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CNN Layoffs Reach Journalists of Color

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October 15, 2014

Velez-Mitchell, Darius Walker hit in ongoing staff cuts; . . . MSNBC says it is keeping promises to Hispanics; journalists robbed, news vehicle stolen at prayer vigil; NPR to pull back on use of Washington NFL team name; Nancy Snyderman apologizes for violating Ebola quarantine; new BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen to refashion role; Time revisits "model minority" stereotype; Boston Herald opinion editor asks forgiveness for cartoon; diversity lament from Britain sounds familiar (10/15/14)

Velez-Mitchell, Darius Walker Hit in Ongoing Staff Cuts

. . . MSNBC Says It Is Keeping Promises to Hispanics

Journalists Robbed, News Vehicle Stolen at Prayer Vigil

NPR to Pull Back on Use of Washington NFL Team Name

Nancy Snyderman Apologizes for Violating Ebola Quarantine

New BuzzFeed Publisher Dao Nguyen to Refashion Role

Time Revisits "Model Minority" Stereotype

Boston Herald Opinion Editor Asks Forgiveness for Cartoon

"For two weeks I have remained silent,"Rachelle G. Cohen, editorial page editor of the Boston Herald, wrote on Wednesday. "And that was just plain dumb. Oh, not THE dumbest thing — not by a long shot. The dumbest thing I've ever done was without a second thought to give my approval to a cartoon — we all know which one — that has proven hurtful to so many people — people I care about. It has also proven hurtful to an institution I love and to colleagues who are blameless.

"And that, in the end, is what forces me to break this utterly uncharacteristic silence of mine. . . ."

As CBS News reported on Oct. 1, "The cartoon shows the president brushing his teeth in a White House bathroom with a surprised look on his face as a white man sits in the bathtub behind him, asking [President] Obama, 'Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?' The caption reads, 'White House Invader Got Farther Than Originally Thought. '"

Cohen wrote Wednesday, "it's my job as an editor to see around corners, to look at all the possible meanings and nuances of words and of images. It's my job and two weeks ago I failed at it miserably. And that's all on me and this is why. . . ."

She also wrote, "Yes, a final page proof does go up to the 6th floor where a desk editor will read the editorials, make sure we haven't made some obvious error of fact and in the event a topic has been overtaken by breaking news events will pick up the phone and advise me that we need an update. On the night in question — the night the cartoon appeared on a page proof, the proof was not left in the proper bin. No senior news editor ever saw it.

"And every evening the publisher gets a copy of the editorials sent to his email — not the images — only the words.

"So there you have it. The remarkably simple way in which bad stuff can happen. . . ."

Diversity Lament From Britain Sounds Familiar

"This is an article I swore I would never write,"Nesrine Malik wrote Tuesday for Britain's Guardian newspaper. "First, as a protest against the minority media ghetto where minority writers are limited to writing about minority issues and gripes, second, because it just looks like sour grapes, and finally, because this kind of journalism about journalism can edge into the self-indulgent. But two lists published in close succession have made me break my vow.

"So bear with what may seem like media navel-gazing and look at what these two lists tell us. The first, the 2014 list of nominees for the Comment Awards, has not a single columnist of colour; the second, the list of judges for the British Journalism Awards, not a single black or minority ethnic (BME) judge and only three women out of 18 on the panel. After I tweeted about the latter, Press Gazette got in touch and said there was still 'work to do,' and added one male non-white judge and two women to its panel. . . ."

Malik also wrote, "Protest against this, however, and you are met with cries of tokenism and horror at positive discrimination. Sometimes the blame is shifted onto the excluded for being paranoid or not proactive enough. The comment awards curator Julia Hobsbawm defended the all-white shortlist by saying that people who feel underrepresented should just 'phone me up and ask to be a judge ... Don't put a barrier where there isn't one. That's a mindset.' The selection of the all-white shortlist was 'democratic'.

"To me this is proof that there is still a fundamental misunderstanding of how networks can be hermetic and self-perpetuating without being actively racist, sexist or classist. . . ."

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