Lakiah Payne (left) walks with Michael Brown's sister, Deja Brown, as they visit a memorial for him that is set up on the spot where he fell after he was shot by police on Aug. 19, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. 
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

St. Louis Paper Compiles "Most Comprehensive" Account

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch told readers Sunday that it had "put together the most comprehensive public account chronicling the police response" in the hours after the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last month.


"To determine why the body remained on the street for hours, the Post-Dispatch analyzed public records, police testimony, medical examiner procedures and data from previous crime scenes, and interviewed medical examiner staff, police officials, Canfield Green residents and others," David Hunn reported. "The newspaper has put together the most comprehensive public account chronicling the police response in the hours after Brown’s death." Brown was shot in the Canfield Green housing complex.

"Forensic professionals from across the country and local police officials contacted for this story acknowledge that sometimes bodies remain at a crime scene even longer than Brown's did. But they agree that four hours is a long time on a public street, particularly at a volatile scene when police have killed a man.

"Now, five weeks later, some police officials say they have learned from the experience and wish they had moved more quickly to get Brown's body off Canfield Drive and quash the flash point that fed the crowd's anger."


Hunn also wrote, "Experts say some of the delays could have been caused by inexperience. Computerized medical examiner reports in St. Louis County list only a handful of officer-involved fatal shootings where the victim died at the scene. They took place in the early morning on weekdays.

"This shooting was on a Saturday, with a skeleton crew on duty and an earlier incident miles away that delayed detectives from getting to Ferguson. . . ."

Despite explanations from police, the story said, " 'You'll never make anyone black believe that a white kid would have laid in the street for four hours,' said Mike Jones, an African-American and chief aide to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. 'It defies any understanding of reality.' . . ."


Whites, Blacks Split on Whether Shooting Was Justified

"A new public opinion survey of St. Louis County residents shows the public perception of the death 18-year-old Michael Brown and its aftermath is sharply divided along racial lines," Steve Giegerich reported Monday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"The survey, released Monday morning by the Kansas City-based Remington Research Group, found that 65 percent of African-American county residents believe that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson acted unjustly when he ended Brown's life Aug. 9 on a Ferguson street.


"Conversely, 62 percent of the white residents surveyed by Remington believe the shooting death of Brown was justified.

"The fissure broke even wider when surveyors asked if Wilson should be 'arrested and charged with a crime' with 71 percent of African American residents responding 'yes' opposed to the 71 percent of white survey-takers who believe the police officer should not be arrested or charged.

"An equally stark divide emerged on the question of whether Brown was 'targeted because of his race.'


"Over three-quarters of the white respondents — 77 percent — responded 'no' while 64 percent of the African-Americans answered in the affirmative.

"Remington Research, which was founded by Republican political consultant Jeff Roe, based its findings on questions posed to 604 county residents on Saturday and Sunday. . . ."

Movement Veteran Says Organizing Doesn't Get Its Due

The recent events in Ferguson, Mo., are a "classic example of abysmal black leadership," according to journalist and author Charles E. Cobb Jr., whose recent book, "This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible," discusses the Southern civil rights movement of which he was a part.


"Only 6 percent of black voters are registered. Black leadership failed to organize black people. National black leaders parachute in and out, but are not around to do the organizing. How are they 'black leaders'? 'I don't know why Martin Luther King III is a leader, or why Al Sharpton is a leader.' "

Cobb, a former field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, told a luncheon meeting of Washington journalists on Sunday, "News is shaped by what's left out. The same thing is true of history." What has been insufficiently emphasized, according to Cobb, has been the role of organizing in the civil rights movement as well as in ongoing efforts to secure justice.

Speaking of television reporters who covered the movement, such as Dan Rather of CBS News, Cobb said that television gravitates toward drama and said that orientation drove coverage.


To report on the organizing behind the drama was considered boring, Cobb said. There was no violence in the black community. "The only point in which we have contact with whites is when we bring people to the county courthouse. Guys like Rather ignored most of the work." That resulted in an incomplete definition of what the movement was about and made important people invisible, he said.

Cobb, who teaches about the civil rights movement at Brown University, quoted Julian Bond's comment about how Americans are taught about the era: "Rosa Parks sat down, Martin Luther King stood up and the white folks saved the day."

Cobb returned to the importance of organizing when asked about how the movement's lessons for today. "More important [are] the challenges black people make to other black people," he said. "Challenge black people. Tell them there is no excuse for you not standing up for yourself. That's the great lesson of the movement," he said.


Black Power and the Mainstream Media (March 29, 2009)

Allen G. Breed and Sharon Cohen, Associated Press: Achieving diversity in police ranks no easy task

Christine Byers, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Grand jury now has until January to decide whether to charge Ferguson officer


Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press: Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson teen's death puts new focus on minority voting 

Nick Massella, FishbowlDC: HuffPost's Ferguson Fellowship $40k Crowd-Funding Goal Met 

Michael Pearson and AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN: Brown family attorney blasts St. Louis paper for 'gossip and racist speculation'


Benét J. Wilson, Covering the Fallout in Ferguson

Peterson Case Prompts Discussion of Black Discipline

"Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro running back who faces child abuse charges in Texas, never appeared in the locker room while it was open to the news media Monday," Pat Borzi reported Monday for the New York Times.


" 'The only indication Peterson was back at the team's Winter Park headquarters came from a note taped to the chair at his locker, summoning him to report for a random N.F.L. drug test.

"The Vikings announced Monday that Peterson, whom the team deactivated for last Sunday's 30-7 loss to New England, would practice this week and play Sunday at New Orleans.

"Moments after Peterson released a statement on his Twitter account apologizing for hurting his 4-year-old son, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman faced a barrage of questions about why Peterson, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, was being allowed to return.


" 'This is a difficult path to navigate regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child,' Spielman said. 'We believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out.'

"Hours after Spielman spoke, KHOU-TV in Houston reported a new allegation about Peterson involving a different son. . . ."

Borzi also wrote, "Peterson is accused of injuring his son while disciplining him with a tree branch, commonly referred to as a switch, last May in Spring, Tex., north of Houston.


"Photographs obtained by a Houston television station showed cuts and bruises on the boy’s buttocks, back and legs. . . ."

The incident prompted a debate over child discipline practices in the black community and elsewhere.

Denise Clay, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Us

Jarvis DeBerry, | the Times-Picayune: Where did black folks learn of whippings, and why are they still a thing?


Amanda Hess, Slate: "Love" Is Not a Defense for Beating Your Child

David A. Love, the Grio: Beating our black children furthers the legacy of slavery

Minnesota Vikings: Statement From The Vikings Regarding Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings: Statement From Adrian Peterson

Robert Siegel with Elizabeth Gershoff, NPR: Like Adrian Peterson, Majority Of U.S. Parents Use Physical Discipline


Tommy Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, The NFL And Whippings

Lead Sentence of Column on Ray Rice Gets a "WTF?"

"Predictably, the lead sentence of New York Times . . . columnist Michael Powell's latest item has generated an instant, massive outcry. From fellow journalists and others," Richard Horgan wrote Monday for FishbowlNY.


"Say this for Ray Rice: His left cross was of professional quality, a short, explosive punch. And his fiancée's head snapped back as if she'd been shot. . . ."

After citing two tweets reacting with "I don't have any words . . ." and "wtf?" Horgan continued, "But also via Twitter, Powell is insisting that these first few article words take on proper contextual meaning if his piece is fully read and understood. He also suggests that "Twitter is beyond parody. Like a swarm of bots programmed to misquote out of context and scream OMG.' . . ."

Kevin Blackistone, American Journalism Review: We Haven't Let the Facts Get in the Way of the Ray Rice React


Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Ray Rice and His Rage

Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Panthers call audible on Greg Hardy. Now what?

Robin Lindsay with William C. Rhoden, New York Times: Fan Reaction to the Ray Rice Video (video)


Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: When sportsmen behave badly — again

William C. Rhoden, New York Times: To N.F.L. Fans, the Sport's Troubles Vanish Between the Lines Hires Jenée Desmond-Harris of The Root

Jenée Desmond-Harris, features editor of The Root, has been hired at, the online startup headed by Ezra Klein, formerly of the Washington Post's Wonkblog. Earlier in the year, became a lightning rod for complaints about the lack of racial diversity at Internet startups.


Desmond-Harris follows Lauren Williams, her former colleague at The Root, who was hired in June as's lead editor, editing stories across subject platforms, establishing and implementing an efficient editorial process, facilitating daily copy flow and working with senior editors on daily editorial planning, as Williams described the job then.

"I can't wait to work with her again," Desmond-Harris said by email of Williams. She said she would be writing about race, law and politics. 

"Ezra reached out to me to discuss what they were looking for and I immediately knew it would be a great fit. I'm passionate about the subject area I'll be covering and I think race, especially, lends itself to the explanatory journalism Vox is known for," Desmond-Harris said. "I'll report to Ezra and work with the team covering national issues." She starts Oct. 1.


Martin to Host Forums in N.Y., Charlotte, Dallas, Miami

"NPR's Michel Martin is taking the studio to the story, she's going where the nation's most important conversations are happening," the network declared on Monday.

"Martin will be telling these stories from their epicenter and in partnership with NPR Member Stations, giving local stories national resonance. NPR Presents Michel Martin, a series of live events across the country, launches Friday Sept. 19 in New York City.


"This week together with New York City flagship public radio station WNYC, in the first of many collaborations with Member Stations, NPR Presents Michel Martin: A Broader Way. This conversation will take audiences through the Broadway landscape, a canon that has traditionally been created by, for and about the White experience. . . ."

The release also said,"In October, Martin will join WFAE in Charlotte to examine The Voting Rights Divide and in December, Women and Leadership in Washington DC. In January 2015 she will be in Dallas with KERA, tackling Football and Ethics, and Miami in February to explore Children and Immigration with WLRN. . . ."

In May, when NPR announced cancellation of "Tell Me More," the show Martin hosted for its seven-year life, NPR executives said Martin would have a greater voice in her next assignment and that her message and concerns would be carried "across the brand."


St. Louis Public Radio invited Martin to that city on Aug. 28 to moderate a community conversation around race, police tactics and leadership after the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

Short Takes

"President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night," Michael Calderone reported Saturday for the Huffington Post, citing "a source familiar with the meeting." Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post was the only journalist of color participating, according to the roster provided by Calderone.


Blanca Torres is ending six years at the San Francisco Business Times, part of the American City Business Journals chain, to become the first Latina on the Seattle Times editorial board, Torres told colleagues in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "I'm looking forward to writing on a [broad] range of topics including some that are near and dear to my heart such as demographic changes, education, immigration, Latino issues, urban development and the environment," she wrote on the NAHJ website.

"Sheinelle Jones has been named news anchor of the weekend editions of the 'Today' show," Chris Ariens reported Monday for TVNewser. "Jones, who joins NBC News from WTXF-FOX in Philadelphia, begins October 4. . . ."

"Discovery Networks will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of multi-language spots featuring Hispanics whose curiosity has brought success to their lives," R. Thomas Umstead reported Monday for Multichannel News. The month began Monday. "All Discovery-owned networks throughout the month of September will air three 15-second spots in both English and Spanish under the tagline 'A Culture of Curiosity' that will feature Hispanics whose innate curiosity has led them to where they are today," Umstead continued. "The spots profile a Hispanic sushi chef, a Latina video game blogger and a Hispanic teacher, who all discus how curiosity has guided their careers, helped inspire them and shape their lives, said company officials. . . . "


"Today is Héctor Tobar's last day at the Los Angeles Times," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for her Media Moves site. "He announced his departure on Facebook: 'I’m leaving for a job as a full-time professor at the University of Oregon’s excellent journalism department. It's a dream job, and I couldn’t say no.' A Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author, Héctor has been at the LAT for more than two decades. During his time at the paper, he has been the Buenos Aires and Mexico City bureau chief, a Metro columnist, and until his resignation, a book critic. . . . "

"When it comes to the state of women in media leadership today, the best place in the world to be a female looking to rise in management is … Bulgaria," Anna Griffin reported Thursday for Nieman Reports. "Elsewhere, women aren't in charge in large numbers because they've been discriminated against in ways both explicit and unintentional, because they've been labeled too brusque or too weak, because they've opted out to raise children. In Bulgaria, women are in charge because journalism has never been taken all that seriously. . . ."

Steve Buttry, veteran journalist who is now Lamar visiting scholar at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication, recommends the Nieman Report issue on women and concedes, "My gender has been an undeniable advantage for most of my journalism career. I think I deserved every job or promotion and I think I've performed well in each job. But I know that I got more breaks and opportunities than deserving female colleagues. And male colleagues with less achievement and potential also got more breaks," he wrote on his blog "The Buttry Diary." 


"As The New Civil Rights Movement reported over the weekend, actress Danièle Watts was detained and handcuffed by police, who thought she was a prostitute and her husband/partner was her john," reported Monday. "The couple were kissing in their car in the Studio City section of North Hollywood. When they left the Mercedes, Watts was on the phone with her father and police approached, demanding her ID. Appearing on CNN this morning, Watts and her partner, Brian James Lucas, had a lot to say — but so did news anchor Michaela Pereira, who repeatedly asked Watts why she did not show ID. . . ." Watts is black and her husband is white.

In the Idaho Statesman on Sunday, John Sowell wrote about eight surviving Japanese Americans who were among 350 asked to volunteer for a farm labor camp being organized just across the Snake River in Nyssa, Ore., and at a satellite camp 12 miles south. "They came as part of the 'Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II' photo exhibit that opened Friday at the Four Rivers Center and runs through Dec. 12. The exhibit showcases period photographs taken by federal Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee at the Nyssa camp and similar camps in Rupert, Shelley and Twin Falls. . . ."

About three months into his term as president of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, Eglon Simons was asked by R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News, "What are the two biggest issues the industry is facing with regard to diversity?" Simons replied Monday, "One issue that's been on my mind: I want to take a hard look at diversity on the supply side feeding and supporting our industry. A lot of wealth has been developed and a lot of money has been spent — there are billion dollar contracts out there. I would be interested in finding out to what extent minority owned businesses have participated in that wealth-building. … The second piece is that I hope consolidation has not hurt the inroads and growth of people of color in any dimension more than anyone else. . . ."


In Venezuela, "After negotiations with the authorities, the 110-year-old newspaper El Impulso has obtained a last-minute delivery of newsprint that will allow it to keep publishing. A paper shortage resulting from government currency controls has so far forced 37 newspapers to suspend or reduce their print editions," Reporters Without Borders reported on Friday.

"The Swazi Observer newspaper has been forced to make a 'humble' apology to the kingdom's King and Queen Mother after publishing a report without their permission on what clothes a Princess had worn," the Swazi Media Commentary blog reported Monday. "In Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, media are strictly controlled. The Observer itself is in effect owned by the King. . . ."