- Those Who Followed Honor Jet’s Simeon Booker
- Columbia J-School Establishes Civil Rights Center
- Plain Dealer: Wahoo Should Have Been Long Gone
- Lemon Asks What Trump Is Trying to Hide
- Melvin Makes Spicer Watch Embarrassing Moments
- N.J. Investigation Tallies the Cost of Bad Cops
- Bystanders Bombard Texas Reporter With ‘N-Word’
- A New Approach to Prepare Journalists of Color
- Sudanese Journalist Paints Grim Picture for Press
- Short Takes
Those Who Followed Honor Jet’s Simeon Booker
Donald Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, had it exactly right Monday when he spoke at the Washington National Cathedral at the memorial service for Simeon Booker (pictured below). Booker, hired in 1951 by Graham’s father, Philip Graham, was the first black reporter at the Post, suffering the abuse that came with being a “first” in those days.
Booker, who died Dec. 10 at age 99, “integrated an industry,” Graham said. At the time, he said, citing scholars, there were no other African Americans working as journalists at major newspapers (though there had been); today there are thousands. There weren’t even African Americans in other departments of the newspaper. Today both the man running the Post’s pressroom and the woman who serves as his deputy are black.
Booker “opened the door and thousands of others passed through it.”
The icon later known as “the man from Jet” would stay just two years. “ ‘God knows, I tried to succeed at the Post,” he would say later. “I struggled so hard that friends thought I was dying, I looked so fatigued. After a year and a half, I had to give up. Trying to cover news in a city where even animal cemeteries were segregated overwhelmed me.”
In 1954, the legend-to-be joined the black-owned Johnson Publishing Co. to write for the weekly Jet and the monthly Ebony. “Booker ventured into the South and sent back dispatches that reached black readers across the United States,” as Emily Langer reported for the Post.
From Monday’s pulpit, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said that as he read Booker’s dispatches, “I felt liberated. I felt a whole world was opening up to me in rural Alabama.” The civil rights hero noted, “It was dangerous to be a reporter with a pen and a camera,” recalling that sometimes Booker would carry “a Bible to look like a preacher or overalls to look like a sharecropper. . . .
“If it hadn’t been for Booker, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings,” Lewis said.
Booker was best known for his coverage of the abduction and killing of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was visiting Money, Miss., from Chicago. Christopher D. Benson, who now teaches at Northwestern University, worked under Booker in the Washington Bureau of Johnson Publishing. He told of how closely Booker worked with Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to publicize the atrocity visited upon the teenager.
Relating those stories to today’s headlines, Monsignor Raymond East chose “rolling way the stone” as the theme of his homily, declaring the need for “rolling away the stone of lies and untruth.”
Taking this in was a crowd estimated at 400 or 500 in the cavernous Washington National Cathedral, which seats 2,400. Hardly any of the mourners were millennials or from Generation Y.
Like Sarah Glover, president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Eleanor Holmes Norton, congressional delegate from the District of Columbia; anchor Bruce Johnson of Washington’s WUSA-TV; Yanick Rice Lamb, chairman of the Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film; Ernest Green of the “Little Rock Nine,” and talk-show host and activist Joe Madison, the attendees were mostly a seasoned, self-selected group invested in professions that taught them the value of Booker’s contribution.
“I was born the year Booker came to The Post, and 24 years later I became one of the thousands who passed through that door,” Courtland Milloy wrote Monday in the Post.
“Listening to recollections about Booker’s journey, I couldn’t imagine myself or any other journalist today blazing such a path.”
The list of honorary ushers, most of whom were present, gives an idea of that select group:
Jeffrey Ballou, Clayton Boyce, Paul Delaney, Michael Fletcher, Wesley Lowery, Kevin Merida, Reginald Stuart, Betty Anne Williams, Glover, Roy Betts, Roy Lewis, Milton Williams, Richette Haywood, Barbara Best, Edgar Brookins, Hazel Edney, Enid Doggett, Tony Perkins, Maureen Bunyan, Denise Rolark Barnes, Dorothy Leavell, Lon Walls, Barbara Arnwine, Todd Franko and Derrick A. Humphries.
They no doubt appreciated more than most the words of Eugene Robinson in the Post last month:
“The great Simeon Booker, one of the bravest journalists of our time, faced dangers far worse than a petulant president’s social media feed. Booker refused to be cowed — and ultimately helped change the nation. His life’s work should be a lesson to us all about the power of truth to vanquish evil. . . .”
*Please see clarification: Simeon Booker Has Company as Newspaper Pioneer
Columbia J-School Establishes Civil Rights Center
“The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced today The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, dedicated to advancing the mission of civil rights coverage, especially in the United States,” the school announced on Jan. 23.
“ ‘With contentious debates around immigration, religious freedom, voter suppression, crime and police accountability, we need journalism that can inform and shape our understanding of race, gender, diversity and the evolution of civil rights,’ said Dean Steve Coll in announcing the center. ‘We are fortunate that we have in Ira A. Lipman a champion of both public interest journalism and equal rights for all Americans.’
“At the heart of the center’s mission is the establishment of annual fellowships intended to produce significant civil and human rights reportage. In 2018, its first year, the center will name two Ira A. Lipman Fellows in Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, one senior and one junior. They will be poised to make significant contributions to the school and the industry.
“Applications for the fellowship may be submitted from Feb. 1 to March 31, 2018. . . .”
“The center, directed by Jelani Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and an expert on history and race in the U.S., will convene leaders in journalism, and civil and human rights, and conduct research around social justice issues. . . .”
Plain Dealer: Wahoo Should Have Been Long Gone
“In deciding to retire Chief Wahoo, the Indians acted wisely,” the Plain Dealer in Cleveland editorialized on Monday. “Wahoo should have made his exit years ago, and the offensive symbol should not have returned to Indians uniforms after the team moved in 1994 to what’s now Progressive Field, leaving the giant Wahoo statue behind.
“But fans loved the Chief, and that made it tough for Indians management.
“Which is why, even with prodding from Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred, today’s announcement was a brave move by the Indians organization and by owner Paul Dolan.
“The Indians name will stay but Chief Wahoo will vacate uniforms after the 2018 season. The team will keep merchandising rights to avoid pirated versions, but marketing will be de-emphasized, as it should be.
“Next year, instead of Wahoo, the Indians will wear a sleeve patch for the 2019 All-Star Game, to be played in Cleveland. For 2020 and beyond, Dolan predicted to cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes a ‘fair amount of time to explore what, if any mark, we want to put on the sleeve.’
“Why was this the right thing? Let us count the ways. . . .”
Lemon Asks What Trump Is Trying to Hide
Here’s how Don Lemon began “CNN Tonight,” CNN’s Brian Stelter reported Monday:” “What is Donald Trump trying to hide? Why doesn’t he want the Mueller investigation to continue? Why did he decline to impose new sanctions on Russia today, as he had been ordered to do by Congress? What is going on here?”
Meanwhile, “President Donald Trump is taking credit for a decline in the African-American unemployment rate again, this time by taking aim at rapper and businessman Jay-Z following his comments on CNN Saturday night,” Maegan Vazquez reported for CNN on Monday.
“ ‘Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!’ Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
“The latest unemployment rate for African-Americans is 6.8%, while the rate is 3.7% percent for white people. Both the African-American rate and the overall rate have declined steadily since 2010.
“The President’s tweet follows Jay-Z’s remarks on the premiere of CNN’s ‘The Van Jones Show,’ where the rapper addressed Trump. . . .”
Separately, “Omarosa Manigault, who left the White House under dramatic circumstances at the tail end of last year, is set to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house,” Brian Porreca reported Sunday for the Hollywood Reporter referring to the reality television show.
TMZ said on Jan. 22 that Trump’s former director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison “has officially signed with the American Program Bureau ... joining its elite roster of speakers that includes Jay Leno, Diddy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
“We’re told Omarosa signed her John Hancock Monday morning and will ask for up to $50k a speech, depending on the venue. . . .”
In another development, Amazon has posted plans for a new book to be released in September by April Ryan, the Washington correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks who has feuded with Omarosa.
“In Under Fire, Ryan takes us inside the confusion and chaos of the Trump White House to understand how she and other reporters adjusted to the new normal. She takes us inside the policy debates, the revolving door of personnel appointments, and what it is like when she, as a reporter asking difficult questions, finds herself in the spotlight, becoming part of the story. With the world on edge and a country grappling with a new controversy almost daily. . . .”
BET plans to rebut Trump’s Tuesday State of the Union address with a news special Wednesday, “Angela Rye’s State of the Union.”
Featured will be Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Rashad Robinson, spokesperson of Color Of Change PAC; Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Georgia governor; David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition; Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minn.; Opal Tometi, executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration; and Stefanie Brown James, public affairs strategist.
Melvin Makes Spicer Watch Embarrassing Moments
“MSNBC’s Craig Melvin landed an interview with Sean Spicer, and in an artful display of savagery, made the former White House press secretary watch a highlight reel of his most embarrassing moments from the briefing room podium,” Aidan McLaughlin reported Monday for Mediaite.
“ ‘These are some of your greatest hits, so to speak,’ Melvin said, before playing a montage of some of Spicer’s worst moments as press secretary, including his infamous declaration that President Donald Trump’s inauguration had the biggest audience in history.
“ ‘You made some mistakes,’ Melvin said at the end of the montage. ‘Do you regret taking the job?’
“ ‘No,’ Spicer replied, calling it ‘the opportunity of a lifetime.’ . . .”
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Trump Repeats Nixon’s Fateful Panic
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: What to expect from Trump’s State of the Union: Hollow words from a morally bankrupt man
Alexandra Ellerbeck, Mediaite: One Year In, The Impact of Anti-Press Rhetoric is Putting Journalists in Grave Danger
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: State of the Union? Truthfully — chaotic, unless Trump says this
Derrick Z. Jackson, American Prospect: Trump’s Great American Whitewash
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Not all Dreamers should be granted legal status
Andrés Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Trump’s first year in office was a huge setback for U.S.-Latin American ties (Jan. 20)
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Why evangelicals made a deal with the devilish Donald Trump
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Trump is trying to Make America White Again
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: While we’re distracted by Trump’s dramatics, he’s doing real damage to our government (Jan. 21)
Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald: In the hunt for undocumented immigrants, Border Patrol agents hassle citizens, too
Asbury Park Press
N.J. Investigation Tallies the Cost of Bad Cops
“ ‘Protecting the Shield’ is an investigative series that examines the price the public pays when bad cops remain on local police forces,” the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, N.J., told readers on Jan. 22, updated Thursday. “Read the entire series at app.com/series/theshield
“New Jersey governments across the state, from the smallest towns to some of the largest cities, have spent at least $42.7 million this decade to cover-up deaths, physical abuses and sexual misconduct at the hands of bad cops.
“The abuses have left a staggering toll: at least 19 dead; 131 injured; 7 sexual transgressions, plus dozens of other offenses ranging from false arrest to harassment, the two-year investigation by the Asbury Park Press found. In many cases, local police departments knew about, even tolerated, violent behavior before the cops killed or maimed innocent people, the Press found. . . .”
Bystanders Bombard Texas Reporter With ‘N-Word’
“On Tuesday evening, Ashlei King, a reporter for KABB Fox29 and News4SA, was setting up in front of a school in San Antonio, getting ready to go live on the 10 o’clock show,” Lyanne A. Guarecuco reported Friday for the San Antonio Current.
“But minutes before her segment was set to air, King found herself in the midst of a racist outburst from complete strangers.
“ ‘They drove by and they yelled “F the government. You effing fake news. F you, you n-word.” And they kept saying it, like you n-word, you n-word, you n-word,’ King described in a Facebook Live video about the incident.
“ ‘King said it wasn’t the first time people have yelled while she’s been filming a segment — but ‘this time, it was different.’ She said at first, she decided to let it go, thinking maybe they were ‘some young punks.’ Then, the car came back around a second time.
“ ‘They were like, f you you n-word, you effing n-word, f-you f-you you n-word n-word n-word. And at that time, I’m kind of angry, because you know, I’m like how, why would somebody do this? And I couldn’t really understand it,’ King said.
“By the time they returned the third time, King said she was scared at that point, because she ‘didn’t know what they were going to do.’
“ ‘I couldn’t really believe that this was happening. We’re in 2018, and you have people calling each other derogatory terms. I’ve never in my life been called that word,’ King said. . . .”
She added on Facebook, “Unfortunately, my photographer and I both froze and didn’t even think to get a license plate number until after the third time they came. It’s crazy because you always think about what you would do in situations like this, but when they actually happen, you respond completely different.”
Roy S. Johnson, al.com: Hopefully, we’re all clear now: do not use the word, ever
A New Approach to Prepare Journalists of Color
“In the past few weeks, I’ve felt overwhelmed by my anger,” Brenda Salinas wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute. “I am angry at the complicity of newsroom executives who talk about diversity in hiring while doing nothing about retention. I am incredulous at the business reasons for favoring one brilliant jerk’s career over the productivity of dozens of women. . . .”
Salinas said she asked Doug Mitchell, the founder of NPR’s Next Generation Radio, for advice. She is a mentor in the program. He urged her to lead a candid discussion with students.
One of the slides she used in the training concerned job interviews:
“During the interview process: Be polite, but also ask a lot of questions. If the manager wants to hire an actual journalist, they’ll be impressed. Here are some questions you might ask:
“What happened to the last person who held the position you are applying for, or if it’s a new position, why was this position created? What happens to people who take entry-level jobs at that workplace? Do they get promoted internally or do they leave? What kind of career development opportunities are going to be available to you? Has that development been available to others, and if so, can you talk to them about it?
“Don’t just take their word for it. Will you be able to go to conferences and apply to trainings and workshops? Will they help you pitch your work to outside editors? If they tell you you can pursue these opportunities on your own time, or that you’ll need to take vacation days for career development, that is a huge red flag. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the interview process. Are you going to be the ‘only one?’ What happened to the last ‘only one?’
“Forget that you really need the job for a minute and take off your rose-colored glasses. The dynamics you see during the interview process will come back to haunt you if you take the job. Is the manager disorganized? How does the manager treat the receptionist? Does the manager make you feel comfortable? Write your impressions down at the end of the day and debrief with your mentors. That’s what we’re here for. . . .”
Sudanese Journalist Paints Grim Picture for Press
“A Sudanese journalist, who was arrested and released during the recent high bread price protests has painted a ‘depressing picture’ of the ‘tough conditions’ that journalists are working under in that east African country,” Luthando Vikilahle reported Tuesday for News24 in South Africa.
Investigative journalist Shawgi Abdel Azim Osman Yassin, “who works for a satellite business news channel, Sudania24, said that he was arrested on January 18 with several other journalists, among them, international correspondents working for Reuters news agency and the Agency France-Presse (AFP).
“ ‘They sat me back on the floor and asked me for personal information, and asked me to draw a map showing them the place of my house and they asked why I was in the place of the protests.
“ ‘And thereafter, they charged me with inciting citizens to protest against the high prices,’ said Yassin. . . .
“ ‘They took personal pictures of each one of us, took blood samples, and filled out our personal details. All the time they insulted us, and they also beat students who had been arrested during protests, and shaved the hair for some of them. At 06:00 we were taken to a prison known as “Cooper” prison where we spent six days before we were released,’ he said. . . .
“ ‘The press works in very difficult circumstances in Sudan. Journalists are persecuted by the security authorities. They are imprisoned in cases related to the press. They are dismissed from work at the request of the security apparatus. Newspapers are confiscated if they do not carry out instructions and orders. They have to follow the system or risk being jailed,’ said Yassin. . . .”
A Celebration of Life service for Walterene Swanson-NuevaEspana, the diversity champion who died Jan. 19, is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 1:30 pm, at Cunningham Turch Funeral Home, 811 Cameron St., Alexandria, Va. 22314, the family announced Monday. They suggest that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the American Cancer Society, or to the scholarship fund of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ.org/donations or by mail, NABJ, 1100 Knight Hall, Suite 3100, College Park, MD 20742).
“Late last week, the Daily News suspended the paper’s managing editor and Sunday editor who have come under investigation after the company received multiple complaints from female staffers alleging sexual harassment (paywall),” Lukas I. Alpert reported Monday for the Wall Street Journal. It was previously reported that Robert Moore, managing editor for news or, alternatively, “head of news,” the highest ranking African American, was under investigation by the paper’s parent company after inquiries by NPR. Sydney Ember of the New York Times also reported Monday that Moore and the News’ Sunday editor, Alexander Jones, had been suspended.
“Michelle Obama has selected Ellen DeGeneres for her first post-White House TV interview,” Lisa de Moraes reported Monday for Deadline Hollywood. “The former first lady will appear on Thursday’s Ellen DeGeneres Show to help celebrate the host’s 60th birthday, the show revealed Monday. . . .”
“Former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is returning to MSNBC after Morgan Stanley ‘clarified’ that he wasn’t fired for sexual misconduct,” Emily Smith reported Monday for pagesix.com. An MSNBC spokesman confirmed Ford’s return. “Ford strongly denied media reports last December suggesting he harassed a female journalist at a Manhattan dinner in 2014,” Smith wrote. “The bank, for which Ford was a managing director, said in a statement last week about reports Ford Jr. was terminated for sexual misconduct, ‘He was not. We have not received any internal allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct involving him.’ . . .”
Trymaine Lee, who joined NBC News and MSNBC in 2012 as a national reporter for the digital unit, has been named a correspondent for MSNBC, the network announced Monday. “In his new position, Lee will cover the role of race, violence, politics and law enforcement in America and bring his expertise in social justice issues to MSNBC’s primetime and weekend programming. He will appear regularly across ‘All In with Chris Hayes,’ ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ and ‘AM Joy. . . .”
Gannett Co., owner of 109 local newspapers and websites, along with USA Today, “cut 2% of its workforce in 2016 and about 1% last year,” Ryan Derousseau reported Thursday for folio:. “These small daggers reduce an already slimmed newspaper division, hurting local coverage. It’s not as if these newspapers have given up, but it leaves a gap, one that city and regional magazines — fighting their own efforts to stay relevant — have tried to fill as much as they can. . . .”
“Sons of Confederate Veterans member Robert ‘Smitty’ Smith says the group wants to raise Confederate flags in each of the 17 counties I-40 runs through in North Carolina [on adjoining private property] in response to the removal of Confederate monuments elsewhere,” the Associated Press reported on Monday. “The latest flag was put up along Interstate 40 in Burke County near Morganton. Other rebel banners fly on I-40 in Catawba County near Hickory and Interstate 95 in Cumberland County near Fayetteville.” Doug Clark, an editorial writer at the News & Record in Greensboro, wrote Monday, “I’m not comfortable, as a white man who has lived in the South for nearly 50 years, seeing this flag. I associate it with attitudes that should have died out long ago. . . .”
“Netflix premieres the documentary series Rapture, about hip-hop and its effect on culture, March 30,” Michael Malone reported for Broadcasting & Cable. “There are eight episodes in the series. Nas, Dave East, T.I., Rapsody, Logic and G-Easy offer their commentary. Says Netflix, ‘Rapture dives into the artists’ lives with their families and friends, to sitting front row in the studio and grinding on tour, to experiencing the ecstatic power of moving the crowd.’ . . . ”
Once called anti-Semitic as radio host, author and onetime radical black activist Julius Lester grew to be a Jewish icon, Robin Washington, a fellow black Jew, wrote Thursday for the Bay State Banner. Lester, 78, died Thursday in Belchertown, Mass. “We discussed his books, but also more contentious stuff: the Jewish hostility hurled at him in 1968 for airing an anti-Semitic poem on his New York radio show in the midst of a fierce school desegregation battle, and accusations nearly 20 years later that now he was taking the Jewish side in disputes between the groups at UMass. He would later be forced from the Afro-Am Department,” Washington wrote.
High school students “in Kansas have legal protections that allow them to publish without fear of school censorship. Students here don’t,” Susan Enfield and Joe Fain wrote Monday in the Seattle Times. “Many are surprised that student journalists are not guaranteed First Amendment protections. . . . We believe high school and college students throughout our state should have the same rights, and a change in law is the way to make that happen. . . .”
“Those Who Spread the Word: Our Revolutionary Griots” were to have been acknowledged over the weekend in New York at a Freedom Fighters Dinner Tribute, “recognizing the works of Black journalists and artists ‘who have gone out of their way to expose the injustice of U.S.-held political prisoners, and who are actively involved in fighting for their release,’ the New York Amsterdam News reported Thursday. The honoree list included “Nayaba Arinde, New York Amsterdam News; Basir Mchawi, Education at the Crossroads; Sally O’Brien, Where We Live; photographer Solwazi Afi Olusola; and performing artist Ngoma. . . .”
“From 2001 to 2017, fourteen media organizations were launched in Cuba that are already having impact on and off the island,” Elaine Díaz Rodríguez, the first Cuban journalist to receive the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, wrote for Cuba’s SembraMedia. The article was republished Monday by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “Most of their teams have fewer than a dozen journalists, and many of them are volunteers. . . . Almost all of them survive in an openly illegal terrain known as ‘allegality.’ Non-state media in Cuba defy the very Constitution of the country, which in Article 52 explicitly prohibits the existence of private media. . . .”
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.