Washington Post Praised for Database on Shootings

‘Yes, I Am the First Myanmar to Win Pulitzer’

In this Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 photo, Thai and Burmese fishing boat workers sit behind bars inside a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. The imprisoned men were considered slaves who might run away. (Credit: Dita Alangkara/Associated Press)

In this Nov. 22, 2014, photo, Thai and Burmese fishing boat workers sit behind bars inside a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. The imprisoned men were considered slaves who might run away. (Credit: Dita Alangkara/Associated Press)

Washington Post Praised for Database on Shootings

An expose of slavery in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday.

The Washington Post won the Pulitzer for national reporting for its comprehensive study of fatal shootings by U.S. police officers, and Farah Stockman, who joined the New York Times just days ago as a national correspondent, won in the commentary category for a Globe opinion series examining race and education in Boston after busing.

Over the course of eighteen months, four journalists with The Associated Press tracked ships, located slaves and stalked refrigerated trucks to expose the abusive practices of the fishing industry in Southeast Asia,” the AP says in a web page devoted to the slavery series.

“The investigation has led to the release of more than 2,000 slaves, and the immediate reaction of major retailers and the Indonesian government. . . .”

The series was reported by the all-female team of Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan.

Esther Htusan with children of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the western part of the country. "The photo was taken in May 2013 when I started actually working on reporting in the issues of oppression and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims by the Buddhist majority," Htusan told Journal-isms.

Esther Htusan, apparently the first journalist from Myanmar, or Burma, to win a Pulitzer Prize, with children of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the western part of the country. “The photo was taken in May 2013 when I started actually working on reporting in the issues of oppression and discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims by the Buddhist majority,” Htusan told Journal-isms.

“Esther is the first person from Burma to ever win a Pulitzer Prize as far as I know,” Mendoza messaged Journal-isms. “She flies back home to Asia tonight.”

Of her own ethnic background, Mendoza said, “My grandparents are all Eastern European Jewish immigrants — my husband’s family is originally (many generations ago) from Mexico.”

The prize for national reporting went to the Post “for its revelatory initiative in creating and using a national database to illustrate how often and why the police shoot to kill and who the victims are most likely to be,” the Pulitzer board said.

The Post said in announcing its award, “The team of journalists launched an unprecedented investigation to tally every fatal shooting by an on-duty officer in 2015.

“Their findings revealed a number of patterns: most of those who died were white men armed with guns who were killed by police in threatening circumstances; a quarter of those killed were suicidal or had a history of mental illness; more than 50 of the officers involved had killed before; and while only 9 percent of people killed by police were not armed, unarmed black men were seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire.

“In the wake of the shooting death of a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., The Post’s stories defied conventional wisdom about police shootings while exposing an urgent need for reform. . . . .”

The Post identified the journalists who worked on coverage, led by David Fallis and Lori Montgomery, as, in alphabetical order, Keith Alexander, Jabin Botsford, Amy Brittain, Jahi Chikwendiu, Alice Crites, Kennedy Elliott, Marc Fisher, Derek Hawkins, Scott Higham, Jennifer Jenkins, Kimbriell Kelly, Kimberly KindyWhitney Leaming, Wesley Lowery, Ted Mellnik, Zoeann Murphy, John Muyskens, Jorge Ribas, Steven Rich, Sandhya Somashekhar and Julie Tate.

Paul Farhi wrote in the Post, “After covering several high-profile incidents involving the killings of civilians by police officers in 2014, Washington Post staff writer Wesley Lowery was surprised to discover that there were no official statistics about such fatalities. So Lowery pitched an idea to his editors: The newspaper, he suggested, should collect the information itself and analyze it for patterns in law enforcement. . . .”

Stockman, who wrote about her biracial black and white heritage while at the Globe, won in the commentary category “For extensively reported columns that probe the legacy of busing in Boston and its effect on education in the city with a clear eye on ongoing racial contradictions.”

She wrote for the Globe in December:

Was busing really that awful? And how could a policy of educational and racial equality — one of the most idealistic projects our government ever attempted — have turned out like this?

“I’ve spent much of this past year trying to answer those questions. I’ve listened to Bostonians recount their memories of 1974, the year a federal judge ordered that busing be used to desegregate Boston’s schools. I’ve looked into the lives of people who fought for it and against it. I’ve interviewed researchers from across the country about what school desegregation achieved, and where it failed. I’ve examined the racial makeup of Boston’s schools to see how they’re different today.

“One thing that struck me, over and over again, is just how alive this history is, not only in this city, but across the country. . . .”

In the local reporting category, Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of the Tampa Bay Times won “For exposing a local school board’s culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories, with tragic consequences for the community.”

When the series won the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism last month, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University wrote:

The Times reporting revealed that when Pinellas County School Board members ended integration in 2007, schools were left overwhelmingly poor and black. The board failed to provide the money and resources promised and did nothing to rectify the situation when black children started failing at an alarming rate, veteran teachers walked away from their jobs and middle-class families fled the area.

“Thousands of children are now suffering the consequences, attending elementary schools where state standardized test scores show that eight in 10 students fail reading and nine in 10 fail math. Violence is a part of daily life and a culture of fear has been institutionalized. For many students and their families, there is no way out. . . .”

‘Yes, I Am the First Myanmar to Win Pulitzer’

“Yes, I am the first Myanmar to win Pulitzer,” the Associated Press’ Esther Htusan messaged Journal-isms on Monday.

“But I am not Burmese. I am a Kachin Ethnic minority group from Northern Myanmar (near the Himalayas Mountains). I am from Kachin state.

“I was born and grew up there in the civil war which is on going still now. I moved to Yangon in 2008 as my parents thought that it would be safer for me to be away from my hometown. After attending English language classes and political science in Yangon, I started working as a fixer and translator for many foreign journalists since the Myanmar’s by-election in 2012. I started working for AP three years ago and started getting involved in the investigation from 2014.

“Reporting on the stories, many of the Burmese citizens happened to know a lot about what actually was going on with the Human trafficking in the border of Thailand.

“Many people didn’t know about what happened to people who were trafficked or disappeared. It really shocked the Burmese societies in Myanmar when they actually heard about slaves found in the island of Benjina which is very remote and lawless place. On the other hand, people were really happy with the result of slaves returning back home.”

N.Y. Times to Managers: Diversity or Else!

April 17, 2016
CEO Targets Recruitment, Hiring, Promotion

56% of Whites Want ‘Diverse Points of View’

Hill Named Senior News Director at Free Press

Johnny Green Becomes News Director at Boston’s WBZ-TV

Black J-Student Arrested Over Anti-Racism Graffiti

Houston Chronicle Laying Off 4 from La Voz

Photographer Marvels at Boko Haram Victims

Hometown Blogger, Twitter Give Debate to Louis

S.F. State Prof Publishes ‘Diversity Style Guide’

Short Takes

Mark Thompson (Credit: BBC)

Mark Thompson (Credit: BBC)

CEO Targets Recruitment, Hiring, Promotion

News industry leaders are forever proclaiming that diversity is an organizational priority,” Erik Wemple reported Friday for the Washington Post. “Such pronouncements usually come paired with apologies for having failed on this front in the past, along with vague plans to do better.

“New York Times Chief Executive Mark Thompson defied this tradition yesterday in a presentation before a gathering of managers on the business and news sides of the newspaper. He identified three areas toward which diversity efforts must be channeled: recruitment, hiring and promotion. Supervisors who fail to meet upper management’s requirements in recruiting and hiring minority candidates or who fail to seek out minority candidates for promotions face some stern consequences: They’ll be either encouraged to leave or be fired.

“That account comes from three sources familiar with the presentation. Eileen Murphy, a company spokeswoman, tells the Erik Wemple Blog via email: ‘While Mark did say that if an individual couldn’t agree with our mission, The Times might not be the right place for them, there was no directive quite as specific as your email suggests.’ More from Murphy: ‘Our mission around diversity was discussed … and there was a full dialogue around hiring, promotion, retention and career development as well as other programs to support diversity and inclusion.’

“An attendee notes: ‘[Thompson] started out by saying that the person would probably come to his own conclusion that this was not the right place for him or her and leave the paper. But if not, they would be told to leave.’

“Now for the requisite caveats about jurisdictional lines. As chief executive, Thompson doesn’t boss around the newsroom, despite concerns early in his tenure about possible incursions. Newsroom managers report upward to Dean Baquet and Arthur Sulzberger Jr. In his own presentation, Baquet made clear that it was his policy, too, to hold managers accountable on this front.

Lydia Polgreen

Lydia Polgreen

“Baquet, who is now completing his second year on the job, is the first African American executive editor of the New York Times. Among the central planks of his editorship is a improvement on the diversity front — a topic that he has addressed with considerable frequency, setting the tone for the organization. . . .”

In her final column as public editor, Margaret Sullivan listed “Articles that celebrate the excesses of the 1 percent” as one of the five things she would not miss at the Times.

“Like the recent real estate piece explaining that members of a certain class of homeowners feel they need something called a ‘four-pack’: a pied-à-terre in New York, a beach house in the Hamptons, a ski villa in Aspen and a winter condo in Miami,” Sullivan wrote Friday.

“These were especially disturbing on days when, after getting off the subway, I once again had seen a particular diminutive woman who seemed for a time to be living in a crate in the Times Square station – or any one of the New Yorkers who lack even one humble home. . . .”

Separately, “The New York Times Company will invest more than $50 million over the next three years to support an ambitious plan to expand its international digital audience and increase revenue outside the United States, the company said on Thursday,” Sydney Ember reported for the Times. “The Times has formed a new team, NYT Global, to lead the effort. . . .”

Lydia Polgreen, deputy international editor, will become an associate masthead editor and editorial director for NYT Global. . . .”

(Credit: Media Insight Project)

(Credit: Media Insight Project)

56% of Whites Want ‘Diverse Points of View’

African American and Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to say it is very important that they see their communities and people like them in the reporting,” according to a study by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.

Still, 56 percent of whites said “diverse points of view” were very important or extremely important in their news sources. The figure was 65 percent for African Americans and 61 percent for Hispanics.

“They are also more likely to put importance on sources that [share] their points of view, and on the news being presented in a way that is entertaining,” the report said.

“In addition, African American adults assign greater importance on the presentation of diverse points of view than do white adults.”

Overall, “Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions,” Carole Feldman and Emily Swanson reported Sunday for the Associated Press. “In this presidential campaign year, Democrats were more likely to trust the news media than Republicans or independents.

“But trust today also goes beyond the traditional journalistic principles of accuracy, balance and fairness.

“Faced with ever-increasing sources of information, Americans also are more likely to rely on news that is up-to-date, concise and cites expert sources or documents . . . .

“They want to be able to navigate the news app or website easily and quickly, without having to wade through intrusive or annoying ads.

” ‘The skill set that journalists have to master is bigger,’ said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. That’s because the expectations of news consumers have increased. . . .”

Hill Named Senior News Director at Free Press

James Hill

James Hill

The Detroit Free Press has named James Hill and Christopher Kirkpatrick as its newsroom’s senior news directors, Executive Editor Robert Huschka announced last week,” the Free Press reported on Saturday.

“Hill and Kirkpatrick join Consumer Experience Director Ashley Woods on the newsroom’s executive leadership team and on the Free Press masthead.

“. . . Hill, 47, most recently was the director of Politics and Public Accountability and now will oversee the Free Press’ metro news team and watchdog efforts. He also will continue to direct state and national political coverage. . . .”

Johnny Green

Johnny Green

Johnny Green Becomes News Director at Boston’s WBZ-TV

Johnny Green has been named News Director for CBS Boston’s WBZ-TV, effective immediately,” Brandon Smith reported Thursday for New England One.

Smith also wrote, “Green joined WBZ-TV as Assistant News Director in 2015. Before WBZ-TV, Green was an Executive Producer for nearly three years at NBC affiliate, WCAU-TV, in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that, Green spent three years as the Nightside and Special Projects Executive Producer at NBC affiliate, WPXI-TV in [Pittsburgh], PA. He was an Executive Producer at ABC affiliate, WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach, SC. Green also served as a Producer for WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC, WSOC-TV and WCNC-TV in Charlotte. He began his broadcast career at WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC.

“Green is a 1999 graduate of North Carolina Central University, where he earned a B.A. in history. . . .”

The suspect is accused of scrawling "White supremacy is a disease" and signing it "God." (Credit: University of Wisconsin Police Department)

The suspect is accused of scrawling “WHITE SUPREMACY IZ A DISEASE” and signing it “GOD.” (Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department)

Black J-Student Arrested Over Anti-Racism Graffiti

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student was arrested Thursday in connection with at least 11 incidents of graffiti protesting racism that appeared on campus buildings and structures over the past six months and caused in excess of $4,000 damage, according to UW-Madison Police,” Karen Herzog reported Thursday for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The campus police department identified the student as Denzel McDonald, an African American journalism student, and on Friday released body camera video and external surveillance video of the arrest.

Also that day, the campus chief of police “issued a formal apology Friday because an officer entered a classroom after a class had started Thursday, and asked a black student to step outside for questioning about 11 anti-white supremacy graffiti statements that popped up across campus in recent months,” Herzog reported Friday.

Herzog’s Thursday report continued, “The 21-year-old male student was arrested on 11 criminal counts for graffiti and one count of disorderly conduct for allegedly threatening a bystander who tried to intervene and stop him during one instance, according to police spokesman Marc Lovicott.

“The suspect allegedly told the bystander ‘he would kill them if they called police,’ Lovicott said in a news release.

“The suspect is accused of scrawling ‘White supremacy is a disease’ and signing it ‘God.’ The Memorial Library and Humanities Building were among the buildings defaced.

“The total cost to clean/repair the graffiti damage in all 11 cases was in excess of $4,000, Lovicott said.

“Campus police officers had been attempting to contact the suspect for the last two weeks for questioning — knocks on doors and phone calls went unanswered, Lovicott said in the release. . . .”

On his Web page, McDonald says, “I am on the strategic communications track for Journalism. Upon graduation I will be relocating to Houston, Texas or Miami, Florida with plans of starting my own record label.”

In an op-ed in the Journal Sentinel on Saturday, freelance writer Emily Mills cited racial incidents on campus and wrote, “Graffiti is a crime, yes, but it seems odd that it prompted swifter and harsher action from law enforcement than the incidents that put people’s actual safety and well-being in danger.

“Police spent six months tracking down and arresting a guy for addressing problems on campus that both they and administrative leaders have so far largely failed to address. They pulled him out of class to do it, even. It seems incredibly tone deaf. . . .”

Houston Chronicle Laying Off 4 from La Voz

Denying it’s shutting down Spanish-language publication La Voz, the Houston Chronicle today confirmed it ‘has decided to scale back the size of La Voz,’ effective May 1, Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for her Media Moves site.

“As a result, four people will lose their jobs. The Chronicle won’t release the names of those affected, but sources confirm Olivia Tallet and David Dorantes are among the casualties.

Germán Fernández Moores will remain on board to run the free publication, which will continue to be printed and delivered twice a week. . . .”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Lisa Gray, who runs Gray Matters, an online magazine for the Chronicle, said Tallet, Dorantes and Silvia Struthers are “Among the bilingual talent now available.”

Nancy Barnes, the Chronicle’s editor and vice president, did not respond to an inquiry from Journal-isms.

Mary John Ibrahim was working in a government hospital when Boko Haram overran the area and burned down the hospital. (Credit: Andy Spyra)

Mary John Ibrahim was working in a government hospital when Boko Haram overran the area and burned down the hospital. (Credit: Andy Spyra)

Photographer Marvels at Boko Haram Victims

Nearly two years have passed since the terror group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, unleashing a global outcry to bring them back,” Helena Cavendish de Moura reported Wednesday for CNN.

“But according to photojournalist Andy Spyra, ‘the Chibok girls (are) just the tip of the iceberg; what happened there is what happens on a nearly daily basis.’

“Spyra has been documenting the return of abducted women in Nigeria, their dangerous journeys and their difficult reintroduction to society. In July, he traveled to Yola, the capital of the northeastern state of Adamawa and the front lines of the government’s war against Boko Haram. There, he and reporter Wolfgang Bauer talked with women who had survived the brutality and torture of the Islamic militant group. . . .”

Cavendish de Moura also wrote, “Spyra wanted to immortalize their stories through what he knew how to do best. Photographing them this time, however, would be tricky for security reasons. He had to shield them from potential eavesdroppers and avoid attracting attention.

“With a piece of black cloth, a few rags and a little chair, Spyra created a makeshift studio at a church compound.

“There, one by one, dozens of women would sit in front of the camera and tell their personal stories of survival.

” ‘We heard stories of dead bodies and mass graves, the others in the forest of people who didn’t make it,’ Spyra said. “There were snakes and scorpions, rivers that you had to cross where thousands of women have died in their attempt to flee. These women are really strong and really tough, and how they did it, I don’t know.’

“Spyra said ‘in some cases, they escaped during bombardment of Boko Haram-held villages. Some of them scaled fences. Some of them had smart ideas about saying they were going to the market, and they just ran off.’

“The resulting photo series is an ode to the victims, their forgotten odysseys, their loss of childhood and the difficult road ahead. . . .”

Contentious though the Democratic presidential debate was on Thursday, it was the third least-watched of this cycle. (Credit: CNN)

Contentious though the Democratic presidential debate was on Thursday, it was the third least-watched of this cycle. (Credit: CNN)

Hometown Blogger, Twitter Give Debate to Louis

As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred in Brooklyn Thursday night during a debate ahead of New York’s April 19 primary, a winner clearly emerged on Twitter: Errol Louis,” Michael P. Ventura of New York’s dnainfo.com wrote.

“The NY1 host of “Inside City Hall” joined CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash to moderate the debate.

Errol Louis

Errol Louis

“It took nearly 45 minutes for him to get a question in, but the Twittersphere was clearly behind him: . . . ”

Louis asked Clinton whether she regretted her advocacy for the 1994 crime bill (“I’m sorry for the consequences that were unintended and that have had a very unfortunate impact on people’s lives,” she said), and asked both candidates about climate change and whether, if elected, each would withdraw President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. (Sanders said he would withdraw it.)

Chris Ariens reported for TV Newser that 5.6 million watched the debate, the third least-watched of this cycle.

Louis was spoofed on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in a skit titled “The Black Question.”

Keenan Thompson played a smooth-talking version of Louis.

S.F. State Prof Publishes ‘Diversity Style Guide’

As media outlets worldwide grapple with events and news stories about race, class, the LGBT community and other issues of diversity and inclusion, resources for writers about words and phrases related to demographic groups can be difficult to find,” Jonathan Morales wrote April 11 for San Francisco State University.

Rachele Kanigel, an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University and a former journalist, is hoping to change that. She has just published a new Diversity Style Guide, available publicly online. A print version, with chapters on covering different communities and issues, is also in production and will be published by Wiley in 2017 or 2018.

“The purpose of the guide? To provide reporters and other media professionals such as publicists and marketers with the tools they need to cover a complex, multicultural world in a way that is reflective of the people and events they are writing about.

” ‘There are a lot of terms that people don’t know how to use, don’t know are pejorative or don’t know what they actually mean,’ Kanigel said. ‘There are some existing resources, but they’re scattered around the web and many people don’t know where to find them. Bringing them all together in one place helps journalists and media writers write with accuracy and sensitivity.’ . . .”

Short Takes

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