The National Association of Black Journalists said Monday it "is disappointed with the response by the Chicago Tribune editorial board to the public outcry over a column by editorial board member Kristen McQueary, who called for a Hurricane Katrina-like storm as a starting point for fixing Chicago's ills.
"McQueary wrote on Aug. 13 that she was 'praying for a storm' in reference to Hurricane Katrina. She then wrote a second column on Aug. 14 after negative comments online and on social media circulated, saying readers simply missed the point of the first op-ed.
"The Hurricane Katrina analogy 'lacks news judgment,' said Sarah Glover, NABJ's 21st president. 'Just because you can doesn't mean you should.' . . ."
In an Aug. 14 letter to the editorial board, the NABJ-Chicago Chapter requested a public apology and a two-week suspension for McQueary.
Glover and Kathy Chaney, president of NABJ-Chicago, met Thursday with McQuery; John P. McCormick, deputy editorial page editor; and Marcia Lythcott, editor of the Commentary page, R. Bruce Dold, the editorial page editor, told Journal-isms by telephone on Monday.
"They had a good conversation," Dold said. "I fully support Kristen. She's an excellent writer and columnist."
McQuery wrote Aug. 14, "When I wrote a column Thursday about Hurricane Katrina, and how I wished Chicago could face a similar storm — to be jolted in a new direction — I offended the entire city of New Orleans and beyond. I used the hurricane as a metaphor for the urgent and dramatic change needed in Chicago: at City Hall, at the Chicago City Council, at Chicago Public Schools. Our school system is about to go bankrupt, and the city's pension costs and other massive debts have squeezed out money for basic services.
"I wrote what I did not out of lack of empathy, or racism, but out of long-standing frustration with Chicago’s poorly managed finances. . . ."
David Bauder, Associated Press: Television Networks Looking Back At Katrina
Jamelle Bouie, Slate: Where Black Lives Matter Began
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: 'Katrina,''federal flood,''levee failures,' what do you call what happened?
- Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Hurricane Katrina, Danziger Bridge and the exaggeration of 'chaos'
- Editorial, Chicago Tribune: Katrina and the next crisis(accessible via search engine)
- Editorial, Chicago Tribune: From Katrina's ruin: New Orleans strives to build a stronger city(accessible via search engine)
- Daniel Kerry, Ebony: 'Katrina Truth' Site Details Neglect of Black New Orleans
"Photographer Tony Gleaton died last Friday at the age of 67 after struggling with a particularly aggressive cancer for 18 months,"Karen Grigsby Bates wrote Sunday for NPR's "Code Switch."
"He was working, signing prints, talking to museums (several have his work in their collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Harvard's Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem) and checking in with his friends right up to the last day. I admired his work, but also treasured his friendship.
"His subjects tend to be people who are usually invisible to the rest of society, and who are outside of the mainstream aesthetic. He saw his work as a way to correct that marginalization, at least for a moment: beautiful portraits of beautiful people, taken with respect.
"In the beginning, he got a lot of pushback. 'Why do you want to take our picture?' the villagers would ask, warily. 'We have no money to pay you.'
"When Tony would explain that he was documenting the African Diaspora around the world, and that they and he were both part of it, the conversation often became even harder.
"'You want to take pictures of black people?' they'd ask.
"'Yes, like you and me ... ' he'd begin
"'Well,' they'd respond, looking at his fair skin, light hair and blue-green eyes. 'You're not black. And we're certainly not black. So you need to do that somewhere else.'
"Eventually he learned to refine his approach . . . "
- Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times: Tony Gleaton dies at 67; photographer of black life in West, Americas