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"Race Beat" Up in the Air at N.Y. Times?

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January 28, 2015

News outlets split on best ways to cover the topic; black journalist joining editor's ranks at The Nation; columnist challenges Charles Blow on omission; Islamic State releases message from Japanese journalist; Al Jazeera said to tell staff to avoid words like "terrorist"; the whiteness of the "public radio voice"; Duchesne Drew, a Star Tribune M.E., leaving for foundation; "Empire" becomes first black drama hit on broadcast TV (1/28/15)

News Outlets Split on Best Ways to Cover the Topic

Black Journalist Joining Editor's Ranks at The Nation

Columnist Challenges Charles Blow on Omission

Islamic State Releases Message from Japanese Journalist

Al Jazeera Said to Tell Staff to Avoid Words Like "Terrorist"

The Whiteness of the "Public Radio Voice"

Duchesne Drew, a Star Tribune M.E., Leaving for Foundation

"Empire" Becomes First Black Drama Hit on Broadcast TV

"Just three weeks into its run, Fox's new drama 'Empire' has been extremely impressive,"Diego Vasquez reported Wednesday for medialifemagazine.com.

"The 9 p.m. Wednesday program has surpassed 'How to Get Away with Murder' as the season’s No. 1 show. Heck, it's the No. 1 program on all of broadcast among 18-49s.

"And it's the first No. 1 drama in 21 years to see ratings gains from its second to its third week.

"But perhaps the most significant thing about 'Empire' is its cast. It's the first African-American drama to become a hit on broadcast.

"While there have been successful black comedies, such as 'The Cosby Show' and 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' there has never been a hit drama with largely black leads. . . ."

Mary Mitchell, writing Monday in the Chicago Sun-Times, was not impressed.

"The support for 'Empire' and shows like it reflect how desperate black viewers are for TV programming starring blacks," Mitchell wrote.

"Network producers certainly ought to take notice of that.

"Still, I can't ignore that 'Empire' is a modern 'blaxploitation' movie, or that it portrays the African-American family at its worst.

"Maybe the show will surprise me later on.

"But the best I can say about it now is that a lot of talented black actors are finally getting paid."

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