics. We have to have a patchwork of all these things.

"When we separate different voices and viewpoints out into individual shows, they don't do well. . . ."

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Edward Schumacher-Matos, NPR: Last Thoughts: NPR And The Balance Between Ethics And The Nation

Delay in Nigerian Elections Laid to Boko Haram

"Boko Haram's latest victim may just have been Nigeria’s national election," Karen Attiah contended Sunday for the Washington Post.

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"At least on first glance, it would appear that way. On Saturday evening, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced its decision to postpone Nigeria's national election scheduled for February 14th.

"These elections were widely expected to be Nigeria’s closest electoral contest yet, between the increasingly unpopular Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party (PDP) and retired General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive's Congress (APC). These elections represent a serious challenge to Jonathan's PDP, which has won every election since 1999.

"The reason for the delay? According to INEC, Nigeria’s security services say they need at least six weeks to launch a major offensive against the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country, that they could not guarantee security for the February elections. The new date for the presidential elections is set for March 28th. State elections will be held on April 11th.

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"Seriously? . . ."

Meanwhile, Buhari, a former military ruler, was asked why his government had jailed reporters Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor for publishing reports that it considered embarrassing to government officials.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Buhari replied, "We said we cannot stop the press from criticizing people or institutions. But please, let them have investigative journalism.

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"Let them try and verify facts before they accuse government of offence and others of misdemeanor to spoil their names and reputations. We never held any secret tribunal. The tribunals, six of them throughout the country, we got the intelligence community, Navy, Army, Air Force, Police, national security organisations, to form the investigative panel that based on documentation, people were charged, military tribunals, they were tried, . . ." Segun Adio reported for Nigeria's Daily Times.

Time Inc. Workers Rally Around Laid-Off, Ill Co-Worker

"While there has been a steady parade of people out of Time Inc., not all leave with a golden parachute," Keith J. Kelly reported Thursday for the New York Post.

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"David Barbee worked 10 years as a researcher and mail deliverer until he was laid off last May.

"Two months later, in July, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that quickly spread to his liver.

"Just when he thought he had beaten the cancer after an operation in December to remove the cancerous liver and another in late January to remove cancerous colon tumors, Barbee learned he was going to be evicted from his apartment.

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"Now a brigade of former People people, spearheaded by former Research Director Robert Britton and former Executive Editor Jeannie Parks, have come to the aid of their former colleague.

"They started a website site for him on Gofundme.com that has raised over $21,000 since it went live on Jan. 31. . . ."

The figure was up to $36,280 on Monday night.

The gofundme site calls Barbee "the best known, best liked, and most helpful person in the entire Time & Life Building in recent years," and adds, "David, who is 44, was born totally blind, with glaucoma and cataracts.

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"At age 2, the cataracts were removed, and since then he has been legally blind. He will always have glaucoma, which has to be closely monitored. His father died of cancer when David was 3. He had a great Mom, who made him work harder than the other kids, in order to keep up with the other kids. His Mom was shot and killed when he was 13. His grandmother took over; she died when he was 15. His sisters and aunts finished raising him. . . ."

Short Takes

"President Barack Obama said in an interview posted Monday that circumventing the media could be one strategy to deal with America’s growing polarization," Lucy McCalmont reported Monday for Politico. In a sitdown with vox.com's Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias, "Obama said that the 'balkanization' of the media, along with gerrymandering, has helped deepen the partisan divide." Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed, is to speak with the president at the White House on Tuesday," Sydney Ember reported Sunday for the New York Times.
"Journalists covering the arrival of Zimbabwean President

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Robert Mugabe from the African Union Summit in Ethiopia on 4 February . . . were forced to delete pictures they had taken as he fell at Harare International Airport," the Media Institute of Southern Africa reported Friday. Using the hashtag #Mugabefalls, social media users Photoshopped the image to place Mugabe, 90, in a variety of situations. (video)

"The retrial of two Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt will start on Feb. 12, the lawyer for one of the defendants said on Sunday," Yara Bayoumy and Jeffrey Hodgson reported for Reuters. "Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven and 10 years in jail respectively last year on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organization — a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. A third Al Jazeera reporter, Australian national Peter Greste, was sentenced alongside them, but was unexpectedly freed last Sunday and deported after spending 400 days in prison. . . ."

"The True Sioux Hope Foundation, founded by Twila True, Oglala Sioux, and her husband, Alan, is on a mission to bring awareness to the plight on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota — the second largest Native American reservation in the United States, and also the poorest," Lynn Armitage reported Thursday for Indian Country Today Media Network. A nine-minute video tells a story about how poverty has affected the community on Pine Ridge.

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"After the deaths of two Japanese citizens at the hands of ISIS, Tokyo has stopped a journalist from traveling to Syria by confiscating his passport," Jethro Mullen and Junko Ogura reported Monday for CNN. "It's the first time the Japanese government has taken such a step. But the journalist, Yuichi Sugimoto, has suggested it's a breach of his rights. . . ."

In Liberia, "Authorities in Monrovia have picked up Mr. Henry Costa, host of the highly-rated Henry Costa Morning Show," FrontPage Africa reported Monday. "FrontPageAfrica has learned that Mr. Costa was picked up at about 2:00 am local time Saturday for allegedly breaking curfew. Liberia currently has a 12:00 am to 6:00 am curfew in place due to the deadly Ebola outbreak. Costa was also arrested last March on charges of 'Terroristic Threat, Menacing, and Criminal Coercion.' The Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice arrested Costa based on a complaint filed against him by a son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and National Security Agency Director Fomba Sirleaf. . . ."