Some Fellow Journalists Sided With Angered Player

Women, People of Color Paid Less at N.Y. Times

Trump Campaign Blames ‘Glitches’ for Race Snafus

Jeff Johnson, ex-BET, Joins Hillary Clinton PAC

‘And There They Died’

Zimmerman’s Gun Auction Is Just Latest Outrage

Why Pollsters Don’t Break Out Asian Americans

Fox Cancels Animated ‘Bordertown’

Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity

Short Takes

 

Carlos Gómez surveys the scene after the Astros' 15-1 win over the Yankees on Aug 25, 2015.

Carlos Gomez surveys the scene after the Astros’ 15-1 win over the Yankees on Aug 25 last year. He said of a Houston Chronicle columnist, “That person knew exactly what he was writing, and he did it intentionally to ridicule me.” (Credit: Arturo Pardavila III/Flickr)

Some Fellow Journalists Sided With Angered Player

Houston Chronicle Editor Nancy Barnes told Journal-isms on Friday, “We sincerely apologize for any offense that was taken” when a Chronicle sports columnist quoted a Latino ballplayer speaking in broken English, angering the ballplayer and prompting other journalists to come to the player’s defense.

Barnes cited what she called “less than adequate” Associated Press guidelines on quoting news sources for whom English is not their first language.

In a May 4 column headlined, “Carlos Gomez knows he’s a disappointment to Astros fans,” [available via search engine]Brian T. Smith wrote of Gomez, ” ‘For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed,’ said Gomez as he roamed center field against the team with which he spent 2008-09. . . .”

On alldigitocracy.com, Britni de la Cretaz, who is white, wrote May 6, “Quoting Gomez in this way is incredibly offensive. It makes him sound unintelligent when, in reality, he’s experiencing a language barrier. In fact, Gomez even took to Twitter to tell Smith exactly that, suggesting, ‘next time you want an interview have Google translate on hand.’

“But this is what happens when you have a white journalist who is not attuned to the cultural issues affecting the person he is reporting on. And when you have a largely all-white staff, like the Houston Chronicle does, there’s possibly no one to catch the mistake (or, like in the case of SB Nation’s incredibly misguided piece on convicted rapist cop Daniel Holtzclaw, white editors who refused to listen to the Black woman who told them not to run the story). . . .”

Barnes told Journal-isms by email, “With regards to quoting Carlos Gomez: We sincerely apologize for any offense that was taken. Our writers are encouraged to adhere to AP style rules, which are quoted below. I reviewed the rules myself after this arose and found the guidelines on quotes to be less than adequate for a community like ours, full of immigrants from all over the world, and for whom English is often a second language. I’ve asked some top editors to review this policy, research best practices, and recommend guidance for all of our writers in the future. We always want to be respectful of those we are interviewing.”

The AP guidelines say, in part, “The same care that is used to ensure that quotes are accurate should also be used to ensure that quotes are not taken out of context.

“We do not alter quotations, even to correct grammatical errors or word usage. If a quotation is flawed because of grammar or lack of clarity, the writer must be able to paraphrase in a way that is completely true to the original quote. If a quote’s meaning is too murky to be paraphrased accurately, it should not be used. . . .”

An Associated Press spokeswoman provided guidelines that also say, “Do not use substandard spellings such as gonna or wanna in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to help a desired touch or to convey an emphasis by the speaker.”

Other news organizations likewise prohibit altering quotations but specifically address the issue of quotations that seem to ridicule.

Nancy Barnes

Nancy Barnes

Philip B. Corbett, associate editor for standards at the New York Times, told Journal-isms Friday by email, “The short answer is, we don’t ‘clean up’ quotes, a potentially risky and subjective practice that could leave readers uncertain as to what exactly was said. When someone’s grammar is nonstandard — for whatever reason — we often paraphrase, or use partial quotations. That way we can avoid seeming to ridicule or treat someone unfairly, while still preserving the integrity of any direct quotations.”

The Washington Post style book says, “Quotations of people whose speech is marked by dialect, incorrect grammar or profanity often present difficult choices.

“Giving the exact words of people who are poorly educated or who are not native speakers of English may be needlessly embarrassing to them. . . . When quoting people for whom English is not their first language, special care should be taken. If such quotations make the speaker look stupid or foolish, we should consider paraphrasing them (outside of quotation marks of course). When appropriate, a story should note that a source was struggling with English. . . .”

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, spoke in Spanish with ESPN Radio’s “Max y Marly” on Thursday, in an interview that became part of a podcast (audio).

Gomez told ESPN’s Max Bretos and Marly Rivera that he was demeaned by the quote used in the article.

That person knew exactly what he was writing, and he did it intentionally to ridicule me,” Gomez said. “… I do not wish for him to lose his job because he may be a father and have a family, but he should have given a better thought process before writing such comments. Because [he] not only [hurt] a Dominican, but every Latino who makes an effort [to learn] the language.”

Rivera told listeners that others in the Houston press corps volunteered to Gomez that they disapproved of the way Smith quoted him.

“Where is the editor . . .at the Houston Chronicle?” Rivera asked.

ESPN reported on its One Nacion blog, “The podcast producers tried to contact and get comment from the writer involved, Brian T. Smith, but he didn’t respond to requests to appear on the show.” Gomez said on the podcast that he would rather not use a translator.

“As a baseball player, I like to express myself the way I want to, not that I say something and an interpreter makes it prettier,” he said. “I would like it if a reporter sits and listens to me and then writes things — but in a professional way, not in a way to make fun of me like he did.”

The incident came a month after Jose de Jesus Ortiz, who is bilingual and covered major league baseball for most of the last two decades, left the Chronicle to become a sports columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In the 2015 edition of the annual newsroom diversity survey of the American Society of News Editors, the Chronicle reported 25.4 percent journalists of color [PDF], of whom 14 percent were Hispanic, 7.3 percent black and 4.1 percent Asian American.

A lack of bilingual reporters can be costly. In 2004, a language misunderstanding led to a libel suit against the Miami Herald that was settled out of court.

Jockey Jose Santos rode Funny Cide to victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He filed suit, accusing the Herald of printing an article that falsely accused Santos of carrying an unauthorized and illegal object in his hand during his Kentucky Derby ride.

The newspaper reported that Santos said he carried an object in his hand during the race and that he described it as a “cue” ring to alert an outrider to his presence. Derby racing stewards later concluded Santos was holding only his whip.

The jockey, who speaks English with a heavy accent, later said there was a misunderstanding: He was talking about his “Q-Ray” bracelet for arthritis.

“If we have a situation again where a Spanish-speaking jockey [talks to] a non-Spanish-speaking reporter, we’ll have a Spanish speaker conduct the interview,” the Herald’s then-executive editor, Tom Fiedler, said in hindsight, according to Miami New Times.

The New York Times 14th floor cafeteria. (Credit: Fred R. Conrad/New York Times)

The New York Times 14th-floor cafeteria. (Credit: Fred R. Conrad/New York Times)

Women, People of Color Paid Less at N.Y. Times

Union-represented minority employees at The New York Times earn 10 percent less than the average wage, and women earn about 7 percent less than what men in the union are paid, according to an analysis of wage data made public on Thursday by the New York NewsGuild,” the Guild reported on Thursday.

“The disparities persist regardless of whether the job is male- or female-dominated, whether it is a high-paid or a low-paid job, and the number of years at the company, according to the analysis, which was conducted by researchers at the Communications Workers of America, the Guild’s parent union, at the Guild’s request.

“In addition, women and people of color are more likely to hold low-paying jobs and are much less prevalent in high-paying positions. Minority workers are ‘vastly over-represented in the lowest paid jobs at the NYT,’ such as News Assistants and Help Desk Analysts, the CWA researchers concluded, but hard to find among Critics, Reporters or Sales Planners. . . .”

The Guild also wrote, “The Guild presented the findings to The Times on May 2 and had a brief follow-up meeting on May 5. Senior management said the company is taking the report seriously, but cautioned that more data is needed to understand the situation. Management said the study is incomplete because factors like education and previous experience were not taken into account. Management committed to conducting its own pay study of the Guild-represented workforce, but could not provide a timetable for it. . . .”

Eileen M. Murphy, senior vice president for communications at the Times, told Journal-isms by email, “We have received the Guild’s study and have agreed to analyse the assertions it makes. This is a detailed process that will take some time to complete.”

The Dow Jones unit of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America reported on March 8 that after 25 years, “there has been little progress” in the pay gap between men and women in its jurisdiction, with black or African American women ranking lowest and Hispanic women or Latinas next to lowest.

Dow Jones CEO William Lewis told employees on March 23, “Any pay disparity relating to an employee’s race or gender is troubling and inconsistent with the standards I strive to maintain at Dow Jones. We must, as a matter of urgency, address these issues head on.” He promised improvements.

On April 3, the presidents of the Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists,  National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and Unity: Journalists for Diversity urged “all news organizations to conduct their own inquiries about pay and ensure that hard working journalists are being paid fairly and equitably, regardless of color or gender.”

Peter Szekely, president of the New York guild, told Journal-isms by telephone that there is a “whole world of unrepresented journalists” where pay equity should be examined. Journalists at the New York Post and the Daily News newsrooms are not represented by the Guild, nor is most of “the whole world of digital journalism,” he said, mentioning such websites as Mashable, BuzzFeed and Yahoo.

Gawker, Vice and Huffington Post are unionized, he said, as was Al Jazeera America, which recently shut down.

Trump Campaign Blames ‘Glitches’ for Race Snafus

Every political campaign has its share of computer glitches and technical malfunctions, but for the Trump campaign, these sorts of bugs have a strange tendency to happen whenever white supremacists come up for discussion,” Josh Harkinson reported Wednesday for Mother Jones. “Just how often has this been the case? More than you might think.

“The ‘database error’

“After Mother Jones reported on Tuesday that the Trump campaign had selected white nationalist leader William Johnson for its slate of California delegates, the Trump campaign at first claimed the story was ‘totally false.’ But soon, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks gave a different explanation: ‘A database error led to the inclusion of a potential delegate that had been rejected and removed from the candidate’s list in February 2016,’ she said in a statement emailed to Mother Jones and other news organizations. Johnson then told Mother Jones that he would resign as a delegate.

“The ‘bad ear piece’

“In a Sunday morning interview in late February, Trump declined to disavow an endorsement for former [Ku] Klux Klan leader David Duke after being asked about it repeatedly by CNN’s Jake Tapper. He later claimed he couldn’t hear what Tapper was asking. ‘I was sitting in a house in Florida, with a bad ear piece,’ Trump told NBC’s Today show. ‘I could hardly hear what he was saying. I hear various groups. I don’t mind disavowing anyone. I disavowed Duke the day before at a major conference.’

“A source familiar with Trump’s three television interviews that Sunday morning told Mother Jones that NBC and Fox were in charge of the camera and satellite truck — a common pool sharing arrangement — and that the same equipment was used for all three interviews. So the notion that some particular earpiece was to blame is not accurate,’ the source said.

“The Photoshop glitch

“Last July, Trump tweeted a photo of himself looking stoic against a backdrop of an American flag and marching soldiers.

“The tweet seemed unremarkable, until close observers noted that the soldiers used in the image were in fact dressed as World War II-era Waffen-SS infantry. The Trump campaign deleted the tweet and told The Hill that an intern was at fault. . . .”

Jeff Johnson, ex-BET, Joins Hillary Clinton PAC

Jeff Johnson, a former BET host and producer, will control a portion of a $5.3 million advertising budget as a consultant for Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton for President,” Kellee Terrell reported Thursday for alldigitocracy.org.

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson

“Johnson, who is currently the President of his Baltimore firm JIJ Communications, will help lead the group’s strategy efforts with African-American media through the remainder of the election cycle. Priorities has committed to spend $5.3 million to reach African-Americans and Hispanics. Johnson will focus his efforts on the African-American market. . . .”

Terrell also wrote, “Over the years, he’s worked with the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, served as National Director for the Youth & College Division of the NAACP, and served an appointment by Russell Simmons as the Vice President of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN). He also led communications for the 2012 super PAC Black Men Vote. . . .”

” ‘Priorities is announcing that we’re laying down $5.3 million in African American & Hispanic radio reservations for the fall campaign in Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado & Virginia,’ Priorities said in a news release. ‘Our radio buy targeting two key components of Hillary Clinton’s constituency compliments our already announced $125 million in TV and digital ad reservations that include an African American and Hispanic focus.’ . . .”

On April 18, nine organizations representing African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans wrote political parties and candidates, “Placing ads throughout the campaign, in newspapers, websites, or broadcast stations that represent voters of color, demonstrates that the candidate ‘walks the walk’ of supporting minority entrepreneurship. This remains an issue of profound importance to voters of color and is a key issue on which all of the parties and candidates should agree. . . .” [PDF]

New Republic-gun victim memorials

‘And There They Died’

Their deaths are invisible, counted with makeshift memorials made out of cardboard, store-bought religious candles, and laminated photographs to survive the elements,” Stephanie Heimann wrote Monday in a photo essay for the New Republic.

“Photojournalist Andrew Lichtenstein has been roaming New York City neighborhoods for the last six months, documenting material evidence of gun-related homicides, attempting to photograph each within 48 hours of the murder. Left on the street, the memorials don’t last for long; some are picked over, and others fade away into the detritus of sidewalk life. . . .”

Zimmerman’s Gun Auction Just Latest Outrage

Warning: graphic language

Why doesn’t George Zimmerman auction off Trayvon Martin’s penis? Or a few of the dead teenager’s fingers?Jarvis DeBerry wrote Thursday for the NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune. “Instead of auctioning off the gun he used to kill the 17-year-old in Sanford, Fla., in 2012, why doesn’t Zimmerman go exhume Trayvon’s body and sell off pieces of his remains bit by gruesome bit?

“This is how the extra-judicial killings of black Americans were once celebrated. The killers’ blood lust wasn’t always satisfied by the sight of a man hanging or even by his screaming as he was burned alive. No, the killers and those who observed the barbaric acts often demanded a souvenir, something they could take home to remind them of the goosepimply fun that is lynching. . . .”

DeBerry also wrote, “And so it is with Trayvon Martin. And so it is with so many unarmed black people who have been shot down without benefit of arrest, criminal charges or a trial. The assumptions about them mirror the assumptions held by the people [Ida B.] Wells encountered: Unarmed black people getting shot down is not a problem because unarmed black people — to use the language of the officer who shot Michael Brown — can bulk up and run through the bullets fired at them.

“Zimmerman — and Zimmerman alone — tells us that Trayvon was a threat on Feb. 26, 2012. But Zimmerman specializes in actions that give us reason to question his character. Auctioning off the gun he used to kill Trayvon is just the latest outrage.

“Do you know when the phrase ‘black lives matter’ became a thing? July 13, 2013, the night a six-person Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman in Trayvon’s homicide.

Alicia Garza logged onto Facebook and expressed the sorrow and heartache so many people — especially black people — were feeling that day.

“Garza wrote that ‘the sad part is, there’s a section of America who is cheering and celebrating right now. and that makes me sick to my stomach … I continue to be surprised at how little Black lives matter. ‘ Garza signed off this way: ‘black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.’ . . .”

Why Pollsters Don’t Break Out Asian Americans

One question we’re often asked is, Why aren’t Asian Americans shown as a separate group when differences among whites, blacks and Hispanics are discussed?,” George Gao wrote Thursday for the Pew Research Center.

George Gao

George Gao

“It’s worth noting that Asians are indeed included in our U.S. surveys. While we often do not break out their standalone views, Asians’ responses are still incorporated into the general population figures that we report.

“Nonetheless, it’s a good question, and one we hear frequently, so we put together a summary of some of the methodological and other issues on accurately polling U.S. Asians.

“The most obvious hurdle is the relatively small number of Asians in the U.S. compared with other races and ethnicities. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, 5.4% of U.S. adults are Asian, compared with 11.7% who are black, 15.2% who are Hispanic and 65.1% who are white. . . .”

Gao also wrote, “U.S. Asians are more likely than whites and blacks, but not Hispanics, to lack proficiency in English. Just 62% of U.S. Asian adults speak English proficiently, while 38% speak English less than very well. By comparison, 38% of Hispanics, 3% of blacks and 2% of whites speak English less than very well, according to self-reported data among non-institutionalized adults in the 2014 American Community Survey.

“Because of Asians’ linguistic diversity, pollsters may need to translate their questionnaires into several other languages (such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Japanese and Vietnamese, among others) to obtain a sample representative of all Asians in the U.S. . . .

“Additionally, with a majority of Asian Americans being first-generation immigrants, there are some unique multicultural challenges for participation in surveys. . . . .”

“Bordertown,” an animated TV comedy series on Fox, features two families living in the fictional U.S. border town of Mexifornia. (Credit: Fox)

“Bordertown,” an animated TV comedy series on Fox, features two families living in the fictional U.S. border town of Mexifornia. (Credit: Fox)

Fox Cancels Animated ‘Bordertown’

“Yes, Bordertown has been canceled by Fox,” cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz wrote to Facebook friends on Thursday. “I’m happy to have made Hollywood history though, bringing to life the first Mexican family in animated primetime tv history.

“Also many doors have been opened for me in its wake. I’d like to thank everybody that watched religiously, and atheistically as well. KEEP WATCHING on HULU and the next 2 sunday nights, hope we are still on! Family Guy was canceled twice, so you never know…we might pop up somewhere else in the future. ‪#‎HolaBud‬ !”

Alcaraz was a consulting producer and writer for the animated show, which debuted in January.

Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers of Indiewire offered this critique on Friday: “Neither horrifyingly offensive nor surprisingly insightful, ‘Bordertown’ never fully capitalized on the edgy nature of its title, setting and cast of characters.

“It didn’t help that Mark Hentemann’s half-hour animated comedy just didn’t feel at home on Sunday nights, even following EP Seth MacFarlane’s major hit, ‘Family Guy.’ Fox has been messing around with its schedule there for a while, bouncing between Animation Domination and throwing in would-be breakout live-action entries like ‘Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (which has worked for the network, even if it’s been unable to hold up as a tentpole). Another shakeup is on the way, and we’re fine with it.”

Esther J.Cepeda of the Washington Post Writers Group praised the show after seeing a preview in December. “We loved it. Full of quick-hit sight gags, knowing asides and the ridiculous, ‘Bordertown’ is un-self-consciously funny — and not tone-deaf and offensive as some feared when the project was first announced. . . .”

Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity

The Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually grants a Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship — actually an award — “in recognition of an educator’s outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism.” The educator should be at the college level.

 Julian Rodriguez

Julian Rodriguez

    Nominations, now being accepted for the 2016 award, should consist of a statement about why you believe your nominee is deserving.

The final selection will be made by the AOJ Foundation board and announced later this year, when the presentation will be made.

Since 2000, the recipient has been awarded an honorarium of $1,000 to be used to “further work in progress or begin a new project.”

Past winners include James Hawkins, Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa, Howard University (1992); Ben Holman, University of Maryland (1996); Linda Jones, Roosevelt University, Chicago (1998); Ramon Chavez, University of Colorado, Boulder (1999); Erna Smith, San Francisco State (2000); Joseph Selden, Penn State University (2001); Cheryl Smith, Paul Quinn College (2002); Rose Richard, Marquette University (2003).

Also,  Leara D. Rhodes, University of Georgia (2004); Denny McAuliffe, University of Montana (2005); Pearl Stewart, Black College Wire (2006); Valerie White, Florida A&M University (2007); Phillip Dixon, Howard University (2008); Bruce DePyssler, North Carolina Central University (2009); Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University (2010); Yvonne Latty, New York University (2011); Michelle Johnson, Boston University (2012); Vanessa Shelton, University of Iowa (2013); William Drummond, University of California at Berkeley (2014); and Julian Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Arlington (2015) (video).

Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, AOJ Diversity Committee chair, richardprince (at) hotmail.com. The deadline is May 20. Please use that address only for AOJ matters.

Short Takes

 

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