The nation's alternative news media — many of them spawned by the counterculture and devoted to progressive ideas — rate having a diverse staff important, yet "continue to be predominantly white, and if anything, are getting whiter," according to a survey of 37 such media outlets by the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.
"AAN members continue to do well with diversity when it comes to having women and members of the LGBT community in the fold," according to the association's report [PDF], made public on Tuesday. But "respondents reported that just 12.6 percent of employees are people of color. That's down from 14 percent in 2011-2012."
The survey results were compiled and analyzed by Jimmy Boegle, editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley (Calif.) Independent, who is the head of AAN's Diversity Advisory Committee.
"Respondents noted that it's harder than ever to find, and then retain, employees who are people of color," Boegle continued.
"On a heartening note, survey-takers say that diversity is important to them: Respondents rated the importance of diversifying their staffs an average of 7.6 on a 10-point scale, and rated the importance of diversifying readership as 8 on a 10-point scale.
"Respondents had multiple suggestions on how AAN can help its members diversify, including some things AAN already has enacted (such as a Best Practices list) and some things AAN used to do but does not anymore (diversity internships). Other suggestions included collaborating more with organizations for journalists of color; funding stories that include diverse people and that would interest a diverse audience; and continuing to make issues of diversity a constant part of the 'conversation.' . . ."
Boegle also reported, "Eight of the 37 responding papers reported no people of color on staff.
"As for management positions: 36 respondents reported 194 management positions, 25 of which were filled by people of color — just 12.9 percent. Twenty-three of the 36 respondents reported no people of color among their management ranks.
"Regarding freelancers: We asked respondents to estimate the percentage of their freelance contributors who are people of color. (Because a large number of respondents in 2011-2012 complained about the length and complexity of the survey, we did not ask for raw numbers here; we simply asked for a percentage from each paper, and then averaged it out.) Among the 27 respondents who properly answered the question, the average was 16.3 percent. . . ."
Alt-Weeklies: Dancing Around Diversity? (July 24, 2011)
"In a matter of seconds, a moment of quiet prayer turned into a massacre," Elizabeth Chuck reported Wednesday for NBC News.
" 'We were just about to say the prayer to be released,' said Felicia Sanders, one of three people who survived when a gunman opened fire during Bible study at her Charleston, South Carolina, church on June 17.
" 'He caught us with our eyes closed. I never told nobody this.'
"Sanders and another survivor, Polly Sheppard, spoke to NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview Wednesday. They said they want those killed in the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to be remembered as heroes, not as victims. . . ."
Chuck also wrote, "Sanders told her young granddaughter to play dead as Tywanza, [her 26-year-old son] who had already been shot, crawled across the room to try to protect Susie in her final moments.
" 'What I think of Tywanza, those last moments — my hero. My hero,' Sanders told NBC News' Lester Holt. 'He took a lot of bullets.'
" 'I was telling my son, "Just lay here, just lay here," ' she added. 'And my granddaughter was hollering, saying she was so afraid,' Sanders said. 'I was trying to keep everyone close to me as calm as I could.' . . ."
Chuck concluded, "The victims, who have been dubbed 'The Charleston Nine' by some, only tell half the story, Sheppard said.
" 'It is the Charleston 12. There's 12 of us,' she said. 'We have to die to be recognized? Thank God you have three alive. You should be honored to say 12.' "
Jennifer Berry Hawes, Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.: Emanuel AME survivors feel forgotten as life moves forward
"Imagine a fellowship program where the only people eligible are young men who have been identified by law enforcement or community members as individuals who have shot someone or have a high likelihood of doing so," Tammerlin Drummond wrote Monday for the Oakland Tribune.
"The fellows can earn a stipend of up to $1,000 per month if they demonstrate a serious desire to renounce gun violence and take concrete steps to establish a new, healthier life plan. We're talking about a violence prevention program that basically pays young men to not pull the trigger. But instead of telling them, 'just say no,' this novel approach puts young violent offenders through a rigorous daily, minimum 18-month mentoring program that gives them the tools and opportunities to transform their lives.
"It may sound crazy to many people, but it's part of a collaborative crime prevention strategy in the city of Richmond [Calif.] that is generating international attention for helping substantially reduce gun killings and assaults in a city that once had one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the country. (This year started off with a spike, but things are far better than in the past.)
"The so-called Operation Peacemaker Fellowship, run by Richmond's Office of Neighborhood Safety, is now in its fifth year. A recent evaluation report by the National Council on Crime & Delinquency — the first to attempt to assess the impact of ONS programs — found that the office's violence prevention work contributed to a decline in homicides from 47 in 2007 to 13 in 2013. . . ."
DeVone Boggan, director of Richmond's Office of Neighborhood Safety, pioneered the fellowship and has his sights set on expansion to Oakland, Drummond reported.
Drummond concluded, "Perhaps the fellowship can be one piece of the puzzle to help Oakland reduce the slaughter in the streets. What have we got to lose by trying it? . . ."
Drummond's column comes amid a debate over emphasis placed on shootings by police rather than intra-black community crime, and by attempts to demonize the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
"African-Americans are lynched daily in this country by other African-Americans," Phillip Morris wrote Wednesday in his column for the Plain Dealer of Cleveland.
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: On police brutality lawsuits, Baltimore settles, New Orleans fights
Editorial, Dallas Morning News: Public has right to know names of DPD officers involved in shootings
Editorial, New York Times: The Truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’ (Sept. 3)
Errol Louis, Daily News, New York: Cops not ready for their closeup: With body-camera policy a mess, Bratton and the NYPD should hit the pause button and write better rules
Kevin Mathews, care2.com: Are More Police Officers Dying? A Look at the Numbers
Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: Is spike in violence a reason to give Peaceoholics another chance?
Kelefa Sanneh, the New Yorker: Body Count: Engulfed by crime, many blacks once agitated for more police and harsher penalties.
Henry Schneider, Current.org: How an Illinois radio station confronted racial issues in its community
Jackie Spinner, Columbia Journalism Review: A Peoria paper is working to 'be there' in underserved community — without adding reporters (Sept. 2)
Mike Spies, thetrace.org: A Baltimore Crime Reporter on What People Don't Understand About the City's Gun Violence
The portrait of South Africa drawn by two African American journalists familiar with the country contrasts significantly with that in American media, particularly on how racial issues are playing out in 2015.
Kenneth Walker, who has lived in and reported from South Africa since 1999, spoke over dinner Tuesday in Washington at the Journalists Roundtable, giving a startling view of what America looks like from abroad. "I became deathly afraid for you," Walker said as he discussed not only the reporting of police killings of African Americans and other gun violence, but even the corruption of American food — "There are a lot of countries where you can't import U.S. food" — as well as "the whole feeling of being unsafe."
Walker, who reported for the old Washington Star, ABC News and NPR before settling in South Africa, was joined by Ron Nixon, a Washington correspondent for the New York Times who is a visiting associate in the Department of Media and Journalism Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Nixon is author of a new book, "Selling Apartheid: South Africa's Global Propaganda War" and has been traveling to South Africa since 1998.
Americans might be surprised to know that some of the same issues they grapple with — those raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the continuing presence of Confederate symbols, for example — are alive in South Africa. Black Lives Matter protests take place there, too, with demonstrators invoking the names of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in a Texas jail cell after a police encounter, and the legendary activist Angela Davis.
Instead of Confederate symbols, statutes of Cecil Rhodes, southern Africa colonizer, were objects of controversy. The movement "Rhodes Must Fall" used the demand for removal of statues honoring Rhodes as starting point for a renewed assault on white supremacy. The statue of Rhodes at the University of Cape Town came down in April.
Walker said, "Apartheid is very much still alive in South Africa." There are still Indian townships, poor white neighborhoods and "colored" townships. There is still an economic hierarchy. He estimated that whites still own 85 percent of South Africa's wealth.
Responding to a question about the media, Nixon called South Africa's news media very unrepresentative of their society, with whites in most top management and the excuse familiar to African American ears — not able to find qualified people — echoed overseas. Some complain that universities still teach from a white point of view, the journalists said.
Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle: HISD to start process of renaming Confederate-linked schools
Busani Ngcaweni, City Press, South Africa: Black journalists matter (Sept. 1)
"Two award-winning journalists specializing in coverage of Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border and Latino issues are joining Arizona State University to launch a new bilingual border and Latino reporting program at the Walter CronkiteSchool of Journalism and Mass Communication," the university announced on Friday.
"Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga will serve as professors and editors for the borderlands desk of Cronkite News at Arizona PBS, the school's rapidly expanding daily news operation that serves as an immersive and innovative learning laboratory for students and provides Arizonans with daily news coverage of critical regional issues on TV and digital platforms.
"The pair, who will hold the faculty rank of professors of practice, also will teach advanced journalism courses in which students will produce digital and TV news reports in Spanish and English.
"Corchado is the Mexico City bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News and author of 'Midnight in Mexico,' a 2013 memoir that chronicles a reporter's search for home amid the backdrop of his native country's deadly drug violence that has left tens of thousands killed or missing. . . . Kocherga began covering the U.S.-Mexico border in 1999, first for the Belo Corp., a Dallas-based media company, and then for the Gannett Co., which purchased Belo in 2013. . . ."
Adrian Florido, NPR "Code Switch": Mass Deportation May Sound Unlikely, But It's Happened Before
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Could Trump trade Latinos for blacks? Don't count on it
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: The candidate of the know-nothing party keeps winning voter surveys (accessible via search engine)
Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: How Trump is helping Obama and the Democratic Party
Benét J. Wilson, alldigitocracy.org: New Short Documentary Hopes to Erase Latino Migrant Stereotypes
Marc Lamont Hill, whose website describes him as "one of the leading intellectual voices in the country," is leaving as host of "HuffPost Live" "to focus on his work as a professor, author, and activist," Huffington Post spokeswoman Lena Auerbach told Journal-isms Tuesday by email. "Marc's last day is this Thursday."
"HuffPost Live" is the live streaming network of the Huffington Post Media Group. "Anyone with a smart phone, a tablet, or a webcam has the chance to instantly join the conversation happening on HuffPost Live," the company said when the network launched in 2012.
According to Hill's site, he is "the host of HuffPost Live and BET News, as well as a political contributor for CNN. He is the former host of the nationally syndicated television show Our World With Black Enterprise and political contributor to Fox News Channel. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. . . ."
New America announced on Tuesday the appointment of 22 fellows who will receive year-long fellowshipsbeginning this September, and ProPublica on Wednesday announced the five winners of slots in its Emerging Reporters Program. In that program, "student journalists of color get stipends giving them the financial freedom and support to do great journalism."
Among the New America fellows are Rania Abouzeid, who plans to write a book about the Syrian uprising; Robin V. Harris, a former associate editor of Diverse Issues in Higher Education who intends to write a book about Annette "Polly" Williams, the Wisconsin state legislator who wrote and sponsored Milwaukee's landmark school voucher program; Zaha Hassan, who plans to complete a novel about a Palestinian-American woman's search for answers after her mother's violent death; and Trymaine Lee, an MSNBC correspondent who expects to write a book on the true costs of gun violence.
Other winners include Alexis Okeowo, who is planning a book about ordinary people standing up to extremism in Africa; Donna A. Patterson, writing a book on transnational drug consumption, distribution and control in Senegal, Ethiopia and Cape Verde; Janell Ross, a Washington Post political writer who plans a book about the racial wealth gap and its origins; Bina Venkataraman, a former science journalist for the New York Times and the Boston Globe, who plans a book "about how our society of gamblers can forge tools to think about the future amid rapid technological change"; and Zheng Wang, who plans a book about China’s rise and future U.S.-China relations.
The ProPublica winners are Maya Cade, a senior at Howard University; Rajaa Elidrissi, a senior at Wesleyan University; Kristen Luna, a second-year photojournalism student at Pasadena City College; Gabriel Sandoval, a third-year journalism major at California State University in Chico; and Amaka Uchegbu, a junior at Yale University.
Allegra Bennett, a former reporter at the Baltimore Sun and editorial writer at the Washington Times who became a Baltimore-based self-help entrepreneur, died of fast-moving cancer on Tuesday, friends told Journal-isms. She was 68.
On her LinkedIn profile, Bennett described herself as a "Writer, editor, publisher, self-help author, public speaker" who had also been special projects editor at Uptown Professional and Heart & Soul magazines. She taught in the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education's Summer Program for Minority Journalists and was an avid reader of "Journal-isms."
In 1997, Bennett wrote her first book, "Renovating Woman: A Guide to Home Repair, Maintenance and Real Men," which included this question in its publicity material: "How did you become a 'Renovating Woman?' "
She answered, "No money, nobody on whom to fob off repairs the way I did for the 23 years I was married. If it 'got broke' I had to fix it myself or it stayed 'broke.' In short, necessity created my renovating self."
The "About the Author" section explained, "Called the 'industrialized Martha Stewart,' by the Baltimore Sun, Allegra Bennett is the author of a very popular feature column, 'Renovating Woman,' which has appeared in The Washington Times and the Baltimore Sun; and is featured regularly on WBAL radio and WMAR-TV in Baltimore, She is also the creator of the 'Fabulously 50 Plus' calendar featuring beautiful African-American [women] (including herself) over 50.
"In her spare time, she is an amateur standup comedienne. . . ."
In 2013, Bennett wrote another book under the "Renovating Woman" imprint, "12 Steps to Self-Publishing Success: Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Work."
On social media Tuesday and Wednesday, friends and acquaintances praised her wit and mentoring abilities.
"Elbert Dogan is leaving for college on Wednesday morning," Jessica Bock reported Wednesday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"Just 24 hours earlier, that was not the case. The 2015 graduate of Clyde C. Miller Career Academy realized shortly before he was to start at Tennessee State University that his tuition bill was much larger than anticipated. He wouldn't be able to pay.
"A story in the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday included his troubles as an example of the so-called 'summer melt,' which describes what happens when students are accepted to a college or university but do not make it to campus in the fall for myriad reasons. Nationally, it happens to 10 percent to 20 percent of college-eligible students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Those coming from families in poverty are the most at risk.
"Early Tuesday morning in Nashville, Glenda Glover was checking her messages when those from her administrative team at Tennessee State University and others told her about Elbert's story. There was an alert from a news service the public relations team receives. And a phone call from a friend in Omaha, Neb., who reads STLtoday.com online each morning because her daughter lives here.
"Glover, who is university president, said she immediately started making calls.
" 'You see a student, a good student, who wants to come to college and money is the hang-up,' Glover said. 'We do our best to accommodate as many students as we can. He fits into that.'
"A few hours later, she had secured a combination of scholarships and financial aid resources to get Elbert down to campus and into class as soon as possible. . . ."
"When you Google 'Mogadishu', the photos that surface convey a sense that life in Somalia's capital is an endless cycle of death, destruction and despair," Mo Keita wrote Sept. 1 for True Africa. He also wrote, "Even through the destruction, there's beauty in Mogadishu: the beaches, the markets, the kids, the minarets, the city bustle and hustle,' says Abdulkadir Mohamed, a self-taught Somali-Canadian amateur photographer who has been walking the streets with his cameras. He posts his photos on social media and signs them with his nickname, 'Ato', which means 'skinny' in Somali. . . ."
"Every year since 2009, The Root has defined black excellence with a list of 100 honorees ages 25 to 45, who, while succeeding across multiple platforms — the sciences, the arts, activism, writing, sports, business, entertainment — go beyond headlines or statistics," The Root told readers on Wednesday. The 2015 list includes journalists Ta-Nehisi Coates, Joy-Ann Reid, Bomani Jones, Wesley Morris, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Wesley Lowery, Jamil Smith, Saeed Jones, Kai Wright, Kierna Mayo and talk-show hostMelissa Harris-Perry.
Mike Rich, named in 2010 as chief product and operating officer of Interactive One, which described itself then as "the Largest Online Media Company Serving Black Americans," has left for Time Inc., where he is general manager of its Lifestyle group, a Time Inc. spokesman confirmed Tuesday. Jermaine Spradley, a former editorial director at Interactive One, has also left and started Tuesday as executive editor of the Bleacher Report, a spokesman there said. Spradley, who had also worked at HuffPost BlackVoices, will be responsible for overseeing event coverage planning and "high end control initiatives," among other duties, working under an editor-in-chief and chief content officer.
"Alabama Media Group sports reporter Natalie Pierre Williams was seriously injured after a fiery car crash early this morning near her Hoover [Ala.] apartment," Carol Robinson reported Tuesday for al.com. "Williams, who turned 26 today, is listed in critical condition in the Trauma and Burn Intensive Care Unit at UAB Hospital. Authorities said she is burned over 75 percent of her body. . . ."
Longtime reporter and weekend anchor Bruce Johnson is replacing Derek McGinty as evening anchor at WUSA-TV in Washington. Bill Lord, station manager and news director, told Journal-isms Wednesday by email, "His assignment for the next month is to fill in on the 5pm, 6pm and 11pm newscasts. After additional employees come on board he will be assigned to the 6pm and 7pm newscasts on a permanent basis. Bottom line…he's off weekends and on Monday through Friday shows." McGinty's last day at the station was Friday.
"Fusion, the multimedia company formed from a joint investment of Univision and Disney-ABC, is preparing an overhaul of its television business strategy, POLITICO has learned," Jeremy Barr reported on Friday for capitalnewyork.com. "Fusion's in-house-produced television programming will be pared back, and job cuts will be part of the TV strategy shift, sources said. The changes could be announced as early as next week. . . ."
"ESPN will launch a five-week run of new 30 For 30 documentaries beginning Oct. 13, the network said Wednesday," R. Thomas Umstead reported for Multichannel News. "The 30 For 30 Volume III documentaries will feature stories on the rise [of] USC Football under coach Pete Carroll, the city of Sacramento's fight to keep its NBA franchise Kings, and Evander Holyfield's quest to fight then heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. . . " "Trojan War," about USC football, was directed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Wednesday that it had written Tuesday to Eritrea's ambassador in France "responding to the accusations she made against RSF in a letter to the head of UNESCO's Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, in which she denied that three journalists —Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Wedi Itay — died in detention. RSF's letter calls on the Eritrean government to provide evidence that these three journalists are still alive and urges the ambassador to give an interview on her government's behalf to Radio Erena, a Paris-based independent radio station that broadcasts news and information to Eritrea. . . ."