Some to Boycott Meeting With Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is following up on his promise to meet with news media representatives Thursday and Friday in the wake of outrage over the Justice Department's leak investigations, but it's an open question whether journalists of color will be present.

Holder "is expected to meet this week with the Washington bureau chiefs of several major media outlets to discuss the Justice Department's guidelines for dealing with journalists in leak investigations," Michael Calderone reported Wednesday for Huffington Post.


Ken Strickland, Washington bureau chief of NBC News and a black journalist, was expected to be among the bureau chiefs, but with word that the Justice Department wants the session to be off the record, "We're still discussing whether we plan to attend," NBC spokeswoman Liz Fischer told Journal-isms by email.

CNN said Thursday morning that it will join the New York Times, the Associated Press and the Huffington Post in refusing the off-the-record invitation, Jack Mirkinson reported Thursday for the Huffington Post. Politico will attend but McClatchy will not, Mackenzie Weinger reported for Politico. Later Thursday, Calderone added Reuters to the list of those not going.

Jeffrey W. Schneider, spokesman for ABC News, told Journal-isms on Thursday, "Yes we will attend and press for the meeting to be on the record."

Sonya McNair, a spokeswoman for CBS News, told Journal-isms on Thursday, "CBS News does not plan to participate in the off-the-record meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder. We would be willing to consider an on-the-record discussion."


The original Justice Department announcement said a week ago, "The Attorney General will consult a diverse and representative group of media organizations. In the coming days, he looks forward to meaningful engagement with these media representatives as well as other experts inside and outside government. . . ."

However, Univision spokesman Jose Zamora said Thursday his network was told it was not invited because it does not have a permanent presence at the Justice Department. "Univision does cover the DOJ, but we do not have a full time DOJ reporter," Zamora told Journal-isms.


George Curry, who runs the Washington-based National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, representing the nation's black community newspapers, was asked whether he was invited. "Of course not," Curry replied by email.

Gregory Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and Walt Swanston, interim executive director of Unity: Journalists for Diversity, said that to their knowledge, their groups had not been asked.


Each group issued statements of alarm about the Justice Department's acknowledgement that it had secretly obtained telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors. Holder opened NABJ's 2011 convention in Philadelphia, telling the audience that he was once better known as "Ricky from Queens" and that he considered journalists "essential partners in the administration and achievement of justice."

President Obama ordered a review last week of the Justice Department's procedures for legal investigations involving reporters, "acknowledging that he was 'troubled' that multiple inquiries into national security leaks could chill investigative reporting," as Mark Landler reported then for the New York Times.


However, the Justice Department's condition that the meetings be off the record proved a stumbling block almost as soon as plans for the first meetings were reported on Wednesday.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal tweeted, "Re Holder convening bureau chiefs on leak probes: He may ask that meeting be off record. Chiefs should decline, record and report."


Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, said flatly, “It isn't appropriate for us to attend an off-the-record meeting with the attorney general. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department's handling of leak investigations at this time," the Huffington Post's Calderone and the Washington Post's Erik Wemple each reported.

The Associated Press gave Journal-isms this statement: "We believe the meeting should be on the record and we have said that to the Attorney General's office. If it is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend. If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter. We would expect AP attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the Attorney General's office and media lawyers on the legal specifics."


Wemple added, "And Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief of the Huffington Post, said, 'Off-the-record would not fly. … I don't need to go in there with a tape recorder and wiretap the meeting. But I imagine I'm free to talk about what's said in there.' "

However, Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, said he would attend. He told Wemple, "I prefer that any meeting be on the record. That said, journalists routinely participate in off-the-record sessions, whether they prefer those conditions or not, and then continue to report on events. I am going to this meeting in order to represent our interests as journalists and to raise our concerns. I'll also listen to what the Attorney General has to say. I trust that our journalists will report on this as vigorously as they would any other subject."


Adora Andy, Justice Department press secretary, did not respond to an inquiry from Journal-isms. But Wemple reported that a Justice Department official, "asked why on earth the meeting about media stuff between media people and the government would be off the record," responded on the condition that the official not be named: "This format will best facilitate the candid, free-flowing discussions we hope to have in order to bring about meaningful engagement."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Easley reported Tuesday for the Hill that the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Holder "lied under oath during his May 15 testimony on the Justice Department's (DOJ) surveillance of reporters. . . ."


In addition, Calderone reported that "Associated Press president and chief executive Gary Pruitt told staff at a Wednesday town hall meeting that the phone records obtained by the government included 'thousands and thousands' of calls in and out of the news organization, according to a staffer who attended. . . ." [Updated May 30]


Joyner Says Smiley Should Blame Low Ratings, Not Obama

Tom Joyner, host of radio's  syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," isn't buying a statement from Tavis Smiley, his former show partner, that members of the Obama administration, whom Smiley didn't identify, have pressured sponsors to drop their support of his projects.


Instead, Michael H. Cottman reported for Joyner's Black America Web, Joyner contends that Smiley's ratings are low and advertisers are jumping ship.

" 'Tavis here's the problem: Your sponsors are pulling out because you don't have numbers,' Joyner told his listeners on Tuesday's show. 'That's your problem. You don't have a platform. You're losing affiliates; you're losing sponsors, not because someone is plotting against you.' "


Asked for specifics, Smiley spokeswoman Leshelle V. Sargent told Journal-isms by email on Friday, "After 10 years and 2,000 shows on PBS, Mr. Smiley appreciates all of his underwriters. We are uninterested in subjecting former, present or future supporters to further scrutiny."

NBCUniversal Pays Its College Interns

NBCUniversal has begun paying its college interns, Kathy Kelly-Brown, a spokeswoman for NBCUniversal, told Journal-isms on Wednesday.


The move, which began with the spring interns, addresses a long-held contention that requiring interns to work only for the experience or for college credit amounts to favoring students with well-to-do parents. Others disagree, saying the college credit or the experience justifies the lack of salary.

"Not just NBC News – across NBCU," Kelly-Brown said by email. However, she could not say how many interns are affected or what the salaries are.


The NBC action comes with renewed focus on such internships. "In the past few years, unpaid interns have filed three class-action lawsuits against companies alleging the companies owe interns back pay, because the interns performed the same duties as employees," Blair Hickman and Jeremy B. Merrill reported for ProPublica this month.

They wrote, "In April 2010, the Department of Labor [called attention to] a six-point test to help determine whether an internship in the for-profit sector qualifies to be unpaid under federal law. One of the key criteria is that the position must be of more benefit to the intern than of benefit to the company. Companies can't just use interns to replace regular employees. . . ."


Rebecca Greenfield wrote May 9 for the Atlantic, "A judge may have thrown out class-action status for the lawsuit against Hearst for using unpaid interns at its magazines, but the disgruntled former coffee-fetchers will continue the fight. 'The case of the named plaintiffs and the people who opted into the case will go forward,' said Junot Turner, the Outten and Golden lawyer handling the case. That includes the 'Norma Rae' of unpaid interns Diana Wang, who interned for Harper's Bazaar, Erin Spencer, a former Cosmopolitan intern, and six others. . . ."

While paid internships are more common at newspapers, they are not necessarily the norm at magazines and in broadcasting.


Until now, NBC News in general has not paid its interns, but ABC News and CNN have. CBS News and Fox News have arrangements for the college to offer course credit.

On Tuesday, England's Guardian newspaper ran a piece by David Dennis, a recent graduate of at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, that gained traction on social media. Dennis asked, "does your, that gained traction on social media. Dennis asked, "does your publication use unpaid interns as the prevalent mode of determining full-time jobs? If so, then I'm sorry to inform you that your publication is perpetuating a privilege-based upward mobility, and it's ruining journalism. . . ."


Chuck Collins, American Prospect: The Wealthy Kids Are All Right

Diversity Efforts Ebb Not Just in News Business

"As a partner and chief diversity officer at Thompson & Knight, Pauline Higgins was not afraid to press the issue of hiring minorities at the 126-year-old Texas law firm," Nelson D. Schwartz and Michael Cooper wrote Monday for the New York Times. "But when she left in 2008, she was replaced by an associate with less influence.


"Now, current and former partners say, the diversity committee meets less often, and the firm has fewer black lawyers than before. It is a trajectory familiar in many elite realms of American professional life. Even as racial barriers continue to fall, progress for African-Americans [overall] has remained slow — and in some cases appears to be stalling.

" 'You don't want to be a diversity officer who only buys tables at events and seats people,' Ms. Higgins said recently. 'It's about recruiting and inclusion and training and development, with substantive work assignments.'


"Nearly a half-century after a Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, helped usher in the era of affirmative action, the Supreme Court is poised to rule as early as this week on whether the University of Texas can continue to consider race as one of many factors in its admissions policy. It is a case that could have a profound impact on race-based affirmative action programs across the nation, and it has reignited a discussion of how much progress minorities, blacks in particular, have made in integrating into some of the most sought-after professions, especially since the recession.

"Only a little more than 1 percent of the nation's Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, although there are some prominent exceptions, like Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express and Ursula M. Burns of Xerox. At the nation's biggest companies, about 3.2 percent of senior executive positions are held by African-Americans, according to an estimate by the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of current and former black senior executives.


"While about 12 percent of the nation's working-age population is black, about 5 percent of physicians and dentists in the United States are black — a share that has not grown since 1990, according to an analysis of census data that was prepared for The New York Times by sociologists at Queens College of the City University of New York. The analysis found that 3 percent of American architects are black, another field where the share has not increased in more than two decades. . . . "

In the news business, African Americans in the newsroom workforce fell from 4.68 percent in 2011 to 4.65 percent, according to the 2012 report from the American Society of News Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists reported then.


Kat Chow, NPR: The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race

Jesse Washington, Associated Press: 'I'm not racist': Common claim after racial slurs


Old Press-Pass Photos Unknowingly for Sale on eBay

"Early in this Memorial Day Weekend, I was confronted with a uniquely 21st Century 'First World' development: I learned that I am up for auction on eBay," media critic Amy Alexander wrote Sunday on her website. "Well, my 30 year-old self is, in the form of my official staff photos from my years at The Miami Herald. Opening bid price: $32.88.


"The McClatchy Company, owner of The Miami Herald, had made a deal with a third party company to sell most of the photo archives. Part of the deal included the acquiring company agreeing to digitize much of the photos, and, apparently the right to offer up the newspaper's historic photos for auction. Since those of us who worked at The Herald in Editorial had semi-regular photographs made (for press passes or columns that appeared in the newspages) there are presumably hundreds of these photos now up for sale by the group that purchased the images from McClatchy.

"After learning of this development from a friend and former Herald staffer who phoned me Friday night (she was moderately upset, two clicks below 'outraged'), I didn't immediately give it much thought. But after she'd sent me the link to the location at eBay where our photos are being auctioned under the rather tacky banner of the ROGERS PHOTO ARCHIVE (sic), I took a look.


"Journalist's Photos for Sale on eBay — What Am I Bid?

"Honestly, it is creepy to see my long-ago self in this location, and in such a context.


"I felt….cheap…."

Jim Romenesko blog: Press photos of former Miami Herald staffers go up on eBay

Univision Promotes Patsy Loris to V.P. of News

Patsy Loris, senior news director for Univision News, has been promoted to vice president of News, the Spanish-language network announced Tuesday.


"In this role, she will oversee Univision News evening and late night news, its weekend edition, news segments for 'Despierta America' (Wake Up America) and the operations of Univision's news division," a network announcement said. "Loris is also responsible for working with ABC to launch Fusion," the joint ABC-Univision English-language network, "hiring personnel for the news team and developing show concepts and ideas. She will report directly to Daniel Coronell, senior vice president and executive director of News at Univision."

Loris joined Univision in 1989. "A news veteran with a career in broadcast journalism spanning more than two decades, she has traveled the globe covering the most important news stories, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the immigration process, presidential debates, presidential and congressional elections and many other major news events around the world.


"She has also shaped news — securing interviews with some of the world's most influential leaders, including President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, former Presidents George W. Bush, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Mitt Romney, Vice President Al Gore, former Mexican presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Vicente Fox, and dozens of other Latin American political figures. In 2007, she created and produced 'Al Punto with Jorge Ramos,' Univision's highly rated Sunday morning public affairs program. . . ."

Ex-FCC Chair: Broadcasters Should Refuse to Say "Redskins"

"Redskins owner Daniel Snyder refuses to change the name of his team. Should we do it for him? More specifically, should the media no longer recognize the official designation? A former chair of the Federal Communications Commission recently told me the answer is yes," Michael Smerconish wrote Monday for the Philadelphia Daily News.


" 'I would like to suggest something to you: Why don't you in your own job think about not using the derogatory name that Mr. Snyder has chosen?' Reed Hundt asked. 'Why not? Why doesn't it start on a person-by-person basis? Why don't people just say, 'You know what, standards have changed.'

"Hundt chaired the FCC from 1993-97 at the behest of President Bill Clinton and is perhaps best known for having prosecuted claims of indecency against radio's Howard Stern, self-proclaimed King of All Media. Now Hundt's nemesis is the King of All Redskins.


"Snyder has been under increasing pressure to alter a moniker some believe to be racist. In March, a bill was introduced in Congress that would cancel the team's trademark of the term redskin. The bill was followed by hearings before three judges on the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. While that challenge is ongoing, Snyder remains unbowed, recently telling USA Today: 'We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.'

"Which is why Hundt is suggesting a different approach, namely that broadcast journalists take the matter into their own hands. . . . "


The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper do not allow the team to be referred to as "Redskins." The Oregonian in Portland has a similar policy, although the name appears frequently on the newspaper's website. "There are wire feeds that flow onto the site that we don't edit," Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia told Journal-isms by email this month.

Associated Press: Congress to Redskins: Team name reminiscent of n-word

Michael Bradley, National Sports Journalism Center: Absent responsible action by Washington's Snyder, its up to the media


Mike Freeman, CBS Sports: Redskins not offensive to you? How about the Washington N-Words?

Suzan Shown Harjo, Indian Country Today Media Network: Fighting Racist Stereotypes in Sports, One Poll at a Time, Part II


Vanity Fair's Newsy Best-Dressed List

Vanity Fair has issued its list of the 10 best-dressed newsmen, and CNN's Don Lemon and NBC's Lester Holt made the cut. The publication picked its list of best-dressed newswomen the previous week, when Mattie Kahn wrote, "We're comfortable saying this on the record: the news has never looked so good."


The women's list included Elizabeth Vargas of ABC, Tamron Hall of MSNBC and Natalie Morales of NBC.

Short Takes

The popularity of the web site WorldStarHipHop "can be partially attributed to outrageous videos captured on cell phones, like that of a Cleveland bus driver punching a female passenger in the face after a verbal argument," Noel King reported Tuesday for American Public Media's "Marketplace." "The site solicits videos from its fans. They don't get paid, but they do get bragging rights. The Cleveland video has nearly 18 million views on WorldStar alone and was picked up by dozens of other websites." King added, "The subjects of many WorldStar videos are African-American and critics say they perpetuate the ugliest stereotypes about life in urban communities. . . ."


C-SPAN3, "American History TV," plans a program this weekend on sisters Dorie and Joyce Ladner. As young women in the early 1960s, they "faced down threats and intimidation in their work as civil rights activists. They recall that time, including their friendship and work with Medgar Evers, the NAACP field officer who was murdered in Mississippi 50 years ago this June. The Ladner sisters were recorded for the Civil Rights History Project enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2009." The program airs Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Joyce Ladner, a sociologist, was later interim president of Howard University.

"The New York Times beefed up its politics desk Thursday by hiring Politico's Jonathan Martin as national political correspondent, a high-profile position once held by legendary Times scribe R.W. 'Johnny' Apple," Michael Calderone reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. The Atlantic's Molly Ball and Politico's Maggie Haberman were also considered for the job, according to Calderone's sources. No journalists of color were mentioned as having been approached.


The family of Haynes Johnson, former Washington Post journalist and journalism professor at the University of Maryland, will hold a memorial service and reception at the National Press Club at noon on Sunday, June 23, the school announced. District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Kathryn Oberly, Johnson's widow, and the Johnson children also plan to designate memorial contributions toward a scholarship for students at Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the college, wrote Tuesday. Johnson died Friday at 81 after a heart attack.

"An article published by Bloomberg News on Tuesday about the White House's efforts to reach out to Hispanic business leaders to help pass immigration reform provides a case in point," HuffPost LatinoVoices reported on Tuesday. "Latinos are the subject of the story, yet none of the five sources quoted appear to be Hispanic. . . ." The article provides a list of Hispanics "who can explain Hispanic politics from the left, right and center."


The Oprah Winfrey Network's first scripted series produced by Tyler Perry yielded record-setting ratings for the network on Tuesday, R. Thomas Umstead reported for Multichannel News, drawing 1.7 million viewers. But critics were not kind. "Well, it's official," Mary McNamara wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "The nine most frightening words to cross a television screen are: 'Executive Produced, Created, Written and Directed By Tyler Perry.' "

In New York, "Veteran Channel 7 reporter Jeff Pegues is moving onto a network platform. The personable broadcast journalist is joining CBS News as a Washington DC based reporter," Jerry Barmash reported Saturday for New York Media.


"Powell W. Caesar III, an astute, savvy and street-smart spokesman for some of Greater Cleveland's best-known people and organizations, died Monday," Rachel Dissell wrote Monday for the Plain Dealer. Caesar, 63, suffered a heart attack. He was a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. Early in his career, he was a reporter and editorial writer at the Call & Post, worked for the Cleveland Press and was a popular Sun Newspaper columnist.

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is accepting applications for the 12th annual USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program in Los Angeles. Applications are due July 9, 2013. To apply, visit " The program, funded by the Getty Foundation, is a fellowship for arts, culture and entertainment editors, producers and writers. Most costs are covered by the fellowship, including air travel, hotel, transportation within the city and most meals. The fellowship will be held in Los Angeles from October 23 to November 2, 2013. . . ."


In New York, "Fewer than one in eight of the city's public high schools reported having a newspaper or print journalism class in an informal survey this month by city education officials, who do not officially track the information," Winnie Hu reported Monday for the New York Times. "Many of these newspapers have been reduced to publishing a few times a year because of shrinking staffs, budget cuts and a new focus on core academic subjects. Some no longer come out in print at all, existing only as online papers or as scaled-down news blogs. . . ."

In New Orleans, veteran WDSU-TV anchor Norman Robinson is cutting back to anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast, the weekly "WDSU Hot Seat" segment and special assignments to include political, breaking news and other coverage throughout the year, the station announced Wednesday. "Norman's new shift will allow him to spend additional time with his family and in our community, while continuing to present the news and explore the issues that affect WDSU viewers. . . ."


"Veteran business reporter Jaquetta White, who spearheaded much of the Times-Picayune's daily reporting on the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, will be joining The Advocate's New Orleans staff next month," the Advocate, based in Baton Rouge, La., but expanding into New Orleans, announced on Tuesday.

"When Louis Casiano was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a member of the U.S. Army, he was an active participant in a world news event that many experienced only based on what they read in the press," Eric Morgan, communications manager at the Orange County (Calif.) Register announced on Tuesday. "During his one-year deployment, Casiano happened to meet a few print and broadcast journalists. As he observed and discussed their professions, he was drawn to journalism. When returning to the U.S., he attended the University of Houston and graduated with a degree in print journalism and political science." Also a graduate of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute's two-week program in Tucson, Ariz., Casiano joined the Register as a general assignment reporter on May 20.


"Pui-Wing Tam, who has been with the Wall Street Journal since 1995, is leaving the paper for Bloomberg, where she'll serve as team leader for its Silicon Valley coverage," Chris O'Shea reported Wednesday for FishbowlNY. "Tam was most recently deputy bureau chief for the Journal's San Francisco bureau, a role she held since 2005. . . ."

"An eight-month-old Connecticut-based news site serving English language-dominant Latinos that will expand to Massachusetts and Rhode Island," according to the McCormick Foundation New Media Women Entrepreneurs, which awarded the site a grant. The project "also provides its news articles at no cost to other English-language media partners to ensure the stories reach as many readers as possible. The founder is Latino journalism leader Diane Alverio," a past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


"When PBS's Gwen Ifill spoke at the Wake Forest University commencement last week, she shared the typical message of continuing to learn and making change in the world . . . ," Austin Price wrote Tuesday for FishbowlDC. But, Ifill added, "Here's a hint: don't take your guidance from what you see in Washington. I hate to say it, it's often the worst possible example of how to make change. . . ."

"The top 25 magazines reach more adults and teens than the top 25 primetime TV programs," Mary Berner, president and chief executive officer at the Magazine Publishers Association, told Diego Vasquez Wednesday in a question-and-answer session for Media Life Magazine. "What that shows is there's a shift in primetime TV, but to me it also says magazines remain a very visceral, tactile experience that people continue to enjoy. . . ."


In Uganda, "On the morning of 28 May 2013, police violently dispersed journalists who had camped outside of the Monitor Publications Limited's closed offices," the Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House reported on Tuesday. "They arrested the national coordinator for Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, amidst heavy teargas. The police also sealed off 8th street, along which the Monitor is located. The police engaged the journalists in running battles for over forty minutes. They confiscated two video cameras. A foreign journalist was hit with a baton on her left eyes. . . ."

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro lashed out at CNN's Spanish-language service on Monday, saying CNN was working to foment a coup against his government, the Huffington Post reported. "Television, I mean CNN, CNN en Español, is a broadcaster that works at the behest of destabilization, that calls openly for a coup d'etat in Venezuela," Maduro said in a speech carried by state television, according to Colombia's Radio Caracol. "CNN en Español has become the starting point to promote an intervention against our country. . . ." CNN en Español rejected the accusations.


"The latest audience survey, conducted in February among 4,000 Americans aged 18-64, underscored cable TV segmentation trends unfolding for years," Ali Velshi, the former CNN anchor now with the upcoming Al Jazeera America, wrote Tuesday for They want less celebrity, less extremism, a clear delineation between information and opinion, and more context, analysis and depth, Velshi said of the survey respondents.

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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ( Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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