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GOP Convention Ratings Lag Behind '08

August 31, 2012

Reality show tops any cable channel's RNC coverage; U.S. appeals court strikes down Texas voter ID law; British paper finds Paul Ryan's black ex-girlfriend; how Univision reported from storm without satellite; Gabriel Escobar returning to Philadelphia Inquirer; court rules newspaper can sue Sheriff Arpaio; incoming Knight fellow "in a real fight for his life" (8/31/12)

Reality Show Tops Any Cable Channel's RNC Coverage

U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

British Paper Finds Paul Ryan's Black Ex-Girlfriend

How Univision Reported From Storm Without Satellite

Gabriel Escobar Returning to Philadelphia Inquirer

Court Rules Newspaper Can Sue Sheriff Arpaio

Incoming Knight Fellow "In a Real Fight for His Life"

U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

"A federal appeals court in Washington Thursday struck down the Texas voter ID law requiring photos for voters at the polls, calling it racially discriminatory," CNN reported.

"The decision is a major victory for the Obama administration and its Democratic allies, which had challenged the law.

"Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott promptly announced the state will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

"Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed the voter ID measure into law last year, but it had yet not gone into effect because the federal Voting Rights Act requires changes in Texas voting laws to be pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department. Voter ID law goes to court

"Attorney General Eric Holder denied the pre-clearance of the measure in March, concluding that Texas failed to show the law will not have 'the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race.'

"The three-judge panel agreed."

Meanwhile, "A federal judge on Wednesday said he was prepared to grant a permanent injunction that would block controversial restrictions on voter registration groups passed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) last year," Nick Wing reported Wednesday for the Huffington Post.

"Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle had earlier put a temporary hold on the measure, declaring that it put 'harsh and impractical' restrictions on civic groups focused on registering new voters. In his latest order, Hinkle stated that he intends to permanently block the law, pending the case's dismissal from a Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs and the state of Florida have reportedly agreed not to appeal Hinkle's ruling."

In Ohio, "A federal judge ruled Friday that Ohio must allow in-person voting on the weekend before the presidential election, a victory for Democrats who claimed Republican efforts to close down early voting were aimed at discouraging voters most likely to support President Obama," Robert Barnes reported for the Washington Post.

British Paper Finds Paul Ryan's Black Ex-Girlfriend

Just when the buzz had ebbed about Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., having had a black girlfriend in his younger days, Britain's the Daily Mail found out her name, tracked her down and on Thursday, published an interview with her. The website TMZ quickly followed in the United States on Friday.

"The cheerleader who Paul Ryan dated in college and helped forge his uncompromising opposition to racism says that she may not be a Republican but still supports the 'nice guy'," began the 2,600-word story by the Mail's Belinda Robinson, Emily Anne Epstein and Toby Harnden.

Deneeta Pope with an unidentified man at Miami University of Ohio in the early 1990s"Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Deneeta Pope said she met the future vice presidential candidate through friends at Miami University some 20 years ago.

"Pope, 40, said: 'Paul is a very nice guy, a kind guy and a family guy. He's very approachable and a very likeable person.'

"The relationship and the negative reaction he said he suffered from his so-called friends were a formative experience in the political evolution of the VP pick who described himself as a 'big, big fan' of Martin Luther King and is a staunch advocate of civil rights."

On Sunday's "Reliable Sources" media show on CNN, host Howard Kurtz asked Keli Goff of theRoot.com, who wrote a column Aug. 20 on the interracial relationship, why it mattered.

". . . I think it's fascinating," Goff replied. "He's the first major presidential party ticket candidate to have admitted to interracially dating.

"It says something about being part of Gen-X. It's a fascinating anecdote, just like being — him liking Rage Against the Machine. So I'm surprised people found it offensive or uncomfortable."

Goff later participated in a "confab" on theRoot.com with Staff Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris, Contributing Editor David Swerdlick and Assistant Editor Akoto Ofori-Atta "about whether it's racist to discuss Paul Ryan's black ex-girlfriend."

On NPR on Tuesday, Karen Grigsby Bates took a broader view. "With the rise of interracial relationships in the past 20 years, everything from marriage to trans-racial adoption, the news that Paul Ryan says he had a black girlfriend really is non-story. The question a lot of people, especially people of color, have is does having had a relationship with someone of another race or ethnicity make you more sensitive to those cultures," Bates said.

She continued, ". . . Edgy comedians long have poked fun at liberal white folks who offer the lone black friend as testimony to their open-mindedness. Lenny Bruce did it in the '50s and Chris Rock is doing it today."

TMZ picked up the Daily Mail story on Thursday and then interviewed Pope on Friday.

"We spoke with Pope a few minutes ago and she could not have been clearer — she does not want to become an issue in the election," TMZ reported.

"Pope said, 'I'm not interested in talking. I don't know why everyone is calling. I'm newly married and would just like to be left alone.' "

On Wednesday, before Hurricane Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm, the disruption was so great that the Univision crew had no satellite from which to transmit. (Video)

How Univision Reported From Storm Without Satellite

"We've been bringing you daily updates from our crew in New Orleans. We followed their trip from Florida to [Louisiana] as they chased hurricane Isaac, their first encounter with the storm and their adventures as they report from the ground," Conz Preti wrote Wednesday for Univision News.

"Today the storm is so strong our crew has been left without a satellite to transmit from. Ricardo Arambarri shows us in the video . . . how they are able to get footage into the air."

Gabriel Escobar Returning to Philadelphia Inquirer

After a little more than a year as an editorial writer at the Dallas Morning News and a journalism instructor at Southern Methodist University, Gabriel Escobar is returning Tuesday to the Philadelphia Inquirer as deputy managing editor for news, Escobar said on Friday.

In a memo to the Inquirer staff, Editor William K. Marimow said, " . . . Gabe will oversee the City, South Jersey and Pennsylvania suburban staffs, Gabriel Escobarthe online breaking news team and also manage our recruiting and internship programs. Gabe spent four very successful years as Metro Editor here at the Inquirer before joining The Dallas Morning News in August 2011.

"While in Dallas, Gabe has been an editorial writer and blogger for the state's largest paper and also a journalism instructor at Southern Methodist University under a joint appointment with Belo Corp., the parent company of the Morning News.

"At SMU, he taught the 'West Dallas Beat' class, pairing journalism students with nonprofit organizations; the nonprofits then introduced students to life in the largely Hispanic and African American neighborhoods across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas. Students profiled neighborhood leaders, explored the challenges posed by development and learned how to use local resources to advance and illuminate reporting."

Escobar told Journal-isms, "It's been a short but wonderful ride here in Dallas." He saidthat his job in Dallas had no time limit and that he was leaving to take advantage of the Philadelphia opportunity.

"Obviously we are disappointed because he had made a significant impact on the students in the reporting class he taught with us," Tony Pederson, the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism at SMU, told Journal-isms by email.

Keven Ann Willey, vice president and editorial page editor at the Dallas Morning News, said she was seeking a replacement. "Of particular interest is a skilled critical thinker with special expertise in Latino issues, ranging from education to immigration. Sound judgment, persuasive writing skills and digital dexterity required," she said by email. She urged those interested to send a bio and three or four examples of commentary as soon as possible to bonnieb (at) dallasnews.com.

Marimow explained that Mike Leary, the Inquirer's deputy managing editor for metro and investigations, left last month to become senior vice president and editor of the San Antonio Express-News. "So Gabe is succeeding Mike in the metro arena, and Gabe will also have some responsibilities that Mike did not have. In effect, he's succeeding Mike, but not in each and every way," Marimow said.

Court Rules Newspaper Can Sue Sheriff Arpaio

"Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio might want to get ready to spend more time in court defending himself," Elise Foley reported Wednesday for HuffPost LatinoVoices.

"The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that two news executives for the Phoenix New Times can sue the Maricopa County sheriff's office for their 2007 arrests.

"The men, newspaper co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, were arrested at their homes in the middle of the night after their publication reported the sheriff's office planned to use a subpoena to figure out who was talking to journalists about Arpaio. Arpaio's allies drafted subpoenas that 'demanded that the paper reveal its confidential sources as well as produce reporters' and editors' notebooks, memoranda, and documents' related to stories about Arpaio, according to the court ruling. The New Times refused, leading to misdemeanor charges against Lacey and Larkin of disclosing grand jury inner workings. The charges were dropped the next day."

Dennis Wagner, JJ Hensley and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez reported Friday for the Arizona Republic, "Federal prosecutors closed an exhaustive four-year FBI criminal investigation and grand-jury probe targeting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and their top deputies, saying there will be no indictments.

". . . Ann Birmingham Scheel, acting on behalf of U.S. Attorney John Leonardo . . . listed the allegations that were investigated — civil-rights violations, misuse of public money, perjury — and said prosecution was declined because of a lack of evidence or an insurmountable burden of proof."

Incoming Knight Fellow "In a Real Fight for His Life"

Kevin Weston, a new media entrepreneur in Oakland, Calif., who was about to start a journalism fellowship at Stanford University, has been diagnosed with acute leukemia and is "in a real fight for his life," Sandy Close, executive editor and director of New America Media, told colleagues on Friday.

"NAM's long-time colleague Kevin Weston is in the ICU at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, fighting a very severe bacterial infection in his throat called necrotizing fasciitis," Close wrote in an email. "In the course of diagnosing and treating the infection, the doctors discovered Kevin has acute leukemia. All this comes on top of his diabetes. So he is in a real Kevin Westonfight for his life. With the love of his partner, Lateefah Simon, their daughter Lelah, his mother and his many friends, he has a powerful will to live. He reached out to grab my hand when I saw him late last night, and nodded his head to let me know he could hear me.

"I know that many of you will want to share your thoughts and prayers with Lateefah directly or through us. Please know we'll carry your messages to the hospital room. Kevin was soaring when this illness struck, about to start his Stanford Knight Fellowship and building his own [501(c)3] youth hub in Oakland. Jim Bettinger and Dawn Garcia at the Knight Fellowship at Stanford are providing tremendous support.

"Send any emails or questions to Sandy Close [sclose (at) newamericamedia.org] or Dana Levine [dlevine (at) newamericamedia.org] directly. Here's the additional information you may want to have:

"Kaiser Permanente, 710 Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara, CA 95051, Room 2302 of the ICU, 408-851-1000."

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