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Raymond Boone, Feisty Publisher, Dies at 76

June 4, 2014

Richmond journalist insisted on high standards (6/3/14); one in 3 TV stations shares news with another outlet; Comcast purchase of Time Warner ;opposed on racial grounds; Angelou service Saturday will be private, but streamed; reaction to Google figures: Asians became white; . . . photographer Marilynn Yee retires after 37 Years of N.Y.; challenging an assertion that Latinos have, too; exposing companies that renege on diversity promises; Egyptian TV swayed voters from Morsi, toward Sisi (6/2/14)

Richmond, Va., Journalist Insisted on High Standards

Raymond H. Boone (Credit: Scott Elmquist/RVA.com)

Photographer Marilynn Yee Retires After 37 Years of N.Y.

Marilynn Yee (Credit: Fred R. Conrad/New York Times)

"New York City, 1977. Fires raged through the Bronx. Son of Sam was on the loose. Murders were almost as common as street fights and Times Square was dirty, in every way possible,"David Gonzalez wrote May 22 for the New York Times Lens blog.

"Marilynn K. Yee left sunny California for this? She had come to New York, all of 27 years old, to be a staff photographer at The New York Times. Among the first women on the photography staff, as well as the first Asian, she had left behind California, where she had been raised, and where she had worked briefly at The Los Angeles Times.

"Working the night shift, she did it all, hopping on the subway with her gear at all hours. One night she dashed off to Harlem to cover a double homicide. Her parents, who were visiting, were supposed to call her at work. She told the clerk that whatever happened, please don't tell them where she was.

"'I got to Harlem and was like, "Where’s everybody?"' she recalled. 'There was nobody around. I saw a couple of guys hanging out and asked them about the murder. They pointed to the sidewalk and said: "See those red dots? That’s blood." It happened at 4. The Times wasn’t too quick on breaking news then.'

"When she returned to the paper, the clerk said her parents had called.

"'Of course, he told them I had gone to Harlem for a double murder,' she said. 'They just freaked out.'

"The paper and her parents have changed since then. So has Ms. Yee, who went on to cover both World Trade Center attacks, being part of the team that shared the Pulitzer Prize in 1994. Now, after 37 years, she is retiring. This is her last day. . . ."

Exposing Companies That Renege on Diversity Promises

Kudos to Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times, who wrote in her "Fair Game" column in the Sunday print edition about companies that renege on promises to diversify their corporate boards.

One investor pushing for change is Calstrs, "the pension fund that invests on behalf of California's teachers. In recent years, its officials have pushed for diversity on corporate boards, filing 35 shareholder proposals at companies asking for action on the issue. At least 14 have responded by appointing either a woman or a member of a minority.

"Sometimes, as is common among institutional shareholders, Calstrs agrees to withdraw a proposal from proxy materials after extracting a promise from the company to improve its governance practices.

"'With all of these companies, we have tried to get them to put something in their charter documents recognizing the need for diversity and giving a vehicle for recognizing its importance,' said Janice Hester-Amey, portfolio manager in the corporate governance group at Calstrs. 'Over time we would expect this issue to be addressed.'

"That hasn’t always happened.

"Three years ago Calstrs approached Skechers about increasing the diversity of its board. After the company agreed to add a formal diversity policy to its nominating committee charter, Calstrs withdrew a proposal that it was hoping to put to a shareholder vote. But Skechers still hasn’t changed its policy. . . ."

Egyptian TV Swayed Voters From Morsi, Toward Sisi

"The dramatic shift in popular opinion that is expected to lift a former army chief to president of Egypt traces, in part, to an incident outside a TV station last year," Matt Bradley wrote last week for the Wall Street Journal.

"One night last June, long before Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al Sisi was seen as presidential material here, the news directors of six satellite news channels huddled in an office to discuss growing protests outside by backers of Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader elected president after the Arab Spring uprising.

"The news directors say they were terrified. Islamists enraged at the stations' criticisms of Mr. Morsi had surrounded the office park that housed their TV offices, intimidating reporters who came and went.

"The news directors made a decision: From then on, their stations would refer to Muslim Brotherhood supporters as 'terrorists.'

"The protesters 'were saying "We will kill you." They started throwing Molotov cocktails at the gate. So this was terrorism,' said Albert Shafik, news director of a channel called OnTV.

"'So we explained this every day on air.'

"The language in broadcasts watched by millions proved a pivot point in Egypt's circuitous development after the Arab Spring, from nascent democracy to a new embrace of leadership by former generals.

"Mr. Morsi, elected in 2012 in the first free and fair presidential election Egypt had held in decades, now sits in prison, facing capital murder charges. . . ."

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