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Supreme Disappointment for Media?

June 25, 2012

Court's ruling was on immigration, not health care; black media team up to seek advertising dollars; FCC urged to investigate "demise of black radio"; Shadid's cousin implicates N.Y. Times in his death; reporter fired for fabrications in 25 stories; creators pledge diversity in "Newsroom," "Fit to Print"; American Indians said to be taking control of imagery; NABJ honors black Louisiana sports figures; back to business at press-freedom conference (6/25/12)

Court's Ruling Was on Immigration, Not Health Care

Black Media Team Up to Seek Advertising Dollars

FCC Urged to Investigate "Demise of Black Radio"

Shadid's Cousin Implicates N.Y. Times in His Death

Reporter Fired for Fabrications in 25 Stories

Creators Pledge Diversity in "Newsroom," "Fit to Print"

American Indians Said to Be Taking Control of Imagery

Black Media Team Up to Seek Advertising Dollars

"Note to marketers: Television advertising is not postracial," Amy Chozick wrote for Monday's editions of the New York Times.

"That's the message that a newly formed consortium of the country's largest African-American media outlets wants to send to marketers, who have largely shunned black media in favor of placing ads on general outlets.

"On Monday, BET Networks, Black Enterprise, Johnson Publishing (the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines), the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and others will join with media-buying agencies to introduce a campaign intended to educate advertisers about the importance of black media and its increasingly deep-pocketed audience.

"Called #InTheBlack (using the Twitter hash tag), the campaign will begin with print advertisements in major newspapers (including The New York Times) and trade magazines like Broadcasting & Cable and Adweek. It will expand to a long-term joint effort that includes social media and direct outreach to marketers.

"The initiative comes at a time when advertisers have poured money into Spanish-language TV and radio in an effort to reach the growing Hispanic population. Black audiences, meanwhile, have largely been overlooked, despite projected buying power of $1.2 trillion by 2015, a 35 percent increase from 2008, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia. . . . "

The coalition's news release lists the participants: "BET Networks has partnered with HuffPost BlackVoices, Black Enterprise, Burrell Communications, Cable Advertising Bureau, Essence Communications, GlobalHue, Inner City Broadcasting Company, KJLH Radio [Los Angeles], Johnson Publishing Company, National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Nielsen, North Star Group, National Newspaper Publishers Association, One Solution, Radio One, TV One, Interactive One, Reach Media, Steve Harvey Radio, TheGrio, The Root, The Africa Channel, UniWorld Group, Vibe Media and Walton Isaacson to create a history making black media and marketing consortium."

FCC Urged to Investigate "Demise of Black Radio"

"A group of black media organizations on Monday will deliver a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, demanding that the FCC look into the demise of black radio in America, and the impact it has had on urban communities," Joy-Ann Reid reported Monday for theGrio.com.

"The letter, and the drive behind it, were sparked by the change in formatting of longtime urban radio station KISS-FM in New York, to sports talk. The change happened after Disney took over the station this spring, ending the decades-long rivalry between that station and WBLS for the adult urban market in New York by merging the stations, and handing the 30-year-old KISS frequency over to ESPN Radio.

"Similar changes have taken place in cities like Miami, where one of just three urban radio stations, The Beat FM, switched from urban 'adult contemporary' to Spanish-language pop. And in many major cities, there are just two, or even one, urban-themed radio stations left. And the number of black-focused talk radio stations is even smaller, particularly after black-owned radio network Radio One essentially exited the black news-talk market in 2007 and 2008."

The letter is signed by Paul Porter, on behalf of Industry Ears, along with Color of Change, which has been active in recent social media campaigns against former Fox News host Glenn Beck and conservative radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh; Joseph Torres of the media reform group Free Press; Brandy Doyle of the Prometheus Radio Project; Todd Steven Burroughs, a lecturer in the Communication Studies Department at Morgan State University; and Jared Ball, Morgan State professor and radio commentator.

Anthony ShadidWhen Anthony Shadid died in February, the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City produced a video on the life of its native son. (Video)

Shadid's Cousin Implicates N.Y. Times in His Death

"Ed Shadid, the cousin of dead New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid, caused a stir over the weekend when he claimed in a speech that Anthony pre-emptively blamed the Times for his death in Syria, telling his wife: 'If anything happens to me, I want the world to know that the New York Times killed me,' " John Cook reported Monday for Gawker.com. "In an interview with Gawker, the surviving Shadid confirms the account and says the Times knew a trip to Syria was too dangerous, but sent him anyway.

"In his speech at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's convention on Saturday, which was initially reported on Twitter and later by Politico, Shadid said that his cousin didn't want to go on the reporting trip to war-torn Syria that led to his death, reportedly from an asthma attack, in February. On the night before he left for Syria, Ed said, Anthony was 'screaming and slamming on the phone in discussions with his editors.' In his last telephone call with his wife, Ed says, Anthony gave his 'haunting last directive that if anything happens to me I want the world to know the New York Times killed me.' "

Anthony Shadid's widow Nada Bakri, a Times reporter, issued a statement via Twitter, Gawker reported.

"I do not approve of and will not be a part of any public discussion of Anthony's passing. It does nothing but sadden Anthony's children to have to endure repeated public discussion of the circumstances of their father's death."

The New York Times rebutted Ed Shadid's assertions, Dylan Byers reported for Politico:

" 'Anthony's death was a tragedy, and we appreciate the enduring grief that his family feels,' New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told POLITICO. 'With respect, we disagree with Ed Shadid's version of the facts. The Times does not pressure reporters to go into combat zones. Anthony was an experienced, motivated correspondent. He decided whether, how and when to enter Syria, and was told by his editors, including on the day of the trip, that he should not make the trip if he felt it was not advisable for any reason.' "

In addition, Matt Pearce reported for the Los Angeles Times, "Confirmation from the family has been noticeably absent."

Reporter Fired for Fabrications in 25 Stories

"Paresh Jha, an award-winning reporter for Hearst Newspapers' New Canaan News in Connecticut, has been fired for fabricating sources and quotes in at least 25 stories over the nearly two years he workeParesh Jhad at the weekly," Craig Silverman reported Friday for the Poynter Institute.

"The paper announced his firing in a report published on its website just before 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

" 'We have found 25 stories written by Paresh Jha over the last year and a half that contain quotes from nonexistent sources,' said David McCumber, editorial director of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

"He went on to say, 'When confronted, Jha admitted that he had fabricated the names and the quotes.' "

Creators Pledge Diversity in "Newsroom," "Fit to Print"

"The highly-buzzed new cable series from Aaron Sorkin is a workplace drama that takes a look at the erratic world of a nightly news broadcast," according to blackactors.net. "Despite all of the marketing and advertising efforts pushing the white stars of the show, we've learned there are actually a few black characters you should know about.

Chris Chalk, left and Adina Porter of 'The Newsroom'"Terry Crews (The Expendables) will appear in the second half of the season in the role of the lead character’s bodyguard, Adina Porter ('True Blood') and Chris Chalk ('Homeland') will play newsroom staffers."

"The Newsroom" premiered to an audience of 2.1 million viewers at 10 p.m. on Sunday, making it one of HBO's top debuts in recent years, Andrea Morabito reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News.

Meanwhile, "Fit to Print," a documentary described as a film "that takes the viewer on a behind-the-scenes journey through the current upheaval in the U.S. newspaper industry," includes interviews with Latino and African American newsroom employees "on the topics of diversity in the newsroom," according to Adam Chadwick, the former New York Times copy editor who is spearheading the production.

Chadwick named Gary Caesar of the New York Times, Linn Washington Jr. of the Philadelphia Tribune, syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. of San Diego and Mc Nelly Torres of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. "The thing is, we are editing the film now, and though I hope to include everyone, I can't guarantee it," Chadwick told Journal-isms by email.

The film is in post-production and still seeking funding.

American Indians Said to Be Taking Control of Imagery

Writing Sunday in Indian Country Today about "American Indians and the Mass Media," a new book edited by Meta G. Carstarphen and John P. Sanchez, Mark Fogarty asked Sanchez, a Yaqui/Apache and an associate professor at Penn State University, "What is the most positive thing you learned about American Indians and the media — and the most negative?"

"The most positive aspect is that American Indians are taking control of the imagery and the very identity of American Indian cultures and no longer allowing non-American Indians to shape American Indian cultures without challenge," Sanchez replied. "The least positive aspect is that many people in the American media believe that American Indians are still a people who have not evolved beyond the 18th-century image of buckskins, beads and feathers, living in tipis and riding horses every day."

Fogarty wrote that the book's "15 chapters, by such well-known commentators as Mark Trahant, Roy Boney Jr. and Paul DeMain, are well researched and meticulously footnoted. This methodical approach could well have dragged the book down. Instead, it illuminates both the portrayal and the journalistic clout of American Indians in media today. And in that, there is something for the general reader."

Sam Lacy Pioneer Award honorees, seated from left, are Javonne Brooks-Grant, Eddie Robin

NABJ Honors Black Louisiana Sports Figures

"In the 1950s, R.L. Stockard integrated the Baton Rouge State-Times and the New Orleans States-Item, bringing a black voice to Louisiana sportswriting. On Friday, he was honored at a convention hosting hundreds of black journalists for his role as a pioneer," Alex Cassara wrote Saturday in the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

"Stockard was one of eight black, Louisiana athletes, coaches and journalists that received recognition at the National Association of Black Journalists' Sports Task Force Sam Lacy Pioneer Awards at the Riverside Hilton as part of the association's convention taking place in New Orleans this weekend.

"Joining Stockard as honorees were the late [Grambling] football coach Eddie Robinson, Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington, Brooklyn Nets Coach Avery Johnson, former college basketball coach Harold Hunter, former UNO volleyball player Javonne Brooks-Grant, Dillard basketball coach Bernard Griffith and former WDSU sportscaster Ro Brown."

Back to Business at Press-Freedom Conference

Yvette Walker, night news director at the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City and Edith Kinney Gaylord Endowed Chair of Media Ethics at the University of Central Oklahoma, is filing reports for Journal-isms on the International Press Institute's World Congress that began Sunday in Trinidad.

By Yvette Walker

Spotted at the International Press Institute World Congress in Port of Spain, Trinidad: Milton Coleman, senior editor of the Washington Post. Other U.S. journalists of color scheduled as panelists include John Yearwood, world editor for the Miami Herald, and Jacqueline Charles, Caribbean correspondent for the Herald. Among the U.S. journalists here are Jim Clancy of CNN International and David S. Rohde of Thomson Reuters, who was given the IPI's World Press Freedom Hero award Monday night at an award dinner.

* * *

Here's a bizarre fact from Trinidad: Native people love Kentucky Fried Chicken. There are 42 KFCs on this island alone, and sales reportedly are higher here than in any other place that sells the chicken.

I decided to do a taste test, having been told that the 11 famous herbs and spices taste different from what I'm used to in the States. Yes, I'm breaking my diet just for you, dear readers.

And the verdict is: The original recipe is pretty similar, in my opinion. I did not get the spicy, and that might be what some people are referring to when they say the taste is different. Another difference, KFC delivers here. OK, back on a proper eating regimen!

* * *

Attendees have been treated to fun activities as well as to sobering pronouncements about the violence and harassment faced by journalists around the world every day.

At the welcome reception, we went to an open-air club, Woodbrook Carib Playboyz Panyard, where we were treated to local fare, East Indian dancing and drumming, and a steel drum band. Attendees danced, ate and had a great time.

Yvette Walker

Monday morning it was back to business. A session on "the big three," Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela, brought us to the terrible fate of many reporters, editors and bloggers. Davan Maharaj, editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times, moderated the panel of four women: Catalina Botero, special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Organization of American States; Cenovia Casas, editor in chief of El Nacional in Venezuela; Marjorie Miller, Associated Press Latin America and Caribbean editor, based in Mexico; and Marcela Turati, journalist for Proceso in Mexico.

The panel generally agreed that Mexico was the worst offender of the three, with its cruel torture and killings. However, one panelist cautioned that Honduras has a high number of deaths per capita and for deaths among journalists.

In an interview afterward, I asked Miller why Americans should care about Mexico and Latin America. She said, "Most of the violence is around drug trafficking to the U.S. market . . . A couple of the cartels aren't just trafficking in drugs, but they're trafficking in people coming to the United States, so it's part of the U.S. economy."

Miller continued, "You're going to have an economic impact, a violence impact, and legal . . . You want Mexico to be a healthy state, a strong state. You don't want the institutions of Mexico to be run by the cartel. It's not good for Mexico and it's not good for the U.S."

Maharaj reminded the audience that Latin America's fight for a free press should concern us all. ". . . At the end of the day, we depend on openness to do our work, which is serving the public's right to know," he said.

Follow my reports at #IPIWoCo2012

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