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Dori Maynard, Diversity Champion, Dies at 56

February 24, 2015

Dori J. MaynardPresident of Maynard Institute succumbs to lung cancer (2/24/15); a fatuous, racially glib night with Oscar; . . . what a difference four years makes; Gannett down to one African American top editor; black media group sues Comcast, claiming discrimination; O'Reilly defends himself against embellishment claims; journalism group challenges police on Chicago killing; Howard U. students, faculty add color to Wikipedia's white; Al Jazeera journalist accuses network of negligence (2/23/15)


President of Maynard Institute Succumbs to Lung Cancer

President of Maynard Institute Succumbs to Lung Cancer

Dori J. Maynard, president of the Robert C. Maynard institute for Journalism Education and longtime champion of diversity in journalism and civic life, died Tuesday at her West Oakland, Calif., home, the Institute announced. She was 56.

Journalism Group Challenges Police on Chicago Killing

"Chicago police officers shot Laquan McDonald 16 times, according to an autopsy report recently obtained by an organization pressuring the police department to clear up questions about the youth's death,"Mary Mitchell wrote Monday in her Chicago Sun-Times column.

"Jamie Kalven, of the 'Invisible Institute,' a Chicago-based journalistic production company, and Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago professor, have challenged the police version of how the 17-year-old McDonald ended up dead.

"National attention was focused on the Michael Brown police-involved shooting case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Eric Garner police chokehold death in New York, few people seemed to care about what happened to McDonald. . . . "

Kalven wrote Feb. 10 for Slate,"Whatever happened, it's very difficult to square the police narrative with the facts established by the silent testimony of Laquan McDonald's corpse."

He also wrote, "The Chicago press dutifully reported the police account of the incident. The reporter for the local NBC station called it 'a clear-cut case of self-defense.' It was also reported that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), the city agency charged with investigating police shootings, would conduct an investigation, as it does in the case of every 'police-involved shooting.'

"In its broad outlines, this is a familiar Chicago story: A black American is shot by a Chicago police officer. A police source says the shooting was justified. IPRA announces it is investigating. Then silence. After a year or two, IPRA issues a report confirming that the shooting was indeed justified.

"The statistics are stunning. According to IPRA reports, Chicago police officers shoot, on average, several residents a month. Roughly 75 percent of those shot are black. Civil rights lawyers and investigative journalists I've talked to who have covered the Chicago police for decades cannot remember the last time criminal charges were brought against a Chicago police officer for a shooting while on duty. . .."

Howard U. Students, Faculty Add Color to Wikipedia's White

"Wikipedia is a vast ocean of erudition, with entries on virtually every subject, obscure to earth-shattering, and, it may seem, every human being of even vague renown. It is also, its leaders concede, very white,"Jada F. Smith reported Thursday for the New York Times.

"'The stereotype of a Wikipedia editor is a 30-year-old white man, and so most of the articles written are about stuff that interests 30-year-old white men,' said James Hare, president of Wikimedia D.C., the local branch of the foundation that runs Wikipedia. 'So a lot of black history is left out.'

"Students and faculty members at Howard University, one of the nation's pre-eminent historically black higher education institutions, set out Thursday to fill in the gaps. With Black History Month upon them, they camped out at a Howard research center that houses one of the world's largest repositories of Africana and African diaspora information and, over coffee and pizza, worked to add some tint to Wikipedia's white.

"'You'd think that, "Oh, Wikipedia has articles on everything," but for anything having to do with a marginalized community, there's a lot of gaps,' Mr. Hare said.

"Both academics and researchers working with the foundation agree that the online encyclopedia suffers from a dearth of information about black history, too often petering out when the topics extend past the well-known names and events of slavery and the civil rights movement. In the Internet age, this is no trivial matter: To many people, a topic does not exist if it does not have a Wikipedia page. . . ."

Al Jazeera Journalist Accuses Network of Negligence

"The al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is awaiting retrial after more than a year in an Egyptian prison, has accused the network of 'epic negligence' and said it was partially to blame for his arrest and imprisonment,"Patrick Kingsley in Cairo, and Ian Black reported Friday for Britain's Guardian.

"Fahmy called it naive and misleading to see the case purely as a crackdown on press freedom because Qatar, which funds the al-Jazeera network, used it to 'wage a media war' against Cairo.

"Fahmy, who had both Egyptian and Canadian nationality before giving up his Egyptian passport in an attempt to speed up his deportation in December, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, are due back in court next week following the release of their Australian colleague, Peter Greste, earlier this month. The three al-Jazeera English (AJE) employees were jailed last June on trumped-up charges of helping terrorists and spreading false news. . . ."

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