NAHJ Founder, Ex-President to Teach at Rutgers

Pittsburgh Anchor Fired After Inflammatory Posting

. . . Station to Meet Periodically With Black Journalists

Black Lives Matter Gains as African American Voice

Yearwood Leaves Miami Herald After 13 Years

$40 Million Suit Proceeds Against School, Ex-Prof

Corporations Nervous About GOP Convention

Richburg, Ramsess, L.A. Times Turn a Page

Story on Divided Family Wins Diversity Award

Eyerolls Greet Obama’s Advice to Journalists

Short Takes

Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez says he believes in term limits for columnists.

NAHJ Founder, Ex-President to Teach at Rutgers

Juan Gonzalez, a columnist for the Daily News in New York and a 29-year veteran of the tabloid, is leaving the newspaper to join the faculty of Rutgers University in New Jersey, he announced Wednesday on “Democracy Now!,” the Pacifica radio and television show he co-hosts.

“I’ve believed there should be term limits for politicians and there should be term limits for columnists, and I’m way over,” Gonzalez told listeners and viewers.

When co-host Amy Goodman read a letter to the Daily News staff from Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich praising Gonzalez and announcing the columnist’s departure, Gonzalez joked, “You know it’s time to leave when the people who are your bosses say they were inspired to get in the profession because of you.”

Dean Jonathan Potter of Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information told Journal-isms that Gonzalez will be a professor of professional practice in Journalism and Media Studies,  a department in the School of Communication and Information on the New Brunswick campus. “Part of his role at Rutgers will be to conduct several public events each year related to race and the media.” He starts on Jan. 1, 2017.

Potter added by email that he was  “thrilled and honored.” Gonzalez “has already made significant scholarly contributions with his books on race in the media and the history of Latinos in America. He will enrich what we offer to students and stimulate discussion of diversity, reporting and political organization across campus.”

Gonzalez is to teach one course per semester and have a research budget, “e.g. for travel and book writing.” He will be a full professor, though it is not a tenured position.

Keith J. Kelly, Media Ink columnist at the News’ archrival New York Post, cast Gonzalez’s departure in a negative light.

More high-profile columnists are jumping from novice Daily News Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich’s sinking ship,” Kelly wrote in Wednesday’s editions.

“The latest to depart is Juan Gonzalez, a 29-year veteran of Mort Zuckerman’s teetering tabloid. But unlike his 50 colleagues who were axed in the fall, the 68-year-old Gonzalez . . . is leaving on his terms.

“ ‘I told them I’m resigning so they are not giving me a package,’ Gonzalez told Media Ink. ‘I’m going to be a professor of journalism at Rutgers starting in January.’

“Until then, Gonzalez will work on a book about Big Apple politics. . . .”

Gonzalez will continue to write occasionally in the Daily News after he takes his “half-step into retirement” at the end of April, according to Rich’s memo. Goodman said he would remain with “Democracy Now!”

Rich wrote, “Juan Gonzalez has been an inspiration to each of us at some point in our lives. Some of us grew up in the New York City area and were compelled to become journalists after reading his unsparing investigative work. Some of us have stood shoulder to shoulder with him as he covered with unrivaled grace and integrity many of the most important or harrowing stories in the city’s history. All of us have witnessed his unflinching devotion to fact-based journalism as an agent of social good. . . . ”

Gonzalez’s columns emphasized reporting rather than opinion. Some of his revelations were presented as news stories.

Rich mentioned Gonzalez’s two George Polk Awards, in 2010 for “columns that exposed a major scandal in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration” and in 1998 “for columns challenging myths about people of color and describing the effects of the unequal distribution of wealth in urban America.”

Gonzalez is the author of the 2000 book “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America,” which examined the history of U.S.-Latin American relations through the prism of immigration, and co-author with Joseph Torres of “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media,” published in 2011.

He also wrote “American Media and Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Collapse,” on the environmental fallout after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  “Gonzalez had been the first reporter in the city to deliver the radioactively controversial news in the fall of 2001 that the air near Ground Zero was far less safe than federal and local officials were saying,” Keach Hagey wrote in 2007 for the Village Voice. Gonzalez was said to have been a sure-fire Pulitzer Prize winner in 2007 but for pressure from city officials.

Gonzalez and Will Sutton of the National Association of Black Journalists are credited as co-originators of the concept that became Unity: Journalists of Color and Unity: Journalists for Diversity, which began as a coalition of the black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalists associations.

A bio continues, “One of the original founders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Gonzalez served as the group’s president from 2002-2004 and was named to its Hall of Fame in 2008. During his time as NAHJ president, he spearheaded a nationwide effort by professional journalists to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s dismantling of media ownership regulations, and was an early advocate of Net Neutrality, the principle of non-discrimination by Internet service providers over all data.

“Even before he entered journalism, Gonzalez distinguished himself as a leader of the Young Lords, a militant civil rights organization of the late 1960s, and later of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights.

“Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, he was raised in East Harlem and Brooklyn, New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and has been a visiting professor in public policy at Brooklyn College.”

Gonzalez has been reporting on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis in his column, filling in gaps in coverage by other news organizations.

Like the other branches of the federal government, the Supreme Court is now faced with more big questions about Puerto Rico than it has in years,” he wrote on March 23.

“In January, the justices heard arguments in another case over whether the island has the sovereign right to prosecute crimes that have already been tried in federal courts. At their heart, both cases raise troubling questions over what exactly is Puerto Rico’s status, given that it is neither a state nor an independent country.

“Decisions on both cases are expected before the end of June.

“Meanwhile, Congress continues to stall. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who last year promised to have a bill on Puerto Rico ready by March 31, announced Tuesday he’s set that date back to mid April when Congress returns from its Easter recess.

“The island’s governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has made clear that he will be forced to default on a $440 million debt payment due May 1.”

Pittsburgh Anchor Fired After Inflammatory Posting

Wendy Bell

Wendy Bell

A Pittsburgh anchor who posted a racially inflammatory Facebook message after a shooting that left five black people dead has been fired, the station announced on Wednesday.

Wendy Bell, who is white, had been at WTAE-TV for 18 years and won 21 Emmy Awards.

On March 23, she posted a lengthy Facebook message that read, in part, “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. … They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. hey know the police. They’ve been arrested.”

According to the Associated Press, “Siblings Jerry Michael Shelton, 35, Brittany Powell, 27, and Chanetta Powell, 25, along with two cousins, Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26 were killed in the ambush shooting, police said. Chanetta Powell was nearly eight months pregnant.

“Wilkinsburg is a poor, largely blighted suburb east of Pittsburgh known for drug trafficking and gun violence, though the street where the shooting occurred was described by neighbors as generally quiet. . . .”

Scott Jones reported Wednesday for his FTV Live blog, “The station issued an on air apology and Bell hasn’t been seen on the air since, Bell took off with her family to a planned trip to Disney World, but the calls for her firing back in Pittsburgh got louder and louder.”

Maria Sciullo reported Wednesday for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “A statement made today from Hearst Television, the station’s parent company, reads ‘WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.’

“WTAE-TV president and general manager Charles Wolfertz III confirmed the news and declined comment. A spokesman for Hearst Television, declined further comment.

“Ms. Bell had been off the air since Mr. Wolfertz aired a public apology from the station last week, citing Ms. Bell’s ‘egregious lack of judgment’ in posting racial stereotypes on her official Facebook page.

“Since originally posting on Facebook, Ms. Bell edited the statement, and eventually removed it. It created an online stir, with parodies on sites such as and thousands of comments for and against the longtime newswoman on sites such as reddit. . . . ”

In a statement on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation did not call for Bell’s firing, saying instead, “The irresponsible statements demonstrate a persistent problem with how African-Americans are negatively stereotyped by too many journalists and news organizations. . . .”

“The Pittsburgh Black Media Federation invites WTAE’s newsroom managers to meet with PBMF to discuss how to prevent future mistakes of this nature. And PBMF encourages all local news organizations to cooperate with PBMF in its recently begun study of the number of African-American and other minority journalists working in this region and whether they are empowered to help ensure that news coverage is fair, balanced and as free as possible of the type of irresponsible content characterized by the referenced examples. . . .”

Neither did the creators of a Facebook page, “Demand WTAE Hold Wendy Bell Accountable,” urge a firing.

“As the name of the page states, the goal is accountability,” they wrote on Sunday. “WTAE should follow its social media policy, as any company would. That is the first step in accountability. The public acknowledgement by the station is another important step. WTAE stated they will continue to pursue an appropriate outcome and we acknowledge that takes time. Hopefully we will hear more from them in the future.

“For many people, accountability DOES mean the termination of her employment. However, accountability could also mean intensive diversity training to give Ms. Bell a true understanding of white privilege, implicit bias, colorblind rhetoric, and systemic racism. Perhaps then she could use her undeniably broad influence to help educate the public about these very issues. Certainly there are other forms of accountability as well.

“We hope that WTAE and Ms. Bell will work with PBMF to find accountability.”

Pittsburgh blogger Damon Young of also weighed in Wednesday: “When I wrote about WTAE-TV anchor Wendy Bell’s racially problematic Facebook post last week, I began by stating I did not intend for her to get fired. This was true then and is still true now. I wasn’t writing with that aim. And even now, after learning she was let go earlier today, I don’t feel particularly happy about it. . . .

“That said, I don’t feel bad for her either. She very much deserved to get fired. She earned this. Her post, the edits, the hysterical deleting of critical comments, her sorry, not-sorry apology — these were all symptoms of a sickness. . . .”

While there have been no arrests in the shooting, “Investigators believe they have identified the gunmen,” WPXI-TV reported March 18, citing District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

“No arrests have been made, and the names of the suspects have not been released, but Zappala said he is ‘cautiously optimistic that we have identified the people responsible for this.’ ”

. . . Station to Meet Periodically With Black Journalists

After meeting with WTAE-TV Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation said the station has agreed to meet with the group twice a year on diversity issues.

PBMF board members and WTAE management met Wednesday to discuss the station’s response to anchor Wendy Bell’s recent racially offensive post on her station-affiliated Facebook account, and to discuss other issues related to diversity,” the group said in a statement.

“Hours before Wednesday’s meeting, which was scheduled last week, WTAE already had released a statement that it had ended its relationship with Bell. PBMF did not call for Bell’s employment with WTAE to end.

“During the meeting, the station agreed to partner with PBMF on several diversity-related initiatives, including the following:

  • “Meet with PBMF twice a year to discuss and review the station’s coverage of African-American communities and other issues related to diversity and inclusion at the station.
  • “WTAE will participate in a media diversity summit that PBMF will host this summer for news organizations in the region.
  • “WTAE will partner with PBMF in working to recruit talented journalists of color for its newsroom. . . .”
Credit: Brilliant Corners

Credit: Brilliant Corners

Black Lives Matter Gains as African American Voice

BLM has come a long way in a short period of time as a representational voice for African Americans today,” the Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, headed by pollster Cornell Belcher, pollster for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, reported on Tuesday.

“Are we witnessing a generational passing of the baton?” The firm said that it polled 546 African Americans age 18 and older from Feb. 22 to March 17 and that the survey had a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

John Yearwood, world editor of the Miami Herald, tweeted this photo of himself with Patrick Talamantes, president and CEO of the McClatchy Co.

John Yearwood, world editor of the Miami Herald, right, tweeted this photo of himself with Patrick Talamantes, president and CEO of the McClatchy Co.

Yearwood Leaves Miami Herald After 13 Years

John Yearwood, who as world editor of the Miami Herald became increasingly active in international press freedom issues as executive board chair of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, ended 13 years at the Herald on Wednesday.

“I’ve voluntarily left the Miami Herald after a terrific 13-year run,” Yearwood said in an electronic response to those emailing him at the Herald.
Aminda “Mindy” Marqués  Gonzalez, Herald executive editor and vice president, messaged Journal-isms Thursday, “We have not named a replacement yet.”

Yearwood posted a photo of himself on his Twitter account Wednesday with Patrick Talamantes, president and CEO of the McClatchy Co., the Herald’s corporate parent.

“Great way to spend my last day with #McClatchy. Terrific meeting at HQ with @ptalamantes, president & CEO. #grtguy,” Yearwood wrote. McClatchy’s corporate headquarters are in Sacramento, Calif. Yearwood was in Silicon Valley for a conference of Rights Con Silicon Valley 2016, which calls itself “the world’s leading conference convened on the future of the internet.”

Yearwood, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has been the Herald’s world editor since 2003. He had been national/international editor and assistant city editor for government and politics at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and spent 10 years at the Dallas Morning News, where he reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

“I’m incredibly fortunate and blessed to have been able to do everything I wanted at the Herald — far more than I ever thought possible when I arrived 13 years ago,” Yearwood emailed Journal-isms on Thursday.

“It’s been a great run that includes coordinating the landmark Afro-Latin American series, coverage of the Great Quake in Haiti and dramatic changes in Cuba, rescuing a staffer detained in Venezuela and initiating Herald scholarships to honor its first African-American reporter. Along the way, I helped galvanize Miami after the quake to save Ayikodans, Haiti’s brilliant modern dance company, a cultural institution.

“I was honored on my last day to spend some time with Pat Talamantes, McClatchy’s president and CEO, in a great discussion of some of the issues confronting the company and industry.

“I plan to take the next month to complete some significant global travel commitments then decide with my family whether to accept a position in journalism or go in a different direction.

“Whatever I decide to do, however, I intend to continue my strong commitment to a free press and free expression. I’m incredibly proud of our work at the International Press Institute, where we just wrapped up our 65th World Congress in Doha, Qatar, and are considering meeting in the U.S. next year.”

“It’s been a great run that includes leading the landmark Afro-Latin American series, coverage of the Great Quake in Haiti and dramatic changes in Cuba, and initiating Herald scholarships to honor its first African-American reporter. Along the day, I helped galvanize Miami after the quake to save Ayikodans, Haiti’s brilliant modern dance company, a cultural institution.

According to Yearwood’s bio, “his department has won multiple awards under his leadership, including two McClatchy Company President’s Awards and the Arthur Ross Award for best coverage of Latin America.  . . .”

Yearwood has been treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists and a board member of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc.

In 2013, the French-American Foundation asked him whether his “foreign origins, and thus a personal connection to multiple cultures, enriched your ability to report on global issues and questions pertaining to immigration?”

Yearwood replied, “Absolutely. I could not do my job as effectively if I didn’t have a personal connection to the many cultures we cover. For example, I coordinated coverage of a breakthrough series several years ago about Afro-Latin Americans. Although it’s been four years, we still get requests to republish it or for me to speak about the series.

“In fact, the Library of Congress called last fall to ask if I would make a presentation to them about the series. A lesson plan was even developed from it for high school students. Our goal was to increase the visibility of Africans in Latin America.

“In the end, the series ended up being more complex that even I envisioned. It added tons of knowledge to what we knew about blacks in the Americas. It was a huge undertaking but, again, it’s something that we probably would not have done had I not had that regional cultural sensitivity.” [Added March 31]

$40 Million Suit Proceeds Against School, Ex-Prof

A federal judge Tuesday allowed a $40 million lawsuit to proceed against Northwestern University, a former journalism professor and a private detective who are accused of conspiring to frame a man with a double murder,” Frank Main reported for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Alstory Simon spent about 15 years behind bars for the slayings of Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green. But Simon’s conviction was reversed in 2014 after Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez conducted an investigation that concluded he was railroaded.

“Simon is now suing Northwestern as well as former journalism professor David Protess and private investigator Paul Ciolino.

“Protess and Ciolino allegedly fabricated evidence that led to Simon’s conviction and the release of Anthony Porter, who was originally convicted of the 1982 killings.

“Northwestern was aware that Protess and Ciolino were using unethical practices to conduct such wrongful conviction investigations, according to Simon’s lawsuit, filed last year.

“Simon’s conviction was hugely important — prompting then-Gov. George Ryan in 2000 to declare a moratorium on the death penalty, saying Illinois’ criminal justice system was broken. Capital punishment has since been abolished in Illinois.

As the Chicago Tribune wrote in 2010, “Protess and his student reporters have shifted the course of Illinois legal history.” Chicago magazine added in 2011, ” ‘Innocence projects,’ patterned on Protess’s own at Medill, sprang up across the country, filled with students and lawyers whose idealistic fervor was inspired by the Medill professor and what his class had accomplished. . . .”

Cary Spivak wrote a year ago for Columbia Journalism Review, “But Protess left Northwestern in 2011, after he was removed from the program by the administration. Investigations revealed how closely the program worked with defense lawyers — a relationship that prosecutors said cost the students protections provided to reporters by the Illinois shield law — and raised questions about the tactics used by Protess, his students, and a private investigator employed by the Innocence Project. A Northwestern investigation concluded that Protess had doctored an email before turning it over to investigators and also asserted he had lied to the university.”

He also wrote, “Even as the fallout continues, the renowned program has been remade under a different name, a different leader, and a whole different approach. . . ”

Corporations Nervous About GOP Convention

Some of the country’s best-known corporations are nervously grappling with what role they should play at the Republican National Convention, given the likely nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose divisive candidacy has alienated many women, African-Americans and Hispanics,” Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

“An array of activist groups is organizing a campaign to pressure the companies to refuse to sponsor the gathering, which many of the corporations have done for both the Republican and Democratic parties for decades.

“The pressure is emerging as some businesses and trade groups are already privately debating whether to scale back their participation, according to interviews with more than a dozen lobbyists, consultants and fund-raisers directly involved in the conversations.

“Apple, Google and Walmart are among the companies assessing their plans for the convention, which will be held in Cleveland from July 18 through July 21.

“In addition to Mr. Trump’s divisive politics, there is the possibility that protests, or even violence, will become a focus of attention at the convention. . . .”

Richburg, Ramsess, L.A. Times Turn a Page

Keith B. Richburg

Keith B. Richburg

The appointments of veteran journalist Keith B. Richburg to direct the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre and Akili-Casundria Ramsess as executive director of the National Press Photographers Association are among notable personnel changes of the last few days.

In addition, Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times, announced that the Times “is reimagining its books coverage with a panel of 10 distinguished and diverse writers who will expand the definition of the critic.”

Richburg’s “journalism career has spanned 40 years and four continents” and he “has lectured at some of the world’s most prestigious universities,” the University of Hong Kong announced Wednesday.

“As of 1 September, he will succeed Professor Yuen-Ying Chan, a noted educator, China expert and veteran journalist. Chan founded the JMSC in 1999 and has since built it into one of Asia’s premier journalism schools. . . .”

NPPA President Melissa Lyttle said of Ramsess, “She’s proven herself as a leader in the newsroom, a mentor to students through her work with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Visual Task Force, and has an understanding of the needs of both staffers and independent visual journalists.”

Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Akili-Casundria Ramsess (Credit: Melissa Lyttle)

The announcement also said, “Ramsess was the Features Photo Editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she spent eight years in a variety of roles at the San Jose Mercury News, including being their Deputy Director of Photography/Print. Then she served as a photography editor, multimedia producer, and the Director of Photography for the Orlando Sentinel from 2007 until the end of 2011.

“She started her own business in 2012, Eye of Ramsess Media, an independent photography and multimedia production company based in Atlanta. . . .”

In introducing the new critics at large at the Los Angeles Times, Books Editor Carolyn Kellogg wrote, “With these 10 writers, we will investigate our culture through the conversations that books anchor, in deep dives and in real time. We will explore the mysteries of reading and writing; consider the achievements, acknowledged and under-acknowledged, of the writers who have come before; question the roles of race, heritage, class and gender in what we read; take on the vagaries of the publishing industry, and more. . . .”

They are Marlon James, Laila Lalami, Susan Straight, Viet Thanh Nguyen, David Kipen, Alexander Chee, John Scalzi, Rigoberto González, Rebecca Carroll and Adriana Ramírez.

In other moves:

  • Anna Holmes is joining First Look Media in a senior editorial role, the company announced today,” Peter Sterne wrote Wednesday for Politico Media. “Holmes will create and run a new media property under the First Look umbrella that will focus on commissioning and curating visual work — including videos, photography and graphic storytelling — from independent creators. Holmes expects that the property will have a full-time staff of at least eight people, though most of its content will come from outside contributors. It is expected to launch in the fall. . . .”
  • CNN named Angela Rye as a CNN political commentator based in DC,” (scroll down) Lisa de Moraes reported Monday for Deadline Hollywood. “The former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus also served as senior advisor and counsel on the House Committee on Homeland Security for four years.”
  • Lee Thomas is among three anchors or reporters on their way out at WJBK-TV in Detroit, known as Fox2, Julie Hinds reported Wednesday for the Detroit Free Press. Thomas joined the station in 1997 after a stint with WABC-TV in New York. In a Facebook posting on Tuesday that drew a flurry of comments, longtime anchor Huel Perkins said the staff was “shocked, confused, and angry” that the three — Jason Carr, Murray Feldman and Thomas — are leaving the station, Hinds reported.
  • The National Association of Black Journalists announced Wednesday that Bamidele Idowu of Syracuse University is the recipient of the first Stuart Scott Internship. The internship is offered in memory of the longtime ESPN anchorwho died Jan. 4, 2015 after a long battle with cancer.
  • “Reporter Alan Wang no longer works at San Francisco ABC-owned station KGO,” Kevin Eck reported Wednesday for TVSpy. Wang worked at WSB in Atlanta before joining KGO in 2005.
Since Gloria, center right, was banned from returning to the United States six years ago, her husband, Arsenio, who is nearly twice her age, and the children visit her in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, every other weekend. (Credit: Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star)

Since Gloria de la Rosa , center, was banned from returning to the United States six years ago, her husband, Arsenio, who is nearly twice her age, and the children visit her in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, every other weekend. (Credit: Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star)

Story on Divided Family Wins Diversity Award

Perla Trevizo and Fernanda Echavarri of the Arizona Daily Star are the winners of the American Society of News Editors’ Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism, which celebrates journalism that overcomes ignorance, stereotypes, intolerance, racism or hate, ASNE announced on Tuesday.

“They will receive $2,500 for winning the award, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in memory of Dori J. Maynard, who was an ASNE board member and a strong advocate for news and newsroom diversity.”

The judges said, “The Arizona Daily Star’s compelling story of the de la Rosa family, divided by the U.S.-Mexico border, is moving, powerful and beautifully told. At a time when the discussion about immigration is reduced to sound bites, this work puts it into perspective. It is about family, growing up and growing old. It is about a mother’s love and her children stepping in to take her place.

“The chaptering of the story brings the family into perspective one by one, and with the accompanying podcasts, provides a rare human look at the issues and impact of our nation’s border issues. In the end, it is beautiful storytelling and a worthy recipient of an award named for Dori Maynard.”

The staff of The Baltimore Sun won the Breaking News Writing Award for coverage of the death of Freddie Gray and ensuing unrest. The Sun’s Gray coverage also won ASNE’s Community Service Photojournalism Award, “which rewards photography that captures the sense of a community with powerful and meaningful images and provides an understanding of the community.”

In addition, “Randy Essex of the Glenwood Springs (Colorado) Post Independent will receive $2,500 for winning the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership, which recognizes editorial writing that is excellent journalism and makes a difference in a community. The award is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News in memory of Burl Osborne, who died in 2012.”

The judges said, “In powerful and persuasive editorials, Randy Essex champions Latino immigrants, both legal and undocumented, in his own community and beyond.

“Decrying calls for the U.S. to deport undocumented immigrants or, in Colorado, to deprive them of basic services, such as driver’s licenses, Essex delineates their contributions, ‘making beds,’ ‘cooking food’ and ‘doing construction,’ and implores readers to value them and support a path to citizenship. He uses solid research and searing sentiment to reach readers’ minds and hearts.”

In another category, “Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of the Tampa Bay Times are the winners of the Frank A. Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting, which recognizes outstanding work done by a news organization that holds important local institutions accountable for their actions. They will receive $2,500 for winning the award, sponsored by The Seattle Times in honor of Frank A. Blethen, who has been The Times publisher and CEO since 1985.”

The judges said, “Journalists at the Tampa Bay Times exposed how public school leaders in Pinellas County, one of the state’s well-to-do districts, routinely failed black students. Whereas district leaders cited poverty and ‘just the way things are,’ Times journalist spent 18 months embedded with affected families, analyzed millions of rows of records and created comparisons versus other school districts that exposed how decisions by school administrators had created failed schools, a striking impeachment of the status quo.”

Eyerolls Greet Obama’s Advice to Journalists

President Barack Obama on Monday night delivered remarks on journalism that included some clear criticism directed at politicians like Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and a few barbs shot right at journalists,” Mark Joyella wrote Wednesday for TVNewser.

“ ‘A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone,’ [the] president said, suggesting billions of dollars in unearned media handed to Trump should come with a price tag: ‘serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep.’

“Not everyone appreciated the nudge to get tough on politicians, including Jack Shafer, who writes in Politico Magazine, ‘the deeper you study Obama’s relationship with the press, the more you want to ask what business he has giving out a press award. Was Trump himself busy that night?’

“Obama, Shafer argues, ‘holds infrequent news conferences, and he wastes reporters’ time by refraining from answering questions with any candor. He claims to helm “the most transparent administration in history,” while bending government policies and practices toward secrecy.’

“The Associated Press’ David Bauder rounded up other journalistic eyerolls:

Steve Capus, executive producer of the CBS Evening News and a former NBC News president, said Tuesday that he’s wary of politicians who become media critics. Lumping all of the media together is neither fair nor accurate, he said. . . .”

Anthony Kwan, a Hong Kong-based photojournalist, was arrested in August 2015 on charges of violating Thai law for possessing a bulletproof vest and helmet. (Courtesy of

Hok Chun Anthony Kwan, a Hong Kong-based photojournalist, was arrested in August 2015 on charges of violating Thai law for possessing a bulletproof vest and helmet. (third item) (Courtesy of

Short Takes


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