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High Schools With No Student Media: "Largely Poor, High Minority"

October 10, 2012

Overall, 33% have online component, study finds; Huffington Post lets go its 4 general managers; Obama tells Joyner he was "too polite" in debate; Michigan, UCLA law schools not "best" for blacks; Riza Cruz named executive editor at Marie Claire; Nicholas Lemann to step down at Columbia J-School; "an interview should be like . . . a weapon"; which Chávez did Obama honor again? (10/10/12)

Overall, 33% Have Online Component, Study Finds

Huffington Post Lets Go Its 4 General Managers

The Huffington Post has let go its four general managers, including Derek J. Murphy, who supervised multicultural initiatives, a spokesman told Journal-isms Wednesday.

Separately, Miguel Ferrer, managing editor of the company's BlackVoices, LatinoVoices (English-language) and Voces (Spanish-language) sites, has left for a new joint venture of ABC News and Univision, those organizations announced.

"I'm exploring new opportunities," Murphy told Journal-isms by email. Derek J. Murphy

When Murphy was named general manager for multicultural in 2011, a news release said, ". . . Derek Murphy will drive the overall strategy and operational performance for AOL Latino, BlackVoices and AOL's other multicultural offerings. Murphy had been COO of Global Media Ventures, which he formed with [Sheila C.] Johnson," co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. "He was previously Senior Vice President, Business Development of The Huffington Post. Prior to that, he was at CNN, where he oversaw integrated media partnerships with a broad range of companies, including Google and Amazon." Murphy has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"The GM responsibilities are being handled by expanded sales and marketing teams who can work on initiatives across the site rather than being siloed in interest areas," the Huffington spokesman told Journal-isms. "Our staff numbers have continued to grow, and this reorganization was done for business optimization purposes, not budgetary reasons. It's not our practice to publicly release the names of employees who have been let go.

"Regarding Miguel's departure, we have great teams in place and our national editor is working with them and with Miguel on succession plans. . . . We'll miss him but we understand that this is a tremendous opportunity for him and we wish him well." Kate Palmer is national editor.

Miguel Ferrer

ABC News and Univision News announced Ferrer's appointment Wednesday as they disclosed that their joint venture news and lifestyle network for U.S. Hispanics will be based in Miami.

Ferrer "will be the first Executive Producer, Digital for the new company. He will oversee all digital properties and work closely with the ad sales, distribution and editorial teams," the announcement said.

". . . The currently unnamed television network is expected to launch in 2013. Editorial coverage will focus on the issues most relevant for U.S. Hispanics, including the economy, entertainment, music, food, immigration, education, politics, health and wellness and more.

"The landmark joint venture capitalizes on Univision's news leadership and expertise in reaching U.S. Hispanics and ABC's global news leadership to serve more than 52 million Hispanics, the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the country. . . ."

In February, Ferrer, then managing editor of HuffPost LatinoVoices, also became managing editor of HuffPost BlackVoices.

Ferrer had previously been director of programming for AOL Latino, where he was responsible for growing AOL Latino's audience and developing key media partnerships. Before AOL Latino, Ferrer was business development manager for People en Español.

President Obama said of his debate performance last week,

Obama Tells Joyner He Was "Too Polite" in Debate

On the eve of Thursday's vice presidential candidates debate between incumbent Joseph R. Biden Jr., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., President Obama said on the syndicated Tom Joyner radio show that he had been "just too polite [audio and transcript]" last week in his debate with an aggressive Mitt Romney, the Republican standard-bearer and former governor of Massachusetts.

In Britain's Daily Mail, columnist Tony Harnden suggested that something else was afoot. He cited an unnamed Democrat who is "aligned with the Obama campaign" and "an unofficial adviser on occasions," in writing Tuesday that "what nobody knew, until now, was that Obama believed he had actually won.

"In an extraordinary insight into the events leading up to the 90 minute showdown which changed the face of the election, a Democrat close to the Obama campaign today reveals that the President also did not take his debate preparation seriously, ignored the advice of senior aides and ignored one-liners that had been prepared to wound Romney."

Meanwhile, "With multiple networks carrying the same programming tomorrow night the one and only Vice Presidential debate — CNN has decided to feature real-time feedback from a focus group in Virginia, and a running time clock that tracks each candidate's speaking time which will be added up to determine the time spent on the issues," Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser.

Joyner said to Obama, who called into "the Tom Joyner Morning Show," "I only have two questions for you. One, what happened at the debate? Everybody wants to know. Or was that some kind of genius strategy to [rope-a-dope] him in and then fact check him at the end? Or, and the other question is for all of my, my black friends who say that the President's not doing nothing, not doing anything for the black community, talk to them."

Obama replied, "Well, two things. I mean, you know, the debate, I think it's fair to say I was just too polite, because, you know, it's hard to sometimes just keep on saying . . . 'what you're saying isn't true.' It gets repetitive. But, you know, the good news is, is that's just the first one. Governor Romney put forward a whole bunch of stuff that either involved him running away from positions that he had taken, or doubling down on things like Medicare vouchers that are going to hurt him long-term.

". . . And, you know, I think it's fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one. . . ."

The interview was widely reported by news organizations Wednesday.

Michigan, UCLA Law Schools Not "Best" for Blacks

Washington-based lawyer Yolanda Young, a USA Today contributor and founder of onbeingablacklawyer.com, says "The Black Student's Guide To Law Schools" will be posted on her site on Oct. 17.

"While Harvard, Howard, and Georgetown law schools top the list, it excludes Michigan and UCLA, schools whose black student populations plummeted when their states disallowed the inclusion of race in admissions decisions," she told Journal-isms by email. "Depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court decides the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, black enrollment at these institutions may drop even lower."

As Mark Sherman reported for the Associated Press, "Supreme Court justices sharply questioned the University of Texas' use of race in college admissions Wednesday in a case that could lead to new limits on affirmative action.

"The court heard arguments in a challenge to the program from a white Texan who contends she was discriminated against when the university did not offer her a spot in 2008."

"The court's conservatives cast doubt on the program that uses race as one among many factors in admitting about a quarter of the university's incoming freshmen. The liberal justices appeared more supportive of the effort."

The battle over affirmative action also extends to language. A USA Today website headline read "Supreme Court weighs quotas in affirmative action case" even though the story by Richard Wolf and Mary Beth Marklein specifically quotes Solicitor General Donald Verrilli saying "There's no quota." The story also repeats the term "racial preferences," a pejorative not used by the University of Texas or the U.S. government to describe the program.

Riza Cruz Named Executive Editor at Marie Claire

Riza Cruz, a senior editor at Vogue magazine since 2006, is joining Marie Claire as executive editor on Oct. 29, Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider announced on Wednesday.

Riza Cruz

"In her new role, she will assign and edit cover stories, top-edit all articles and sections in the magazine, and manage the magazine's features editors and writers," a news release said.

"At Vogue, she edited cover stories, fashion features, personal essays, and the fashion and social sections, and edited writers including André Leon Talley, Hamish Bowles, Sarah Mower, Lynn Yaeger, Robert Sullivan, and Plum Sykes.

"From 2004 to 2006, Cruz was features editor at Real Simple, where she assigned and edited personal essays from writers including Jonathan Safran Foer, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jane Smiley, and Susan Choi, among others, in addition to editing human interest and personal finance stories. Earlier in her career, she also held editor positions at Inc., Business 2.0 and Vanity Fair.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Riza to Marie Claire," Fulenwider said in the release. "She's an extraordinary talent and a great editor. We worked together at Vanity Fair and I'm looking forward to collaborating again."

Cruz is Filipina-American. Late last month, Keija Minor was named editor-in-chief of Brides, making her the first person of color to hold the title at a Condé Nast Publications magazine.

Nicholas Lemann to Step Down at Columbia J-School

"The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is about to choose its first new leader in a decade, after Dean Nicholas Lemann announced his impending departure from the post at the end of this academic year," Jeff Sonderman wrote Wednesday for the Poynter Institute.

"University President Lee Bollinger will take the 'unusual' step of personally leading the search committee for a new dean, The New York Times reports.

Nicholas LemannA news release said, "During Lemann's time as dean, the school has brought in 20 new members to its full-time faculty, started the school's first new professional degree program since the 1930’s [PDF] — the M.A. degree, which stresses subject-matter expertise — and launched new centers for investigative reporting and digital journalism. The school also started the Punch Sulzberger News Media Executive Leadership program in 2007, the only executive leadership program for news managers based at a journalism school, along with several other major programs to train working journalists."

Howard W. French, an associate professor and former New York Times correspondent, said of Lemann by email, "I know from having engaged with him intensely on the issue that strengthening diversity has been an important goal for Nick throughout his tenure here. He has pushed to find ways to bring us to consider diversity in virtually everything we do here, but a tremendous amount of work remains to be done, especially in hiring of faculty. The hope is that the new dean will bring just as strong a commitment."

June Cross, another associate professor of color, said by email, "A lot of my colleagues have commented that these will be big shoes to fill. Nick's designed a blueprint and laid a foundation that will take the school into the 21st century. His philosophy has been to plant a thousand seeds and see where they will grow. The reality is that the business is changing so fast that no one can know. He set a tone for civil discourse at the school that I hope we can retain through the transition ahead."

Sree Sreenivasan, the school's former dean of student affairs, recently named the university's chief digital officer, told Sonderman, "Nick has been a terrific dean and will leave a permanent stamp on the school — not just through the many infrastructure improvements he brought, but also through the talented new faculty and changes to the curricula he initiated and led."

Wayne J. Dawkins, who teaches at Hampton University and edits the Columbia J-school Black Alumni Network newsletter, said by email, ". . . the legacy accomplishments I associate with Lemann [include] making our alumni association truly global and not Manhattan-centric as it was for decades before the changes in the 21st century. . . .

"Second, under Lemann's watch the BA Network and the school endowed a BA Network/Phyllis T. Garland scholarship that provides $5,000 in financial aid to needy students. At least five awards were made, then the scholarship was suspended in order to properly endow the scholarship. . . . We do anticipate an award this fall. . . . Lemann is soft spoken and self-effacing. . . . Personally, I'm grateful for Lemann's generosity and advice."

Cyndi Stivers, editor-in-chief of Columbia Journalism Review, the face of the school to many outside the campus, said by telephone Thursday that Lemann defers to Chairman Victor Navasky on matters of policy. An African American is about to start on the business side, she said, and Sang Ngo, who is Asian American, is an associate editor. There are nine full-time people. Diversity "is not as good as it ought to be . . . The whole [magazine] industry does not reflect the nation," she said. However, "we welcome pitches all over the place." Journalist Farai Chideya will be writing for CJR, though not as a staffer, Stivers said. Stivers was hired by Lemann.

"Following a one-year sabbatical, Lemann plans to return to the faculty at the Journalism School, and will continue his work as an author and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine," the university said.

"An Interview Should Be Like . . . a Weapon"

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who recently confronted President Obama over his failure to achieve immigration reform in his first year, says that he is "completely convinced that the most important social role of us journalists is to confront those who are in power."

Ramos appeared Friday with fellow Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas on Bill Moyers' public television show "Moyers & Company."

Salinas pointed to the Spanish-language network's upcoming collaboration with ABC when asked what was next for the team, who have been together for 25 years.

"I think that making that transition into English language, and being able to reach all audiences," Salinas said. "And what I mean is, not only Hispanics that speak English but all audiences. To understand who we are, I think, to elevate the position of Latinos in this country, and the role of Latinos in this society is something that we sort of take on as a mission."

Ramos said he became a journalist because he admired the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, who became famous because, as Moyers said, "she could ask questions in a ferocious way."

Ramos said, ". . . She used to say that the interview should be like an arm, like a weapon and that in an interview an interview is a war between the interviewee and the interviewer.

"Obviously some interviews are just for information. But sometimes when you're confronting the powerful you really have to do that. And I'm completely convinced that the most important social role of us journalists is to confront those who are in power. And the place for us to be is as far as possible from power."

Which Chávez Did Obama Honor Again?

"Nothing about the U.S. media response to Hugo Chávez’s reelection in Venezuela Sunday has been surprising," Natasha Lennard wrote Monday for salon.com. "Save for a few corners of support for the socialist leader, American pundits have — with a strong dose of neoliberal ideology — criticized his record and the means through which he has remained in power.

"Chávez won the mandate of another six years in power (adding to his 14-year tenure) with more than 54 percent of the vote, beating challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. A number of conservative U.S. news outlets were quick to challenge the validity of the large margin (which was nonetheless the weakest margin the socialist leader has ever enjoyed in an election).

After reviewing the coverage in several media outlets, Lennard concluded, "And finally, in light of the fact that President Obama spent Monday dedicating a monument to César Chávez, the Nation's Jeremy Scahill took to Twitter to preempt some unfortunate confusion:

" 'Can't wait for some dingbat to attack Obama for dedicating a monument to "Hugo" Chávez.' "

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