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Pulling From Wikipedia: "Journalistic Laziness"

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July 13, 2012

ESPN "addresses" lapse by columnist Lynn Hoppes; Sreenivasan named Columbia U.'s digital officer; were boos the right angle on Romney speech?; NAHJ leaders nix request to discuss election practices; magazines faulted on black women's health; Navarrette says anchor Ramos looked unprofessional; Robin Roberts, Oprah bid Monica Pearson farewell; Ethiopian hands 6 journalists heavy prison sentences (7/13/12)

ESPN "Addresses" Lapse by Columnist Lynn Hoppes

Sreenivasan Named Columbia U.'s Digital Officer

Were Boos the Right Angle on Romney Speech?

NAHJ Leaders Reject Plea to Discuss Election Practices

Magazines Faulted on Black Women's Health

Navarrette Says Anchor Ramos Looked Unprofessional

Robin Roberts, Oprah Bid Monica Pearson Farewell

Sreenivasan Named Columbia U.'s Digital Officer

Sree Sreenivasan "Provost John Coatsworth has appointed Sree Sreenivasan as Columbia's first Chief Digital Officer," Columbia University announced on Thursday. "A noted expert in new media and digital technology, he most recently was dean of student affairs at Columbia's School of Journalism, where he helped establish the school as an early leader in digital media."

Journalism School Dean Nick Lemann named Ernest R. Sotomayor, who was Long Island editor of Newsday.com when he was president of Unity: Journalists of Color Inc., to succeed Sreenivasan as the new dean of student affairs. Sotomayor was assistant dean for career services and continuing education programs.

Ernest R. Sotomayor In his announcement, Coatsworth said, "I am confident that Sree's experience in academic administration and his widely respected expertise in new media technology make him uniquely well suited for this challenge. Our goal is to ensure that we deploy new tools and technologies in interactive and distance learning to ensure the richest and most dynamic educational environment possible for Columbia’s students, as well as learners outside the University."

The news release continued, ". . . He has been named to several lists of digital- and social-media professors to follow; AdAge's 25 media people to follow on Twitter; and Newsweek's list of the 20 most influential South Asians in America. He will remain a member of the Journalism School faculty." Sreenivasan is a founder of the South Asian Journalists Association, which is meeting in Washington, D.C., on Saturday for its annual gala.

"As much as any single person, he has been the keeper of the heart and soul of the Journalism School," Lemann wrote of Sreenivasan, known to many simply as "Sree."

"In particular, he has been essential, beginning with his first days here, in bringing together the school and the digital revolution. He has been a superb evangelist for both causes, and has helped establish the school's international reputation for leadership in digital journalism."

Video blogger Jay Smooth, right, focuses on Mitt Romney's NAACP speech in discussing "Mitt Romney’s Blackest Week Ever." (Video)

Were Boos the Right Angle on Romney Speech?

Were the headlines about the boos for Mitt Romney at the NAACP convention this week overblown? Or did they capture the spirit of the NAACP delegates' reaction to the putative GOP presidential nominee, even if the boos were balanced by a standing ovation?

". . . If you read a headline or watched the news, most likely you're aware that Romney was booed for saying that he would repeal Obamacare," right-of-center columnist Kathleen Parker wrote Friday in the Washington Post. "What you may not know is that Romney also left the stage to a standing ovation.

"Suppose you were an editor, which headline would you prefer:

" 'NAACP boos Romney during speech about Obamacare'

" 'NAACP convention gives Romney a standing O'

"Hmm."

Commentators of color, however, found much to fault in the Romney speech, with some suggesting that highlighting the boos was just fine with the candidate.

"Despite accusations to the contrary, Mitt Romney does get it," Mary C. Curtis wrote for the "She the People" section of the Washington Post website. "No one can go in front of the NAACP and talk of 'Obamacare,' a derisive term meant to provoke, and completely ignore the group's well-publicized concerns over voter-ID laws without getting it.

". . . In Montana, he reported in detail on how he meted out a dose of tough medicine the NAACP needed. 'Your friends who like "Obamacare," you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff.' He lumped together the business owners, ministers and middle-class folks who make up the membership of a venerable civil-rights group into just another bunch of freeloaders — and his base loved it.

"The members of the NAACP weren't individuals whose vote he courted. They were props. No mention of the applause he received at the beginning, end and during pieces of his speech the crowd liked. You can bet it's only 'the boos' you will see in fundraising pitches to the hard-core, evidence of stereotypes that didn't need any reinforcement."

NAHJ Leaders Reject Plea to Discuss Election Practices

Leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists rejected requests to add questionable practices by its elections committee to the agenda of a "virtual town hall" scheduled Tuesday on the association's finances.

In a Facebook exchange Friday, member Daniel Morales asked, "Any chance we can discuss the elections and the irregularities by the elections committee as well? Both issues are very important at the moment. The abuse and scrutiny of non-halftime slate candidates is blatant," he said in a reference to the HalftimeInNABJ slate headed by Russell Contreras, "and could be a legal liability down the road if the professional careers of these candidates is adversely affected by the questionable actions of Michele Salcedo's chosen [elections] board."

Contreras, NAHJ vice president/print and chief financial officer, responded, "No. We will discuss finances only. This is the first time in years finances released before convention, first time there is financial virtual town hall, and first time we've had a surplus in years. Board voted on election chair and we will not get involved. The candidates on HalftimeInNAHJ were also vetted, had their respective HR departments contacted and provided all the requirements."

Salcedo, NAHJ president, replied, "All candidates have been asked to provide the same information and have been vetted in the same way. The requirements are published in the Elections Guidelines."

As reported on Wednesday, presidential candidate Hugo Balta, who is running against Contreras, said in an email that a member of the elections committee, failing to reach him immediately, called the human resources department of ESPN, his employer, "and asked if I was still w ESPN bc it was her understanding that I had accepted another job  . . . . It was an unpleasant experience for me to say the least. I couldn't imagine how this false information could have happened!?"

Last week, supporters of television reporter Sal Morales of NAHJ's South Florida chapter said the NAHJ elections committee discouraged him from running for the general at-large seat, leaving only a HalftimeInNAHJ candidate in the contest.

Then Mekahlo Medina, a tech/social reporter at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and non-slate candidate for vice president/broadcast, wrote that "I [received] a call from an election committee member WARNING me that my boss was 'unsure' if my organization would support my run. The problem here, my boss was on vacation and NEVER talked to her!"

Salcedo did not respond to a message seeking further comment, and Contreras would not comment on the record.

Contreras, a reporter for the Associated Press, said on Facebook, "The election committee can call my employer any time. They love me. Committee can also call my former employers, my wife, my Kindergarten teacher, my high school principal, my priest, my dog, my former students, my tejano godparents. Transparency is a good thing. Support it fully."

The "virtual town hall" follows questions that some NAHJ members have raised since March, when Salcedo announced that "according to our final financial numbers, NAHJ finished 2011 with revenues of more than $111,000 over expenses." The association projected a $240,000 deficit for 2010, then implemented severe cutbacks in 2011 to produce a surplus, it said. The "town hall" is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m.

Magazines Faulted on Black Women's Health

"Crystal Lumpkins, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, has completed a study of coverage of women's health issues in popular women's magazines," the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported last week.

"Professor Lumpkins surveyed the editorial content of four popular magazines: Ms., Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and Essence. She found that these magazines ignored, for the most part, health issues of particular concern to African American women. Essence is largely targeted at African American women.

"Professor Lumpkins stated, 'The health stories that were most reported were on reproductive and sexual health. Diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, all of these major health issues in the African American community were not addressed.' "

Meanwhile, figures from the Publishers Information Bureau for April to June showed that, in general, magazines targeting Latinos and the venerable Ebony magazine continued to defy an advertising slump in the consumer magazine industry.

Ebony rose 49.7 percent in advertising dollars over the same period last year, and increased 44.5 percent in advertising pages. Ser Padres, a Spanish-language publication produced by Meredith Corp., rose 41.0 percent in advertising dollars and 10.7 percent in advertising pages. Its sister publication, Siempre Mujer, grew 18.7 percent in advertising dollars and 2.1 percent in ad pages. People en Español rose 13.4 percent in ad dollars and 6.8 percent in ad pages.

Showing declines were Black Enterprise, down 6.6 percent in ad dollars and 7.0 percent in ad pages; Essence, down 19.3 percent in ad dollars and 24.1 percent in ad pages; Jet, down 9.7 percent in ad dollars and 14.2 percent in pages; and Latina, down 4.9 percent in ad dollars and 6.3 percent in ad pages.

In April, Stephen Barr, Johnson Publishing Co. senior vice president/group publishing, attributed increases at Ebony to new advertisers.

Enedina Vega, vice president and publisher of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, attributed the increases at her publications to "the growing awareness among advertisers about the importance of the Hispanic market."

Jorge Ramos

Navarrette Says Anchor Ramos Looked Unprofessional

"When Marco Rubio sat down recently for an interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos, the spirited exchange made for great television. It also made Rubio look sympathetic, and Ramos unprofessional," Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote this week in his syndicated column.

". . . That a class of people who shouldn't even be in this country in the first place, and don't have a legal right to remain here, have demands at all is one of the things wrong with the immigration debate.

". . . None of this seemed to get through to the Mexican-born Ramos, who really wanted to know why Rubio isn't more outspoken in defense of illegal immigrants. For instance, the journalist asked, how could it be that Rubio doesn't support 'legalization of the undocumented'? Rubio tried to interject that, in fact, he does support legalization for some illegal immigrants under certain circumstances. He just thinks that the issue is more complicated than proponents of comprehensive immigration reform are willing to admit.

"As Rubio tried to make his points, Ramos repeatedly cut him off so the anchor could make his. This wasn't an interview as much as an interrogation. Time and again, Ramos made clear that he expected better from the son of Cuban immigrants. . . ."

Robin Roberts, left, salutes Monica Pearson at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. (Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Robin Roberts, Oprah Bid Monica Pearson Farewell

"A crowd of prominent Atlantans flocked to the Fox Theatre Wednesday night to salute veteran news anchor Monica Pearson as she prepares to sign off for good," Jennifer Brett reported Thursday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Condace Pressley

"Oprah Winfrey made a surprise appearance by video to wish Pearson well.

" 'Monica, hey! I hear you are retiring,' Winfrey said during the video clip. 'I am really so very proud of you. I bow to you. Congratulations.'

"Nancy O’Dell from 'Entertainment Tonight' also appeared by video clip.

" 'We want to join your friends in Atlanta in wishing you the very best,' she said.

". . . The black-tie event was emceed by 'Good Morning America' co-host Robin Roberts, whose participation also was a surprise. . . ."

Meanwhile, Brett continued, Marietta Mayor Steve 'Thunder' Tumlin honored Condace Pressley, program director at WSB radio, and proclaimed July 11 "Condace Pressley Day" in the city because of her contributions to Marietta and to Georgia.

The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists plans to present Pressley the Pioneer Award July 29 at its 30th annual Pioneer Black Journalist Awards. Pressley is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Ethiopia Hands 6 Journalists Heavy Prison Sentences

"An Ethiopian court today handed down heavy prison sentences to six journalists convicted on vague terrorism charges, local journalists and news reports said," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Friday. "Award-winning blogger Eskinder Nega got an 18-year term; the others live in exile and were sentenced in absentia."

International press-freedom organizations denounced the sentences.

CPJ continued, " 'The court has given due considerations to the charges and the sentences are appropriate,' presiding Judge Endeshaw Adane told a packed courtroom at the Lideta Federal High Court in the capital, Addis Ababa, as he issued sentences for 24 defendants, including the journalists, convicted of involvement in a vague terror plot, according to wire reports.

"The judge accused veteran journalist Eskinder of participating in a terrorist organization, planning a terrorist act, and 'working with the Ginbot 7 organization,' a U.S.-based opposition group that the Ethiopian government formally designated a terrorist entity in 2011. The judge also accused Eskinder of wanting to incite anti-government protests in Ethiopia with online articles discussing the Arab Spring. Authorities have detained Eskinder at least eight times during Meles Zenawi's two decades as prime minister, according to CPJ research.

"Exiled journalists Mesfin Negash and Abiye Teklemariam received eight years each based on accusations of making information about Ginbot 7 available to Ethiopians through their news website, Addis Neger Online.

"Abebe Gellaw of the U.S.-based Addis Voice and Abebe Belew of U.S.-based Internet radio station Addis Dimts were each sentenced in absentia to 15 years, and Fasil Yenealem got a life sentence, based on their activities with pro-opposition exiled broadcaster Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), which government prosecutors described in court documents as 'the voice of the terrorist organization Ginbot 7.'

"All of the journalists have professed their innocence, according to news reports."

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