Protesters No Longer Rely on Traditional Outlets

Marines Discharge Trump Fan After Ugly Incident

9 Tribune Co. Top Editors Now Publishers, Too

Scalia Had Mixed Record on Free Speech Values

John X. Miller Leaves N.C. for Undefeated

MSNBC’s Cutback on Diversity Starting to Be Noticed

Parents Braced for Racist Joke on Oscar Telecast

Sheridan Broadcasting Files for Chapter 11

Short Takes

"Evidence that activists succeeded in educating casual observers came in two main forms: expressions of awe and disbelief at the violent police reactions to the Ferguson protests, and conservative admissions of police brutality in the Eric Garner and Walter Scott cases."

“Evidence that activists succeeded in educating casual observers came in two main forms: expressions of awe and disbelief at the violent police reactions to the Ferguson protests, and conservative admissions of police brutality in the Eric Garner and Walter Scott cases.”

Protesters No Longer Rely on Traditional Outlets

The advent of social media has meant that the Black Lives Matter movement and other protesters have generally been “able to circulate their own narratives without relying on mainstream news outlets,” making more critical the need for mainstream media to staff their newsrooms with journalists whom protesters can trust if the news outlets want the story.

So say authors of a new study on Black Lives Matter and online media.

The general idea here is that social media helps level a media playing field dominated by pro-corporate, pro-government, and (in the United States) anti-Black ideologies,” Deen Freelon, Charlton D. McIlwain and Meredith D. Clark write for the Center for Media & Social Impact in “Beyond the hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the online struggle for offline justice.”

Freelon, an assistant professor of communication at American University, told Journal-isms by telephone on Friday that their description of the mainstream media was “an article of faith” among protesters interviewed for the report, which was released on Monday.

Protesters’ distrust of the mainstream media is certainly not new — Freelon said a similar point was made in Todd Gitlin’s “The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left,” published in 1980 — but the difference today is the presence of social media, particularly Twitter.

Rather than television, radio or print outlets, Freelon said, today their message comes “straight from the digital mouths of the activists themselves.”

For journalists in the mainstream, “Personal relationships are really important,” Freelon said. Activists might research reporters’ stories before agreeing to speak with them.

The report analyzed 40.8 million tweets, more than 100,000 web links and 40 interviews of Black Lives Matter activists and allies. The tweets covered police-involved deaths of African Americans in Ferguson, Mo.; New York; Baltimore; Charleston, S.C.; and other flashpoints.

Deen Freelon

Deen Freelon

The report said, “Complaints about mainstream news coverage of the events were common [PDF]. Many of these tweets scornfully noted the differences between portrayals of police and victims, or between White and Black protesters/rioters . . .”

“When we ask about BLM’s most visible uses of online media in its first year in the national spotlight, our data suggest several answers,” the authors also wrote.

“First, activists used digital tools to generate alternative narratives about police violence to counter the so-called neutrality of the mainstream press.

“These narratives affirmed the value of unarmed Black lives and roundly condemned all those who defended police actions to end them. During the year we analyzed, activists managed to spread their messages on this issue much further than ever before. They did so by appealing to the moral sensitivities of non-activists who in turn projected their messages before audiences who otherwise would not have witnessed them.

“These non-activists — celebrities, politicians, online humorists, and ordinary citizens — either endorsed BLM’s messages or at least recommended that their followers listen to them. This process of information gatekeeping is not new, but before the internet, activists had to rely on news outlets to carry their messages. Mainstream journalism still plays a major role in this today, but it is no longer alone.

“Criticism of racially-based differences in media portrayals of police, victims, and unrelated crimes by Whites justified these alternative narratives. The use of mugshots for Black victims and official photos for police was harshly condemned, as were the inclusion of details about victims’ criminal pasts.

“The effect was to demonstrate that certain media outlets were in fact taking sides despite their editorial stance of neutrality. Unfavorable portrayals of victims and protesters may have contributed to the anti-media hostility seen during the BLM-influenced university protests in the fall of 2015.

“At the same time, activists relied on trusted journalists and news outlets to pass their messages on to larger audiences. But journalists had to earn that trust: the working assumption we saw expressed repeatedly was that ‘the media’ in general stood with the status quo and against the movement. . . .”

Among reporters who had earned the protesters’ trust, Freelon said, were Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, who were arrested in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 apparently because they did not leave a McDonald’s restaurant quickly enough for police. Charges are still pending.

“One way to really get in good with protesters is to get yourself arrested,” Freelon joked.

Donald Trump; James Edwards, top right; and Karanja Ajanaku. (Credit: TheWrap.com)

Donald Trump; James Edwards, top right; and Karanja Ajanaku. (Credit: TheWrap.com)

Marines Discharge Trump Fan After Ugly Incident

It was a typical scene at Donald Trump’s Super Tuesday rally in Louisville, Kentucky: A protester, surrounded by Trump supporters and jostled by them until she left the premises,” Andy Cush reported Wednesday for gawker.com. “According to the protester in question, it was perhaps even uglier than usual. ‘I was called a nigger and a cunt, and got kicked out,’ Shiya Nwanguma said after the incident.

“Nwanguma, a University of [Louisville] student, made the comment in a cell phone video that was posted to Facebook. Nwanguma’s outfit and backpack in the Facebook video clearly match the attire of the person seen being pushed by Trump supporters. . . .”

Shaun King added Friday in his column in the Daily News in New York, “On Wednesday afternoon, the United States Marine Corps quietly decided to discharge a young man named Joseph Pryor. Listed as a ‘future Marine’ on his Facebook page, he had enlisted in 2015, but was currently in their delayed entry program.

“After publicly bragging on Facebook about his role in the harassment and assault of a young black woman, Shiya Nwanguma, at a Donald Trump rally, and a viral image of him yelling at her that eerily resembled similar photos of African-Americans harassed during the civil rights movement, Captain Kevin Hoffman, deputy judge advocate of the United States Marine Corps, informed the Daily News that ‘Mr. Pryor was discharged from the delayed entry program.’

“In the United States, we do have freedom of speech, but this does not mean freedom from consequences. Joseph Pryor just learned this lesson the hard way. . . .”

Meanwhile, Itay Hod and Tim Molloy reported Wednesday for TheWrap.com, “When Donald Trump’s campaign gave a ‘pro-White’ radio host a media credential for a Memphis event, the campaign defended itself by saying it provided press passes to everyone who asked.

“But TheWrap has learned that that wasn’t true for an African-American newspaper.

“ ‘We sent out two email requests,’ Karanja Ajanaku, executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender, told TheWrap. ‘The first email was sent on the Monday before the event, but we never heard back. The second email was sent on Thursday. They never even acknowledged our emails.’

“Such was not the case for James Edwards, host of The Political Cesspool, which describes itself as ‘unapologetically pro-White.’ He says he received not just a press pass to Saturday’s event, but also an interview with Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr.

“ ‘The campaign provided media credentials to everyone that requested access to the event on Saturday in Memphis,’ ” Trump’s campaign said in a statement. ‘There were close to 200 reporters in attendance and we do not personally vet each individual. The campaign had no knowledge of his personal views and strongly condemns them.’

“Asked why the Defender was not credentialed, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told TheWrap, ‘I am not aware of their request or it not being processed.’ . . .”

9 Tribune Co. Top Editors Now Publishers, Too

Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times, and Avido Khahaifa, editor of the Orlando Sentinel, are among nine top editors at Tribune Co. news organizations who are adding publisher to their titles in moves the paper’s corporate parent said is meant to put journalists at the forefront of efforts to reinvent traditional media for the digital age.

Davan Maharaj

Davan Maharaj

Editors at eight other Tribune papers will assume similar dual roles as editor-publishers, and many of the publishers to whom they once reported are leaving the company,” Christopher Goffard reported in the Times. Maharaj is a native of Trinidad.

“The shake-up, announced Wednesday, comes less than a month after Michael W. Ferro Jr., a Chicago tech entrepreneur, became the company’s largest shareholder and chairman.

“Maharaj, 53, has been Times editor since December 2011, a job in which he oversees the largest news operation in the western United States. As the 16th publisher in the newspaper’s 134-year history, he will now also take command of its business operations.

“In addition, Maharaj will oversee LA.com, a new ‘content vertical’ intended to celebrate Los Angeles, capitalize on its global allure and draw readership to The Times.

In addition to his new duties overseeing the business side of Sentinel operations, Khahaifa will continue heading the journalism side of the Orlando media group, Mary Shanklin reported Wednesday in the Sentinel.

“ ‘I’ve been part of this organization and this community for a long time, so it’s a real privilege to lead the charge moving forward,’ said Khahaifa, who is now the company’s publisher and editor-in-chief. He previously served as general manager and senior vice president over Sentinel business operations. The 30-year Tribune veteran has been editor of Sentinel digital and print products since 2013. . . .”

Shanklin also wrote, “Traditionally in Tribune and other media companies, newsrooms have not been headed by executives who are also responsible for editorial and business operations.

Avido Khahaifa

Avido Khahaifa

“In addressing the newsroom staff on Wednesday, Khahaifa said he had a full understanding of the importance of avoiding conflicts when covering companies that advertise with the Orlando Sentinel and its products. He later said he knew where the ‘fault lines’ run between the revenue and newsroom sides of the organization. . . .

“The 1984 graduate of Florida A&M University also served as director of content for Tribune Publishing’s Florida properties, which also includes the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“Khahaifa, the Sentinel’s first African-American publisher, said Wednesday he would continue working with new and existing groups throughout the Orlando area, as he did in his earlier role as general manager during years when the Orlando Sentinel and Sun Sentinel shared a publisher. . . .”

Scalia Had Mixed Record on Free Speech Values

Color him as you will,” Ronald K.L. Collins wrote Thursday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in a special edition on the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead Feb. 13 at 76.

“On the one hand, he was a First Amendment loyalist in the campaign finance and commercial speech line of cases, while on the other hand he betrayed free speech values in the government speech and student speech line of cases and in the ‘material support’ case,” a reference to a provision in the USA Patriot Act that criminalized providing “expert advice or assistance” to terrorists.

“When it came to the First Amendment and free expression, Chief Justice [JohnRoberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy largely eclipsed him,” Collins wrote in the winter issue of the Reporters Committee’s publication “The News Media and the Law.” “And as noted, his originalist jurisprudence never gained much traction in free speech cases.

“In the marketplace of today’s ideologies, what counts most is whether the Justice who replaces Antonin Scalia is a liberal or conservative. Though it is a sign of our times, it is never a good sign for a robust First Amendment that flies no ideological flags. . . .”

Quoting Erik Wemple in the Washington Post, Collins also noted that Scalia “abhors” New York Times v. Sullivan, which as Wemple explained in 2012, “means public officials have a tough time winning damages from news outlets that report nasty things about them.”

John X. Miller Leaves N.C. for Undefeated

John X. Miller, who held the top newsroom job as managing editor of his hometown Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal and the website Journal Now, is joining the Undefeated, the digital ESPN project covering race, culture and sports, Miller told Facebook followers on Wednesday.

John X. Miller

John X. Miller

“FB family I’m headed to DC to work with ‪#‎theundefeated‬ @ ESPN; leaving the Winston-Salem Journal | JournalNow, my hometown newspaper, as managing editor is very tough, but I’m pumped to be joining the excellent team that Kevin Merida & Raina Kelley are putting together,” he wrote. Merida is editor and Kelley is managing editor. Miller will be senior editor for news.

Other new Undefeated hires include Jill Hudson, director of content initiatives, digital at National Geographic, as senior style writer, and Rhiannon Walker, who has interned at several publications, as associate editor. “My range of work will include video, aggregation, original reporting, social and other storytelling methods,” she wrote on Facebook.

Other recent hires include Michael A. Fletcher, Soraya McDonald, Lonnae O’Neal and Clinton Yates of the Washington Post; Steve Reiss of Crain’s Chicago Business; Kelley L. Carter of BuzzFeed, Latoya Peterson of Fusion; and ESPN.com columnist Jason Reid. Merida was a managing editor of the Post before leaving last year to head the Undefeated.

MSNBC’s Cutback on Diversity Becoming Noticeable

MSNBC’s facelift over the past two years has cut the airtime of some of its most prominent minority personalities — and it is starting to be noticed,” David Bauder reported Thursday for the Associated Press.

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

“The National Association of Black Journalists expressed concerns about MSNBC’s record in the wake of the noisy exit of weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry. The network said Thursday that it is proud of its diversity effort and noted that people of all ethnicities have seen their roles reduced or eliminated as part of a transition to more breaking news coverage.

“Harris-Perry, who is black, had been proud of bringing new voices to television on her weekend MSNBC shows. The Wake Forest University professor questioned her future at the network after her show had been pre-empted for several weeks due to weekend political coverage.

“Civil rights activist Al Sharpton’s daily program was eliminated in the past year, and he now hosts a Sunday show at MSNBC. Joy Reid lost a weekday show and is now an MSNBC contributor. Toure was part of a weekday ensemble show that was eliminated, and Alex Wagner’s weekday show was also ended. Recently, Jose Diaz-Balart’s weekday morning show has been missing due to political coverage, although he was back on the air Thursday.

“The black journalists’ group labeled Harris-Perry’s exit “truly unfortunate.” Dorothy Tucker, a Chicago television reporter and NABJ’s vice president for broadcast, said she hoped MSNBC had room for more black journalists as analysts, on-air experts and hosts.

“Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez also made note of the issue this week in a House speech.

“Forgive me or not noticing just how much progress NBC was making on diversity when some of the most visible people of color at MSNBC — like Alex Wagner, Melissa Harris-Perry and Jose Diaz-Balart — are disappearing,” he said. “Journalists of color bring a different texture, a different perspective on what issues matter and what should be debated and discussed on television.”

Richard Prince, who writes a blog about minority issues in journalism, said MSNBC has been rightly proud of having a larger minority audience over the past few years than other news-oriented networks. But “there is some retrenchment and I think there is some concern about that,” he said. . . .”

"It wasn't until the rehearsals, after Estie Kung, right, "got her tux fitted and was already looking forward to the opportunity to be on the Oscars, that her parents heard the entirety of the joke for the first time," Ada Tseng wrote. (Credit: oscar.go.com)

It wasn’t until the rehearsals, after Estie Kung, right, “got her tux fitted and was already looking forward to the opportunity to be on the Oscars, that her parents heard the entirety of the joke for the first time,” Ada Tseng wrote. (Credit: oscar.go.com)

Parents Braced for Racist Joke on Oscar Telecast

In January, 8-year-old Estie Kung went to four countries in two weeks to promote ‘Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown,’ ” Ada Tseng reported Wednesday for Public Radio International. “The show pits a cast of five child cooks against adult executive-level chefs in a culinary battle.

“It premiered in the US on the FYI Network last summer, but when Lifetime Asia began to air the show this year, they sent the biracial Kung (her mother is white, her father is Chinese American) on a press tour to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“It was her first time in Asia, and she was so popular abroad that one Malaysian fan who didn’t own a car asked her nephews to drive her six hours to Kuala Lumpur just for the chance to see the oft-pigtailed third grader at a mall and give her a gift. She did over 50 interviews and saw advertisements for the show on the sides of buses. (‘My face was huge!’)

“A little over a month later, back at home in Los Angeles, the second season of ‘Man Vs. Child’ is scheduled to return this month. But now, photographs of Kung alongside two other Asian American child actors onstage at the Oscars have been plastered all over the news.

“In Sunday night’s Academy Awards broadcast, host Chris Rock did a skit where he introduced the ‘dedicated, accurate and hard-working’ accountants ‘Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz’ responsible for counting the votes for the night. He then welcomed the three tuxedo-clad kids, Kung included, holding briefcases: a play on the stereotype of Asian (and Jewish) Americans being model minorities who are good at math.

“To add insult to injury, Rock threw in a child labor reference: ‘If anybody is upset about this joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids.’

“Turns out, it doesn’t matter how big you may be in Asia; the roles that mainstream Hollywood writes for minorities are still limited. . . .”

Tseng also wrote, “it wasn’t until the rehearsals, after Estie got her tux fitted and was already looking forward to the opportunity to be on the Oscars, that her parents heard the entirety of the joke for the first time. But they had already signed the contract and had to confront the very likely possibility that their daughter would be part of a racist joke that would cause an uproar. After talking to Estie, they ultimately decided to take the optimistic point of view, believing that an inappropriate Asian joke that might provoke a difficult public conversation may be preferable if the status-quo alternative was to have no Asian presence at all. So, they braced themselves. . . .”

Sheridan Broadcasting Files for Chapter 11

Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation, which operates news and gospel network programming in more than three dozen markets nationwide, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” Maria Sciullo reported Wednesday for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Once owner of radio touchstone WAMO, Sheridan still is majority owner in the American Urban Radio Networks. Sheridan, a privately owned company, was founded in 1972 by the Davenport family.

“Seeking Chapter 11 protection, common in business, allows time for a company to reorganize.”

Short Takes

  • “TMZ had it first: ‘Buried Knife Found at O.J. Estate.’ The story went up at 4 a.m. ET. By lunchtime, the LAPD was holding a press conference confirming the bizarre news. The knife ‘could be’ connected to a crime, but ‘we just don’t know,’ TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin said on ‘Erin Burnett OutFront’ tonight,” Frank Pallotta wrote in an email update for followers of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” “The wall-to-wall cable news coverage had echoes of the mid 1990s. People immediately tried to connect the dots between the LAPD investigation and the FX event series ‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson…’ “
  • A non-profit Canadian cable network that programs for aboriginal peoples hopes to do the same in the United States for Native American viewers,” Brian Steinberg reported Feb. 18 for Variety. “Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, a cable channel based in Canada that is dedicated exclusively to content for indigenous peoples, intends to work to launch All Nations Network, a similar outlet in the United States that will develop and air TV programs written, produced, and directed by Native Americans, among others. . . .”
  • A Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America,” Gustavo López and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera reported Tuesday for the Pew Research Center. “This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latino population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latino.” They also wrote, “When asked directly about their race, only 18% of Afro-Latinos identified their race or one of their races as black. . . .” Carolina Moreno and Roque Planas wrote Friday for HuffPost LatinoVoices, “The study highlights in stark terms what critics have been saying for years: The categories used by the Census Bureau fail to capture the complexity of Latino racial identity. . . .”
  • Robert Johnson and Alfred Liggins are good friends who share a unique bond: Each launched a successful cable TV network targeting African Americans, a rare achievement that makes them influential voices in the world of minority programming,” Jim Puzzanghera reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times. “But as federal regulators consider new regulations for pay-TV set-top boxes that could dramatically reshape that world, the two black media titans have staked out polar opposite positions. . . .”
  • LaFontaine E. Oliver, president and general manager of WMFE-FM in Orlando, has been elected to the NPR board of directors, the network announced on Feb 18, Tyler Falk reported for Current.org. Falk wrote, “Oliver has led WMFE since 2013. Before that he was g.m. at WEAA-FM in Baltimore for seven years. Oliver is also president of the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists, a member and secretary of the Florida Public Broadcasting Service Board, and vice chair of Eastern Region Public Media. . ..”

    Eric Ortiz

    Eric Ortiz

  • “Truthdig, an award-winning progressive news and opinion site, has named Eric Ortiz, a veteran digital journalist, as its new managing editor,” Truthdig announced on Thursday. “Ortiz, a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and the founder of mobile app startup Evrybit, will oversee Truthdig’s day-to-day news operation and its portfolio of editorial writers, bloggers and contributors, which includes Chris Hedges, Sonali Kolhatkar and Mark Fiore. Robert Scheer is Truthdig’s editor in chief. . . .”
  • How Black are you? The case of Simeon Booker shows a startling lack of Black conscious and consciousness among President Barack Obama and his staff,” William Reed wrote Feb. 24 for his “Business Exchange” column in the black press. “There has been a national movement and petition among Blacks to get President Obama to award Simeon Booker the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his courageous and pioneering African-American-oriented journalism during the Civil Rights Movement. It seems that President Obama doesn’t know who Simeon Booker is, or of bona fides he earned during this nation’s civil-rights movement. . . .”
  • “The George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs, in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, is organizing Newsroom U: A White House Student Press Briefing and Multimedia Weekend May 5-9, 2016 in Washington, DC,” the organizations announced Wednesday. “Approximately 25 top student journalists (23 college and 2 from high school) will be selected from many of the nation’s leading student media programs to come to the nation’s capital.” Deadline for applications is March 20.
  • What is the future of Spanish-language media?Shan Wang asked Thursday for NiemanLab. “Graciela Mochkofsky, the newly appointed director of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s new Spanish-language master’s degree program, is hoping its newest students, whoever they might be, can begin to tackle that question.” This month, the program “began actively recruiting for around 15 students for fall 2016 enrollment (the program runs for three semesters). . . .”
  • On C-SPAN3, American History TV on Saturday, “Emporia State University professor Brian Craig Miller talks about the experiences of Confederate veterans during Reconstruction. He describes how support varied widely among the Southern states and how many southern organizations founded to aid veterans instead put their money towards large war monuments and pro-Confederate propaganda,” C-SPAN announces. The broadcast airs at 8 p.m. and midnight ET, and can be viewed online.
  • The U.S. State Department on Friday called the decision by Turkish authorities to seize control of the country’s largest newspaper ‘troubling,’ Eric Beech reported for Reuters on Saturday. Beech also wrote, “Turkish authorities seized control of the Zaman newspaper on Friday at the request of an Istanbul prosecutor, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, in a widening crackdown against supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential foe of President Tayyip Erdogan. . . .” [Added March 5]
  • A Somali military court has sentenced to death a former journalist who helped al-Shabab kill five fellow reporters,” Shabelle Media Network reported from Mogadishu on Thursday. “Hassan Hanafi assisted the Islamist militant group by identifying possible targets amongst journalists between 2007 and 2011. The chairman of Somali military court Hassan Ali Nur who read the verdict told reporters that Hassan Hanafi Hajji has confessed of murdering the following journalists. Mahad Ahmed Elmi (2007); Ali Iman Sharmarke (2007); Said Tahlil Ahmed (2009); Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe, Radio Shabelle director (2009); Sheikh Nur Mohamed Abkey (2010). He joined its armed wing after working for Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s mouthpiece in Somalia. . . .”

 

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