Writer Gives Up After Hopes of Privacy Vanish

Media Too Skittish on Race

Women 3 Times Less Likely to Be Top Managers

Through ‘Layers of Oppression’ to a J-Degree

Dozen TV Hosts Fail to Challenge Trump Falsehoods

Daily News Admits Complicity in ‘Homo’ Coverage

Columnist Quotes Player’s Broken English

Supervisors Found Asleep at Youth Facility

Lisa Kim Bach of Las Vegas Review-Journal, 49, Dies

Short Takes

The landmarked brownstone in Brooklyn’s Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood. (Credit: Corcoran Group Real Estate)

The landmarked brownstone in Brooklyn’s Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood. (Credit: Corcoran Group Real Estate)

Writer Gives Up After Hopes of Privacy Vanish

Ta-Nehisi Coates has given up his dream of moving back to his old Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood, he wrote on Monday, after the celebrated writer’s purchase of a $2.1 million townhouse drew such media attention that he feared for his family’s safety should he move in.

You can’t really be a black writer in this country, take certain positions, and not think about your personal safety. That’s just the history,” Coates wrote on his Atlantic magazine blog.

“. . . No one keep secrets in Brooklyn,” Coates wrote. “A few weeks after we bought, another friend sent an item from a local blog gossiping about our possible purchase. We didn’t expect to live anonymously. We thought there might be some interest and we took some steps to dissuade that interest. Those steps failed.

“Last week, the New York Post, and several other publications, reported on the purchase. They ran pictures of the house. They named my wife. They photoshopped me in the kitchen. They talked to the seller’s broker. The seller’s broker told them when we’d be moving in. The seller’s broker speculated on our plans for renovation. They rummaged through my kid’s Instagram account. They published my home address. . . .

“Within a day of seeing these articles, my wife and I knew that we could never live in Prospect-Lefferts Garden, that we could never go back home. If anything happened to either of us, if anything happened to our son, we’d never forgive ourselves. Even the more likely, more benign, examples were disconcerting — fans showing up at your door (this happened once) or waiting for you on your stoop. Our old neighborhood was not as quiet as we thought. Nothing is quiet anymore — least of all us.”

Coates also wrote that he was “shocked” by the success of his best-selling “Between the World and Me” and that he wanted to return to the Prospect-Lefferts Garden neighborhood in part because “We imagined ourselves as aiding in the preservation of a black presence. But there were more personal reasons, too. We wanted to be closer to our friends in the neighborhood. And I wanted, in some tangible way, to reward my partner’s investment in me. I think that had a lot more to do with my insecurities than with her stated desires. We all carry our stories. . . .”

Corcoran real estate agent Keith Mack “said that while Coates is still living in Paris, ‘his wife is going to move in around June, and he’ll move in around August,’ “ Simone Wilson reported Thursday for Prospect Heights-Crown Heights-PLG Patch under the headline, “Ta-Nehisi Coates Just Bought Brooklyn’s Dopest Brownstone.”

Meanwhile, Coates, recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, often called a “genius grant,” accompanied President Obama to his commencement speech Saturday at Howard University. “Motorcade left WH for Howard Univ commencement @ 1006 Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates a Howard grad accompanying,” Eleanor Clift wrote in her pool report Saturday. “Also Valerie Jarrett. Secret Service spotted loading golf clubs so day likely just beginning.”

Obama said in his speech, ” You can write a book that wins the National Book Award, or you can write the new run of ‘Black Panther.’  Or, like one of your alumni, TaNehisi Coates, you can go ahead and just do both. . . .”

Media Too Skittish on Race

Too many in the media are afraid to call out the racial context of topics in the news, including the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the attraction of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, according to four African American Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism. Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, left; columnist Cynthia Tucker Haynes; Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. were on an April 1 panel on "The Future of Civil Rights and Social Justice Journalism" at the University of South Florida. It was sponsored by the Poynter Institute in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes. (video)

Too many in the media are afraid to call out the racial context of topics in the news, including the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the attraction of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, according to four African American Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism. Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, left; columnist Cynthia Tucker Haynes; Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson; and Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. were on a panel April 1 on “The Future of Civil Rights and Social Justice Journalism” at the University of South Florida. It was sponsored by the Poynter Institute in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes. video

Women 3 Times Less Likely to Be Top Managers

FIU’s Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center yesterday released the results of a study that found that women in communication professions are three times less likely than men in the same professions to hold a top management position,” Isabel Gamarra reported April 22 for Florida International University.

“The study, titled Kopenhaver Center Report: Are Communications Professionals Achieving their Potential?, which surveyed more than 1,000 communications professionals from across the United States, also revealed that women are more likely than men to feel they’ve been bypassed for a better, higher position because of their gender and/or because of their race or ethnicity and are three times more likely than men to have experienced a career interruption.

“ ‘Women and minorities continue to struggle to receive equal treatment and pay across the different communications disciplines’ said Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, director of the center and dean emeritus of the FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication. ‘As an industry we must analyze what is the root of this severe inequity and implement strategies to help bridge the gap.’

“This is one of the most comprehensive surveys of the industry, having queried communication professionals in six communication disciplines: newspaper, magazine, online/mobile journalism, broadcast, advertising and public relations. . . .”

 Shaheed Morris, left, with Michael Days on graduation day at South Dakota State University.

Shaheed Morris, left, with Michael Days on graduation day at South Dakota State University.

Through ‘Layers of Oppression’ to a J-Degree

Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, told his Facebook friends on Saturday, “Don’t think I have ever travelled this far to witness a graduation. But could not miss the opportunity to see Shaheed M. Morris cross that stage, diploma in hand. Congratulations!”

Kevin Shea told Morris’ story the same day for NJ.com:

TRENTON — When Shaheed Morris was a child growing up in Trenton, the word college was mentioned from time to time, but not as something to aspire to after high school,” it began.

“It was a code word family members used to explain someone who was in prison.

“Years later, Morris figured it out.

“It was one of many harsh revelations Morris would learn about his family growing up in the city.

“He overcame them, and other obstacles and odds, and embarked on a journey that ends and begins today when he graduates from college, the four-year kind.

“The 28-year-old is the first in his family to earn a degree.

“It’s a journey that started in the now-demolished Miller Homes housing project, where he lived as a child and traveled through Trenton’s East Ward, where he came of age surrounded by poverty and police action.

“For the past two years, the trip has been going through the wide-open prairie of South Dakota, where he studied journalism at South Dakota State University.

“Others have traveled similar, rough roads through the Trenton school system to college degrees and beyond, Morris acknowledges.

“Morris just wants others — especially young city kids — to see a living example of it, so he talks about his experiences as often as possible, often on social media.

” ‘The purpose of telling my full story uncensored is to inspire others,’ Morris said. ‘There are millions of people who are like me and have to fight their way through layers of oppression — a poor family, a high-crime environment.’ . . . ”

“If he could advise every pupil on how to do it, he says: “Find something you’re very passionate about and work hard to improve in that area. Your passion will stand out, and whatever it is, there will always be help for you.”

“For Morris, that help came in the form of several mentors over the years, which include city businessman Tracey Syphax, African American Chamber of Commerce President John Harmon, as well as Michael Days, a Trenton resident who is editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. . . .”

Shea also wrote, ” ‘A few days after my birth on April 12, 1988 at Mercer Medical Center my mother got dressed and walked out of the hospital leaving my care to the hospital staff. At the time of my birth my father was incarcerated,” Morris wrote about himself recently.

“His father died last year after ‘throwing his life away to drugs and alcohol.’ His memory of him is as a drunk and the two getting into fistfights when he was around.

“Because of his father’s addictions, Morris does not drink or smoke.

“His paternal grandmother Lucinda Dockery stepped in to raise him after his mother left the hospital so he would not be sent into the foster system.

“My mother used drugs and alcohol heavily during her pregnancy. As a result, I couldn’t move my neck for months. My grandmother, who doesn’t drive, used public transportation and took me to therapy every day for nearly a year,” he wrote.

” ‘My mother and I have had less than five actual conversations,’ Morris said. He does not know when he last saw her. ‘I believe she lives in Trenton, but I wouldn’t know how to contact her.’

“Morris’ two brothers have been in trouble with the law, he said. One was shot last year while breaking into a home in Trenton, which was written about by NJ Advance Media.

“All of it, he said, shaped and pushed him to seek a better future. . .”

Days messaged Journal-isms, “Shaheed is a young man with a great deal of potential. Despite his very humble beginnings, he has been lucky enough to have a village to guide him, nurture him, and uplift him. So many of us, including some of the most prominent people in Trenton, see it, recognize it. He also has more determination and drive that just about anyone you know. And he can network with the best of them. He knows more NABJ members than I do.

“I went to South Dakota to celebrate with him because I know how hard he’s worked, how he decided to take himself away from everything he knew to get a quality education at an affordable school.

“He’s like a son to me. So why wouldn’t I be there?”

Morris is seeking a job in journalism, he said in a message to Journal-isms.

Dozen TV Hosts Fail to Challenge Trump Falsehoods

At the Fact Checker, we have often said we do not write fact checks to change the behavior of politicians. Fact checks are intended to inform voters and explain complicated issues,” Glenn Kessler wrote Saturday for the Washington Post.

“Still, most politicians will drop a talking point if it gets labeled with Four Pinocchios by The Fact Checker or ‘Pants on Fire’ by PolitiFact. No one wants to be tagged as a liar or misinformed, and we have found most politicians are interested in getting the facts straight. So the claim might be uttered once or twice, but then it gets quietly dropped or altered.

“But the news media now faces the challenge of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.

“But, astonishingly, television hosts rarely challenge Trump when he makes a claim that already has been found to be false. For instance, Trump says he was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but research by BuzzFeed found that he did express support for an attack. He said the White House even sent a delegation to tell him to tone down his statements — and we found that also to be false.

“Yet at least a dozen television hosts in the past two months allowed Trump to make this claim and failed to challenge him. There is no excuse for this. TV hosts should have a list of Trump’s repeated misstatements so that if he repeats them, as he often does, he can be challenged on his claims. . . .”

 The Daily News says it was "was complicit in reflecting the demeaning and discriminatory attitudes that were so prevalent during the era." (Credit: Daily News)

The Daily News says it was “was complicit in reflecting the demeaning and discriminatory attitudes that were so prevalent during the era.” (Credit: Daily News, New York)

Daily News Admits Complicity in ‘Homo’ Coverage

The Stonewall Inn and its Greenwich Village surroundings, a birthplace of the gay-rights movement, are slated for designation as a national historic site by President Obama, the first gay-related locale in the national park system,” the Daily News in New York editorialized on Sunday. “The landmarking will make a powerful statement about America’s continuing fight for universal equality.

“The nation has come a long way in the almost half century since a police raid on the Christopher St. bar provoked an uprising by the tavern’s fed-up gay patrons — a revolt now viewed as a milestone in a journey that led last year to same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.

“Millions of people, businesses and institutions have traveled a long road away from social ostracism based on sexual orientation. The Daily News is among those who have evolved.

“You need only read The News’ Stonewall coverage to meet a newspaper that was complicit in reflecting the demeaning and discriminatory attitudes that were so prevalent during the era.

“Homosexual sex was illegal in every state but Illinois in the late 1960s. Stonewall was one of the few New York City establishments that welcomed openly gay and lesbian patrons. (It was also Mafia-owned.)

“In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the bar for alleged illicit alcohol sales. The next day’s News ran a 13-paragraph story that referred to ‘a reputed Greenwich Village homosexual hangout’ and told of a ‘two-hour melee . . . as customers and villagers swarmed over the plainclothes cops.’

“Given little significance, the story appeared on page 30 under the headline ‘3 Cops Hurt as Bar Raid Riles Crowd.’

“On July 6, the News offered a fuller rendition, this time under the headline ‘Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees are Stinging Mad.’

“Written as if gleefully introducing ‘normal’ readers to a freak show, the story exploited stereotypes and cartoonishly anti-gay caricatures for ridicule to be enjoyed by homophobes. . . . ”

As reported in this space three years ago, the News has yet to apologize for its coverage of ‘The Central Park Five,‘ five black and brown teenagers who were convicted and served prison terms in the savage 1989 rape of a jogger in Central Park, then had the convictions vacated in 2003 because no DNA on the victim matched any of the defendants. The News was among the media outlets characterizing the teenagers as a “Wolf Pack” and using other incendiary language.

Columnist Quotes Player’s Broken English

Sports writing has a white, male problem. I mean, water is wet and fire is hot, right? But it’s true: the world of sports journalism is overwhelmingly white. This would be problem enough just for sheer lack of diversity itself, but it becomes especially problematic when you consider the fact that the athletes playing the sports that journalists are writing about are predominantly people of color,” Britni de la Cretaz wrote Friday for alldigitocracy.org.

“Take, for example, Houston Chronicle Sports Columnist Brian T. Smith’s recent column about Houston Astros player Carlos Gomez. Pretend for a minute that the column is well-written or provides any sort of compelling analysis of the on-field performance problems Gomez has faced to start the season. Where it would still falter is in the way it talks about Gomez, particularly in the way it quotes him.

“Gomez, who is from the Dominican Republic, speaks Spanish as a first language. Smith chooses to quote him verbatim in broken English as saying, ‘For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.’

“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). . . .”

The Associated Press style book advises, “Never alter quotations even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage,” but also, “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.”

Nancy Barnes, the Chronicle’s editor and executive vice president of news, did not respond to a request for comment.

Supervisors Found Asleep at Youth Facility

The teenager in custody was suicidal, which meant staffers at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown were tasked with near-constant surveillance,” Kate Howard reported Wednesday for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, a new, nonprofit newsroom from 89.3 WFPL News and Louisville Public Media.

“Yet, for more than an hour, the observation check log lay untouched. It was 2:30 a.m. The staffer was asleep at the table in the control room.

“In this 2012 case, the state worker denied the nap, saying he was just distracted — even after a co-worker told him she saw him on the surveillance camera, asleep.

“This was the staffer’s third suspension within 13 months, his fifth overall, for inadequate supervision of the youths in his charge. In another case, his lack of supervision allowed a resident to injure himself. And he eventually resigned amid his sixth internal investigation.

“That type of misconduct isn’t rare in Kentucky’s juvenile justice facilities. Lack of supervision — such as leaving residents unattended, skipping bed checks and falsifying logs — is the most frequent complaint substantiated by the state’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s internal investigations bureau, a review of records since 2010 shows.

“Supervisory failures came under scrutiny earlier this year when 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen was found dead in her room at Lincoln Village. Investigators determined six staffers failed to do required bed checks and falsified logs, though officials said the employees’ mistakes didn’t contribute to the girl’s death. The coroner ruled Gynnya died in her sleep from a rare heart condition known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia. . . .”

  • Kate Howard, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting: 3rd Detention Center Staffer Fired In Gynnya McMillen Case (April 27)
Review-Journal staffers gather around editor Lisa Kim Bach's desk on Nov. 20, 2014. Bach is in foreground. (Credit: (Kevin Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Las Vegas Review-Journal staffers gather around editor Lisa Kim Bach’s desk on Nov. 20, 2014. Bach is in foreground. (Credit: (Kevin Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Lisa Kim Bach of Las Vegas Review-Journal, 49, Dies

Lisa Kim Bach, a longtime reporter and editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, died on April 20 at 49, Bethany Barnes reported April 20 for the Review-Journal.

She loved words and she knew how to use them: both to tell the story and to get it. Tenacious and trustworthy, the education reporter continued to get scoops even after she was promoted to assistant city editor in May 2008,” Barnes wrote.

“ ‘She was one of the brightest stars in the universe and one of the great joys of my life,’ friend Judy Costa said. ‘It was a true privilege to be her friend.

“She loved her family, her friends, journalism, literature, laughter and Harry Potter, although not necessarily in that order.’

“Costa was the Clark County School District’s testing director when she met Bach, then a reporter. Costa, who retired in 2003, said their professional relationship could have been adversarial, but Bach valued honesty and was never out to do anything except to provide an accurate picture of the educational accomplishments of district students.

“Sources, of which Bach had many, knew she cared deeply for her profession and wouldn’t abandon a story that needed to come to light.

“After all, Bach’s arrival in Las Vegas put corruption from Indiana on the front pages of the Review-Journal. As a reporter at . . . The News Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., she had learned of an investigation into whether a union treasurer had emptied the union’s bank account. Stephen Confer moved amid the scandal, taking a job as executive director of the Clark County Classroom Teachers Association.

“He didn’t count on Bach also landing in Las Vegas. She joined the Review-Journal’s ranks in 1997, and used her insight and inability to be spun to continue her pursuit of the story.

“Bach’s reporting drew criticism and a fair amount of fire at the time, but it ended predictably enough with Confer’s resignation, eventual indictment and, finally, a plea of guilty. . . .”

Short Takes

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