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Truth and Reconciliation, American Style

January 29, 2016

Whites believed ready for local initiatives on race; Birmingham Times sold to foundation devoted to training; more Michigan water tests above safety benchmarks; HuffPost's editors notes to call Trump a racist, liar; Poynter Institute capitalizes "black" and "white" races; Native writer compares, contrasts for Black History Month; Chicago website finds police broke dashcams; Politico to hire 50 in wake of departures; Lonnae O'Neal, Latoya Peterson joining the Undefeated; book alleges reporters collaborated with apartheid (1/29/16)

Whites Believed Ready for Local Initiatives on Race

Birmingham Times Sold to Foundation Devoted to Training

More Michigan Water Tests Above Safety Benchmarks

HuffPost's Editor's Notes to Call Trump a Racist, Liar

Poynter Institute Capitalizes "Black" and "White" Races

Native Writer Compares, Contrasts for Black History Month

Chicago Website Finds Police Broke Dashcams

Politico to Hire 50 in Wake of Departures

"Politico will hire at least 50 people in the coming year and successors for those who have left,"Ravi Somaiya reported Friday for the New York Times.

On Thursday, co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei, Politico's star reporter Mike Allen and three other key executives announced they would leave the company in the coming months.

Lonnae O'Neal, Latoya Peterson Joining the Undefeated

Lonnae O'Neal, Style section columnist for the Washington Post, and Latoya Peterson, editor-at-large at Fusion, the joint venture of ABC and Univision, are joining ESPN's the Undefeated, the network's two-year-old digital project about the intersection of sports and race.

"This was such an agonizing decision," O'Neal told Journal-isms by email on Friday. "I've been a Postie half my life and it will always be home.

"But the chance to help start something new with someone I so deeply respect was hugely compelling. The Undefeated is perfect, and needed, for this moment. So much of the intersection of sports race and culture is driven by black creativity, and I'm delighted to be one of the voices to help cover it. Plus, you know, it's Kevin," she continued, adding a smiley face.

Her reference was to Kevin Merida, the former managing editor of the Post who is editor-in-chief of the Undefeated. O'Neal was a 19-year reporter for the Post when she debuted a year ago as a twice-weekly columnist for the Post's Style section.

Peterson, who is to be deputy editor, digital innovation, describes herself in her LinkedIn profile as "a certified media junkie" who "provides a hip-hop feminist and anti-racist view on pop culture with a special focus on video games, film, television, and music.

"One of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 rising stars in media for 2013, she is best known for the award winning blog Racialicious.com — the intersection of race and pop culture. She is currently an Editor-at-Large at Fusion. Previously, she was the Senior Digital Producer for The Stream, a social media driven news show on Al Jazeera America and a John S. Knight Journalism 2012-2013 Fellow at Stanford University focusing on mobile technology and digital access. . . ."

Two weeks ago, ESPN confirmed that the Post's Michael A. Fletcher is joining the site as a senior writer concentrating on criminal justice, social issues and politics, and that ESPN.com columnist Jason Reid, formerly of the Post, was named senior NFL writer. Steve Reiss, who edited Merida's pieces for the Post's Style section, is to be deputy editor for narrative and enterprise. He was managing editor at Crain's Chicago Business.

On Jan. 8, the Post announced that Soraya MCDonald, a writer contributing to arts and entertainment coverage, was joining the Undefeated as a senior culture writer. In December, the Undefeated hired Kelley L. Carter, an award-winning entertainment and pop-culture journalist for BuzzFeed, in a similar role.

Book Alleges Reporters Collaborated With Apartheid

"God, Spies and Lies,""a blend of memoir, political reporting, analysis, media history and lively anecdote" by South African journalist John Matisonn, names journalists who collaborated with apartheid's security agencies and "underscores the absence of in-depth accounts of the struggles and achievements of leading black journalists of the era," according to John Allen, reviewing the book Friday for allafrica.com.

"The 'revelation' in Matisonn's book that has generated the heat has been the suggestion that Tertius Myburgh was an apartheid spy,"Allen writes. Myburgh is the late editor of the Sunday Times and a former Nieman fellow.

"Matisonn names a number of journalists from the 1970s and 1980s who collaborated with apartheid's various security agencies in degrees varying from acting as reporters exchanging information with intelligence contacts to being paid to spy on their colleagues. But he doesn't in fact say that Myburgh was a spy or a paid agent in the conventional sense.

"He says rather that Myburgh was on 'the first rung' of 'informers,' someone who shared information with his contacts in exchange for 'information, ideology, comfort zone, and advantages that lead to advancement.' That, Matisonn concludes, 'does not make him any less of an agent... he was an agent, one of theirs.' Notably, when white business decided to close the Rand Daily Mail, whose coverage in spite of shortcomings nevertheless infuriated the forces of apartheid, Myburgh was in on the kill.

"The consequences of that decision, and that to close another newspaper in the company, the Sunday Express — which had led the way in exposing the secret use of government money for pro-apartheid propaganda at home and abroad — were arguably as damaging as the activities of spies and agents to the role the established white press played in exposing the worst depredations of apartheid.

"And one of the saddest effects of the business establishment's collaboration with [Prime Minister P.W.] Botha was the loss to South African readers of a generation of anti-apartheid journalists who had to seek a living abroad or as local correspondents for foreign media — among them Sylvia Vollenhoven, Hennie Serfontein and Matisonn himself."

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