"When you think of serial killers, names like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer are usually the first to pop into people's heads," Yesha Callahan wrote Monday for The Root. But on Monday night, an HBO documentary attempts to add another name to that list: Lonnie Franklin Jr.
"Most have probably never heard of Franklin, but he is the subject of the HBO documentary Tales of the Grim Sleeper, which alleges that for over 25 years, Franklin was involved in over 100 slayings of black women in the area of South Central Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department turned a blind eye to these killings, according to the documentary, even though the evidence was alarming: from eyewitnesses to sketches and even a description of Franklin's car.
"If it was not for the due diligence of neighborhood activists Margaret Prescod and Nana Gyamfi of the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, Franklin would probably still be on the streets. Instead, Franklin was arrested in July 2010 and is finally headed to court this summer.
"Tales of the Grim Sleeper's director Nick Broomfield took to the streets of South Central and interviewed those who knew Franklin best. . . ."
The documentary is available on HBO NOW and is screening on HBO throughout May.
Bossip.com, one of the top five black-oriented websites for 2014 in a Journal-isms count of unique visitors recorded by the comScore, Inc., research company, is adding podcasts to its menu and established a breaking news unit headed by Jennifer H. Cunningham, formerly of the Daily News in New York.
"I’m now Bossip's Exclusive Content Manager, overseeing all of Bossip’s exclusive stories and video," Cunningham messaged Journal-isms on Friday. "I do a lot of writing, reporting and editing, and I also work with freelancers. I've been here since the beginning of the year." She added that on Wednesday, "I broke the story that a Manhattan Divorce judge slapped [hip-hop mogul] Damon Dash with a warrant for the $340K he owes ex-wife Rachel Roy in back child support, school and camp fees and two foreclosed apartments. . . ."
The podcast, "Bossip Presents: Don't Be Scared," will feature celebrity interviews, according to a news release.
Bossip has also launched "BossipTV"; shot a seven-episode television show, "The Office," a satirical comedy, on its YouTube channel; and unveiled a new mobile site.
"The 22 award-winning entries for the annual Overseas Press Club Awards depict a world in which entire nations and millions of people have been torn apart by newly intensified forces of nationalism, extremism, disease and environmental degradation," the club announced on Friday. "Al Jazeera America, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times won multiple awards.
"While Middle East conflicts generated the most stories submitted for the awards this year, others covered how Western ideals of democracy and human rights are increasingly put to the test by Russian aggression and Chinese ambition. Awards were also given to stories covering nations that once hoped to make the next leap of economic development, which are now mired in conflicts over resources and workers.
"'There has been a lot of tragic foreign news over the past year — from Ebola to Ukraine to the Central African Republic to ISIS — including the tragedy of murdered journalists, like James Foley," says Marcus Mabry, president of the Overseas Press Club of America and editor at large of The New York Times. "But these awards tell us that despite mortal dangers, foreign correspondence – and foreign correspondents – are more vibrant than ever. And no one can stop a free and courageous press!' . . . "