• Newspaper Applauds as 2 Statues Come Down
  • Magic Johnson-Isiah Thomas Reconciliation a Hit
  • Roland Martin Signs Off From ‘NewsOne Now’
  • Efforts to Find Puerto Rico’s Missing Inadequate
  • Faulkner Wants to Be Part of Harassment Solution
  • More Ideas for Covering Refugees and Race
  • . . . 5 Takeaways from Live Conversations
  • Nothing Funny About Stereotyping Sean Combs
  • Hispanic Identification Fades by Generation
  • Mexican Journalist Slain at Christmas Party
  • Short Takes

Tri-State Defender

Newspaper Applauds as 2 Statues Come Down

The city’s two Confederate statues, racist propaganda from the past, symbols of a shameful era of slavery, lynching and other crimes against God and country, have been taken down,” the Commercial Appeal, Memphis’ daily newspaper, editorialized Thursday.

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“Good riddance, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis. May your bronzed and marbled likenesses find more suitable resting places — perhaps a Civil War museum or cemetery — where our unrighteous past can be noted and grieved, not ennobled and glorified.

“And good work, Memphis. After years of political resolutions and public protests, legal disputation and moral consternation, state interference and indifference, the two statues were removed suddenly, quickly and cleverly Wednesday evening without incident. . . .”

The newspaper wasn’t the only celebrant.

For many, it was a night akin to Nov. 4 2008 when President-elect Barack Obama gave a victory speech in Chicago, signaling that something they thought might not happen in their [lifetime] had occurred — the election of an African American to serve as president of the United States,” the Tri-State Defender, an African American newspaper, reported.

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The Confederacy falls in Memphis,” headlined MLK50 Memphis, a yearlong reporting project on economic justice pegged to next year’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in that city.

“The camaraderie was palpable, as residents of all persuasions — African-Americans, Asian-Americans, whites, Middle-Easterners — waited patiently as police kept order while workers worked. Many onlookers walked up to #TakeEmDown901 creator Tami Sawyer to meet her and thank her. She cried quite a bit. Several Memphis police officers could be spied with smiles on their faces; there seemed to be a feeling of relief in the air. . . .”

However, the story added, “On the flip side of the celebration, the WREG News Channel 3 live Facebook feed was buried under a deluge of complaints about the station’s decision to cut into the season finale of ‘Survivor’ in favor of airing a historic moment. . . .”

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The cleverness referenced by the Commercial Appeal referred to outmaneuvering of the Confederate-friendly state Legislature by officials of the majority-black city.

The editorial continued, “ ‘The statues no longer represent who we are as a modern, diverse city with momentum,’ Mayor Jim Strickland said after the statues were removed from their pedestals just hours after City Council ratified the sale of Health Sciences Park (formerly Forrest Park) and Fourth Bluff Park (formerly Confederate Park) to a privately-funded nonprofit called Memphis Greenspace Inc.

“By selling the two parks, the city outflanked a 2016 law that basically allowed the state to occupy the parks and prevent the city from ‘renaming, removing or relocating any statues, monuments and other memorials on publicly owned land’ without the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Tennessee Historical Commission.

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“The city tried to play by the state’s rules, but the 29-member commission is heavily stacked with Confederate history buffs and apologists who twice rejected the city’s request to remove the Forrest statue. So the city changed its tactics and tried another legal maneuver.

“ ‘The law allows a city to sell land to a private entity,’ Strickland noted Wednesday. ‘The law allows a private entity to remove items such as statues from its own land.’ . . .”

In the Memphis Flyer of Oct. 29, Joe Hayden, a historian and a professor of journalism at the University of Memphis, explained just who had been honored all those years.

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Defenders of the site today seem to have forgotten who Forrest was, why the tribute was put there in the first place, and even the purpose of monuments generally,” Hayden wrote.

“According to historian Charles Royster, Forrest ‘was a minor player in some major battles and a major player in minor battles.’ But he was also responsible for the massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow, an atrocity that drew widespread condemnation all across the country. Before the war, Forrest trafficked in slaves and acquired a ‘notorious’ reputation even within his home state, and he helped found the Ku Klux Klan, the nation’s oldest continuing terrorist organization.

“His memorial was completed in 1905, a time when the South was reclaiming its connection to the Lost Cause and trying to rehabilitate its military leaders, and doing so while redoubling efforts to subjugate African Americans through segregation, discrimination, and violence. The two things were closely connected. After all, this was the heyday of lynching. Yet those defending Confederate statues seem keen to ignore or minimize that part of the past. . . .”

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In 2013, with the support of the Florida Times-Union editorial board, the Duval County (Fla.) School Board voted unanimously to change the name of its Forrest counterpart, the majority African American Nathan Forrest High School in Jacksonville.

The name is poisoned,” a Times-Union editorial said.

In Memphis, Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner, an African American who is president of Memphis Greenspace, Inc., said his organization has raised money from anonymous donors to remove the statues and to operate Memphis Park and Health Sciences Park, where the statues stood.

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We are standing at the threshold of a new Memphis,” Turner said, WMC-TV reported.

The decision to take down the monuments was a journalistic victory for MLK50, according to Wendi C. Thomas, its editor.

“With a black editor and and all-woman reporting team, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, broke the news Wednesday that Memphis’ Confederate monuments had been sold to a new nonprofit and would be removed that day,” Thomas messaged. “While other local journalists were tweeting that they didn’t know what was going on, MLK50 had already tweeted pictures of the city council’s ordinance that authorized the sale. The city’s daily paper has a reporter covering the council full time, but that proved no match for the sources my team has.

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“I’m super proud that my nonprofit news startup — with reporters Micaela Watts and Kirstin Cheers, photographer Andrea Morales, MLK50 managing editor Deborah Douglas and me, as editor and publisher — scooped local and national media. Three black women, one Latina and one white woman. It’s important the first draft of history remember the role of women and journalists of color in this incredible moment.”

Editorial, Dallas Morning News: DISD can remove Confederate names from schools, but can it remove entrenched socio-economic segregation?

April Thompson, WREG-TV, Memphis: Where did the Confederate statues go? We found them

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Magic Johnson, right, and Isiah Thomas (nba.tv)

Magic Johnson-Isiah Thomas Reconciliation a Hit

As NBA feuds go, Hall of Fame duo Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas have had one of the longest dating back to the 1980s,” Tariq Saleh wrote Thursday for GiveMeSport.com, commenting on one of the most affecting moments shared on social media this week.

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“The pair were once best friends and broke a mold in an era where players from opposing teams rarely shared a friendship off the court.

“They were one of the most recognizable tandems but their relationship deteriorated and went downhill.

“Their downfall started in the late ‘80s when the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons met in two consecutive NBA Finals.

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“In game three of the 1988 Finals, Johnson and Thomas got involved in a scuffle and after the Pistons beat the Lakers in ‘89, their friendship seemed to be over.

“In a co-authored book with Larry Bird, Magic also famously admitted to being involved in keeping Isiah off the 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team along with the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who also had bad blood with the Detroit point guard.

“The Lakers legend claimed that he helped to keep him off the team because Thomas had spread a rumor about his sexuality.

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“But time heals all and after almost 30 years, the two have finally decided to bury the hatchet.

“They reconciled in an emotional Players Only Monthly special that aired on NBA TV on Tuesday night. . . .”

Alejandro Danois, Shadow League: Magic Johnson And Isiah Thomas: Brothers Gonna Work It Out

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Tom Gatto, Sporting News: Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas embrace in reconciliation on NBA TV

Roland Martin Signs Off From ‘NewsOne Now’

Roland Martin hosted the last broadcast of his “NewsOne Now” show in its current incarnation Thursday but declared that “if you think I’m going to be quiet, you got another thing coming. (video)

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TV One announced on Dec. 8 that after four years of producing the only black daily newscast on television, it was suspending the production of “NewsOne Now” as a daily morning news show. TV One CEO Alfred Liggins said in a statement, “We know there is a void in mainstream media and we plan to continue to be an outlet for Black news. Roland Martin will be a part of that plan.”

Liggins also said, “Despite the network’s commitment and investment, NewsOne Now did not gain traction with advertisers and viewers. TV One is working to restructure NewsOne Now in 2018 under a new format that will better serve its audience and advertisers. . . .”

In his final commentary, Martin said, “I’ve never believed that white media is more important than black media” and that “I believe you deserve a different type of news.” As one example, social media fans pointed out the show’s presentation of an all-black panel of economists.

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Efforts to Find Puerto Rico’s Missing Inadequate

Anyone passing through the main streets of Puerto Rico’s metropolitan areas has seen them: homemade signs that carry sadness, with photos of missing persons after Hurricane María and the contact information of the relatives who are still searching to find them,” Omaya Sosa Pascual and Jeniffer Wiscovitch reported Sunday for the Center for Investigative Journalism (English version by Julio Ricardo Varela, “Latino USA.”)

“Nonetheless, close to three months since the storm, 45 people are still listed as missing, and efforts by Puerto Rico’s police to locate them have been minimal or almost non-existent, according to new reporting by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) that involved a review of documents, interviews with law enforcement officials and relatives of the missing.

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“Although police issued a ‘special plan’ to deal with the avalanche of cases after the hurricane, this occurred three weeks after the storm. As a result, police couldn’t take advantage of the early critical time period to start searching for missing persons.

In an interview with the CPI, Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Michelle Hernández de Fraley attributed the delay to the serious conditions caused by María, which led to major communications issues and stretched resources that had to be dedicated to immediate rescue work. . . .”

Faulkner Wants to Be Part of Harassment Solution

Harris Faulkner

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During summer 2016, in the weeks after a sexual harassment scandal broke at Fox News, daytime anchor Harris Faulkner would look around a conference room during meetings at the network’s headquarters and wonder about her female colleagues,” Stephen Battaglio reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times.

“ ‘Are there victims here?’ the anchor of the daily afternoon newscast ‘Outnumbered Overtime’ would ask herself. ‘How do I be part of a culture that can survive this?’ In retrospect, Faulkner said, ‘It seemed like an out-of-body experience trying to process all the nuances and the details that were coming out.’

“ ‘Yeah, especially when people judged me in public in front of my children. But I didn’t, and I’m glad that I haven’t.”

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“Fox News, with its polarizing conservative personalities, can stir enough passion among viewers that strangers who recognize Faulkner on the street will ask her how she can work there after the harassment allegations were revealed.

‘”But the 52-year-old UC Santa Barbara alum believed she could be ‘part of the solution.’ On Oct. 2, she became one of five solo women who now host their own daily hours on Fox News (a year ago, there were only two, including Megyn Kelly, who left for NBC). Faulkner, who joined Fox News in 2005, is also currently the only black woman with a daily program on one of the three major cable news channels. . . .”

Andrew Dalton, Associated Press: Media Players Start Misconduct Commission

Ilya Marritz and Jessica Gould, WNYC-FM: New York Public Radio Fires Hosts Lopate and Schwartz

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Alanna Vagianos, HuffPost Black Voices: Half Of American Voters Think Trump Should Resign Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Refugees’ stories are spread across the 3,306 U.S. cities and towns in which they have resettled. (American Press Institute)

More Ideas for Covering Refugees and Race

The word ‘refugee’ evokes a certain image: people fleeing persecution or war-torn areas, living under harsh refugee camp conditions, starting a new life in a foreign country,” Emily Case wrote Monday for the American Press Institute.

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“In reality, there are many different pictures.

“The refugees who resettled in America in 2016 alone represent 107 countries and varied educational, economic, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Each refugee has his or her own story.

“Collectively, their stories spread across the 3,306 cities and towns they have resettled in. For journalism, they represent an important and powerful subject. When shared in your local community, these stories can foster understanding, bridge divides and bring nuance to conversations about émigré issues.

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“In response to this opportunity for local newsrooms, I worked with the API staff as a summer fellow to develop the Refugee Reporting Resource, a tool to help local reporters better cover refugee populations. By using data from the Refugee Processing Center, the site allows users to see how many refugees have been resettled in their city and from where. It also provides resources including definitions of refugee-related terms and the resettlement process in America.

“This study intends to help journalists learn how to use this data to build reporting and storytelling of their own,” Case continued. “It is based on interviews with nine journalists who have covered refugee and immigrant-related issues. Through our conversations, I found commonalities in how newsrooms approach refugee coverage and a wealth of ideas about relationship building, newsgathering and storytelling processes. . . .”

They echo discussions of how race should be covered.

“The approaches we find in this study fall into three basic categories. . . .

“Many outlets had a beat that specifically covered refugees or a similar topic. . . .

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“Some newsrooms had a specific refugee (or related) beat, but refugee coverage also fell into other beats at times. . . .

“Other organizations did not have a specific beat dedicated to refugee coverage, but the topic was generally covered by another beat reporter and/or spread throughout the newsroom. . . .”

. . . 5 Takeaways from Live Conversations

John Eligon and Rachel L. Swarns of the New York Times noted Thursday, “Over the past year, we have hosted weekly live conversations about race and ethnicity on Facebook, tackling topics that ranged from black royalty to Latino baseball players to Asian-American slurs. RaceNYT, as we call the segment, is an extension of the crucial coverage on race — in America and beyond — that appears in The New York Times. We see it as a chance not only to explore important stories of race and what they mean to society, but also to give you, our readers and viewers, a chance to join the conversation. . . .”

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The reporters provided five takeaways from the Facebook talks:

“1. Racial issues transcend oceans . . . .

“2. For many people, talking about race feels perilous. They’re still trying. . . .

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“3. Racially divided in Trump’s America . . . .

“4. #HistoryMatters . . . .

“5. We report on race and racial issues. We grapple with them in our own lives, too. . . .”

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Some are more optimistic than others about diversity-related coverage.

In “The year in journalism: The big players, best feuds, and more,” Columbia Journalism Review’s Pete Vernon wrote Thursday:

In an environment in which race is part of every story, media organizations have largely failed to address diversity in their own newsrooms. The American Society of News Editors found that minority journalists comprised only 16.6 percent of the workforce in US newsrooms, which is a half-percentage-point decrease from last year’s number. It’s an issue to which the industry pays lip service, but has so far shown little will to correct.”

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Nothing Funny About Stereotyping Sean Combs

I want to offer a sincere apology to anyone I may have offended during our morning newscast today,” anchor Henry Wofford of KRON-TV in San Francisco told viewers on Monday (updated Tuesday). “During a conversation with Darya Folsom, I made a comment about whether Sean Diddy Combs was seriously considering buying the Carolina Panthers. In my comments, I questioned whether Mr. Combs was sober during a recently posted video.

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“Although it was said in an attempt to be funny, I realize insinuating a person may be drunk or on drugs is nothing to joke about. For that I sincerely apologize to Mr. Combs, his fans and everyone who was offended. Dozens of Diddy’s [T]witter followers have accused me of playing on racial stereotypes. That was not my goal. But I understand my comments had that impact and for that I sincerely apologize. . . .”

Under a dramatic print-edition layout displaying 32 mug shots of the current NFL owners, nearly all male and pale, Washington Post sports columnist Jerry Brewer explained Wednesday why the Panthers are up for sale.

“After a Sports Illustrated investigative report Sunday exposed [Panthers owner Jerry] Richardson’s disturbing history of sexual harassment and racist remarks, he announced that he would sell the team at season’s end. He avoids the indignity of making the NFL remove him in a more forceful manner. He’ll be punished by making ridiculous money off his ridiculous misconduct.

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“Congratulations, Jerry Richardson. You have helped to redefine the term ‘filthy rich.’

“If the NFL is wise, it will use this embarrassment as an opportunity to take a long look at itself. Stare into the mirror just once, and the league will see one priority it must have as it assists Richardson in vetting and seeking potential buyers.

“This is a good time to be proactive and serious about improving the diversity among NFL owners. . . .”

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James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: NFL racism, sexism converge in Carolina, crushing Panthers’ owner and leaving the league at a crossroads

Steven Rothman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Black Brains Matter

Mashaun D. Simon, NBCBLK: Diddy, Kaepernick, others could buy Carolina Panthers and make history

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Jesse Washington, the Undefeated: Sean Combs as an NFL owner? We check Diddy’s receipts

Hispanic Identification Fades by Generation

High intermarriage rates and declining immigration are changing the way some Americans with Hispanic ancestry see their identity, according to a Pew Research Center report, a Pew news release said Wednesday.

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“Among the estimated 42.7 million U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry in 2015, nine-in-ten self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. But another 5 million, or 11%, do not consider themselves part of the minority group. Among Americans with Hispanic ancestry, the share that identifies as Hispanic or Latino falls across immigrant generations.

“Nearly all immigrant adults from Latin America or Spain (97%) say they are Hispanic, as do 92% of second-generation adults with Hispanic ancestry (the U.S.-born children of at least one immigrant parent), according to Pew Research Center estimates.

“By the third generation (a group made up of the U.S.-born children of U.S-born parents and immigrant grandparents) the share that self-identifies as Hispanic falls to 77%. And by the fourth or higher generation (U.S.-born children of U.S.-born parents and U.S.-born grandparents, or even more distant relatives), just half of U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry say they are Hispanic. . . .”

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Mexican Journalist Slain at Christmas Party

Gumaro Perez (UDG-TV)

International condemnation rolled in Wednesday over the murder of a journalist in Mexico’s Veracruz state, the latest in a wave of such killings seen as an assault on free speech in the country,” Maria Verza and Peter Orsi reported for the Associated Press.

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“The United Nations’ human rights agency said in a statement through its Mexico office that the slaying of Gumaro Perez ‘confirms a terrible year for freedom of expression in Mexico.’

“The Inter-American Press Society expressed its ‘consternation over the toll of journalists killed this year in the country, most of them with impunity.’

“The 34-year-old Perez was shot to death Tuesday while at a Christmas party at his son’s school in Acayucan, in the Gulf state of Veracruz. He was at least the 10th journalist slain in the country this year and the third in Veracruz. . . . “

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Verza and Orsi also wrote, “Local governments in Veracruz and elsewhere in Mexico have often sought to discredit slain journalists in order to suggest their killings were not related to their work. . . .”

Elana Beiser, Committee to Protect Journalists: In absence of fresh military conflict, journalist killings decline again

Teresa Mioli, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Mexican journalist left in “despair” and “horror” at detention center in Texas, as his lawyers fight to avoid deportation

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Short Takes

Kate Snow and Lester Holt

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Jesse Rodriguez

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

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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.