and Aug. 15, 2016

Mob Relents, Sees Reporter Is Asian American

Aspiring Journalist Joins Chicago’s Gun Fatalities

Low Ratings Doom Wilmore’s ‘The Nightly Show’

Latinos Prefer Their News in English, Poll Finds

Soledad O’Brien Re-Launching Sunday Show

Trump Declined NABJ/NAHJ on Day Before Event

Snapchat Dismantles Feature After ‘Yellowface’ Flap

Paper Runs Wife’s, Girlfriend’s Dueling Paid Obits

Jack Gravely Dies, Diversity Director at NPR, FCC

Short Takes

Mob Relents, Sees Reporter Is Asian American

An Asian American intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was “thrown to the ground and was punched repeatedly by a group of people” as he reported on the city’s racial disturbances Saturday night, the intern told his social media followers. But Aaron Mak’s ethnicity worked to his advantage, Journal Sentinel Editor George Stanley told Journal-isms.

Mak, a Yale University student ending an internship at the newspaper, “saw a car go up in flames, and dove behind another car to hide from gunshots while reporting on this,” he said on Facebook. “I’m doing fine but please check out the article. . . .”

Mak’s report, in which he shared a byline with Jacob Carpenter and Ashley Luthern, was posted Sunday.

It began:

A standoff between police and an angry crowd turned violent Saturday night in the hours after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed an armed suspect during a foot chase on the city’s north side.

Aaron Mak, right (credit: Twitter)

Aaron Mak, right (Credit: Facebook)

“After an hours-long confrontation with officers, police reported at 10:15 p.m. that a gas station at N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St. was set on fire. Police said firefighters could not for a time get close to the blaze because of gunshots. . . .”

Stanley elaborated in an email to Journal-isms Sunday night:

“The crowd got ugly last night. Someone noticed our intern photographer, Calvin Mattheis, said something about his race (he is white) and encouraged the crowd to go after him. Several men ran toward Calvin, who raced away, dropping his camera.

“Aaron ran after Calvin, picking up his camera, and the chasers caught Aaron, tackled him and began to punch and kick him. Aaron rolled into a ball to protect himself. When the mob realized Aaron was Asian, they relented.

“Aaron was also an intern, working the last night of his internship.

“We haven’t seen anything like this in decades, if ever. The police were busy defending themselves, the firefighters and trying to maintain control. They couldn’t see all that was happening or protect journalists doing their jobs at the scene.

“We’ve sent highly experienced reporters and photographers in a group tonight and asked them to put their safety first.

“Many people in the neighborhood are working to diffuse tension and we hope this won’t happen again . . .”

A video showed some shouting, “They beating up every white person.”

Separately, WTMJ-TV reported Sunday about its own staff, “TODAY’S TMJ4 was initially forced to pull crews from the area due to safety reasons and threats of physical violence from some members of the crowd. . . .”

 Christie Green reported Sunday for WDJT-TV, “One of CBS 58’s two-person reporting crews was attacked while covering the BP Gas station fire.

“Cameras and our satellite backpacks that allow us to go live were stolen when a crowd of a dozen people physically attacked our team. One of them had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation, but was released early this morning. . . .”

Early Monday, A.J. Bayatpour, a reporter for WITI-TV, tweeted, “I apologize for cutting our broadcast. It got too dangerous. Shots fired about 15 feet from us and we were threatened multiple times.”

“It got way more intense. Was almost exclusively teens and 20 somethings. They threw rocks at police. Someone also tried to rob photographer.”

“Guy reached into photographer’s pockets, keys fell out but he retrieved them. Hearing more shots in the distance. #Milwaukee.”

Because the situation was so racially charged, Police Chief Edward Flynn announced Sunday that the Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot the suspect, Sylville Smith, is likewise black.

We are concerned for his safety, he has been staying with relatives out of town,” the Journal Sentinel quoted Flynn as saying.

James Causey, an African American columnist at the Journal Sentinel, wrote that the area of the unrest was ripe for a disturbance.

As a person who lives less than one mile from where the BP gas station was torched to the ground late Saturday, I can tell you that the neighborhood — once the place in Milwaukee for upwardly mobile, middle-class African Americans — has been balancing on the tipping point for years.

“The fatal police shooting of an armed black man around 3:30 p.m. Saturday may have provided the spark, but the neighborhood has been on high simmer, with the temperature rising each year since the Great Recession, as the longed-for recovery never arrives. . . .”

Mak, 22, flew back home to California Sunday and is preparing for his senior year at Yale.

Asked what he made of the Milwaukee experience, Mak messaged, “I’m still processing it — I feel like people there had legitimate concerns, it just got out of hand.”

Aspiring Journalist Joins Chicago’s Gun Fatalities

The 19-year-old son of a Chicago police officer returning home for a visit from St. John’s University in New York, where he was majoring in journalism, was shot and killed Sunday morning, Chicago and New York news organizations reported.

The shooting took place in the Wrightwood neighborhood on the Southwest Side just after midnight, according to police,” (accessible via search engine) Megan Crepeau, Rosemary Regina Sobol and Marion Renault reported Sunday for the Chicago Tribune.

“Neighbors in the 2900 block of West 82nd Street reported hearing several gunshots. Police arrived to find 19-year-old Arshell Dennis and another man, age 20, wounded by gunfire. . . .”

Dennis, known as “Trey” after his given name, Arshell Dennis III, was a South Side resident who loved hip-hop. According to a video posted last year on YouTube.com, Dennis felt strongly about the way young black men were treated by police and were seen by the rest of society. “I get pulled over three times a day,” he said. One officer told him, “You look like somebody who needs to be pulled over,” he said.

“If I could be anything, I’d probably want to be some kind of conscious rapper, I’m not going to lie,” Dennis said in the video. “Music influences the way people think.”

However, he added, “I decided to come to New York to become a journalist because, like I said earlier, I love writing. It’s something I’m very passionate about. It allows me to say things that normally people wouldn’t say. And New York, of course, it’s a hub for media, so of course that would be the place I’d come to . . .”

The Tribune reporters wrote, “As a high school student, Dennis belonged to a college preparatory program called Upward Bound, according to director Gerald Smith. Last summer, he came back to work for Upward Bound as an ambassador.” According to the note accompanying the video, he was also vice president of the St. John’s student chapter of the NAACP.

The Tribune reporters added, “Dennis’ death is being investigated as a case of mistaken identity, based on what detectives know about Dennis’ family, about that block and about the neighborhood,” according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Jordan Owen, Jacob Wittich and Jon Seidel reported, “Chicago Police are investigating whether an officer’s 19-year-old son was shot and killed over the weekend as part of a gang initiation.

“Some gangs were doing initiations in which members are instructed to go around and kill whoever they could, a police official said Monday. . . .”

Larry Wilmore on the debut episode of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” (Credit: Comedy Central)

Larry Wilmore on the debut episode of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” (Credit: Comedy Central)

Low Ratings Doom Wilmore’s ‘The Nightly Show’

It’s the end of the road for Larry Wilmore’s Comedy Central series The Nightly Show,” the Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday.

“The decision comes a year and a half after rolling out the half-hour late-night panel show as a forum for underrepresented points of view. The last episode is slated to run Thursday, with the Viacom-owned network planning to slot in Chris Hardwick’s game show @Midnight at 11:30 p.m. until a permanent replacement is found. In explaining the decision, Comedy Central president Kent Alterman says it came down to its inability to register with viewers.

“ ‘Unfortunately, it hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to,’ Alterman tells The Hollywood Reporter, ‘both in the linear channel and in terms of multi-platform outlets and with shareable content and on social platforms as well.’

The story added, “The timing — after two seasons or, as of Thursday, 259 episodes — is believed to have come down to contractual logistics. Comedy Central is said to have been faced with a looming decision to sign Wilmore and what insiders say amounted to be about 15 members of the Nightly Show’s on- and off-screen staff to new contracts. But with the series averaging a particularly grim night-of rating of 0.2 in the 18-49 demo, for instance, doing so was hard to justify. . . .”

John Koblin reported Monday for the New York Times, “Mr. Wilmore’s most visible role in the last year may have been his turn as host of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. But reviews for his act were decidedly mixed and the exposure did not result in a ratings bounce. . . .”

As Jordan Fabian reported then for the Hill, “The Comedy Central host ended his speech Saturday night with a seemingly heartfelt riff about the historical importance of [Barack] Obama being the first black president.” He ended by turning to President Obama, pounding his chest, and saying, “Yo, Barry, you did it my nigga!”

Soraya Nadia McDonald wrote for the Undefeated, “The show had its strong points, especially Wilmore’s opening monologue. Wilmore’s continued excoriation of comedian Bill Cosby, which quickly evolved into a segment called ‘We haven’t forgotten about you m—–f—–,’ was another. But the Nightly Show struggled to find a rhythm with its panel segment, which featured Wilmore, a guest, and two show contributors discussing a news topic of the day, Real Time with Bill Maher-style. Unfortunately the time constraints of Wilmore’s half-hour slot limited the discussion and resulted in facile conversations that only scratched the surface of a given issue. . . .”

(Credit: Fox News Latino)

(Credit: Fox News Latino)

Latinos Prefer Their News in English, Poll Finds

When companies or politicians seek to speak to Latino audiences, they head to Spanish-language television networks, Spanish-language radio or Spanish-language newspapers,” Rebekah Sager reported Monday for Fox News Latino.

“The theory has always been that the best way to tap into the fast-growing segment of the population, with its $1.3 trillion spending power and increasing political influence, was to do so in its native language.

“But a new poll by Fox News Latino turns that theory on its head.

“When asked in what language they prefer to get their news, 79 percent of registered Latino voters said they preferred their news in English.

“ ‘I’m not incredibly surprised. It reflects a demographic shift as second-, third- and even fourth-generation Latinos, who identify with their culture, but English is their dominant language,’ ” Jessica J. Gonzalez, executive vice president and general counsel of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, told Fox News Latino.

“The poll surveyed 803 registered Latino voters nationwide between Aug. 7 and 10. The poll, which has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, was conducted under the direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). . . .’

Soledad O’Brien Re-Launching Sunday Show

In Washington, Sundays aren’t so much for football as they are for that other contact sport: political talk shows — and the fall lineup will include a new entry, a weekly magazine-style show hosted by former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien and aired by Hearst TV,” Emily Heil reported Monday for the Washington Post.

“ ‘Matter of Fact With Soledad O’Brien,’ a re-launch of Hearst’s one-season-old Sunday show, marks O’Brien’s next chapter after the shuttering of Al Jazeera America, where she had been a special correspondent after leaving CNN in 2013. O’Brien’s production company, Starfish Media, also will be producing specials for Hearst.

“O’Brien insists in an interview that the new half-hour show, to be produced at the Newseum, won’t be just the typical formula of dueling talking heads spouting talking points. She wants to look beyond the go-to list of political analysts and surrogates (the ones who are ‘on bookers’ speed dial’) to find guests whose perspectives aren’t typically sought. . . .”

Trump Declined NABJ/NAHJ on Day Before Event

It took almost seven months for the N.A.A.C.P. to get a ‘no’ from the Trump campaign in response to an invitation to speak at the group’s annual convention in July,” Jonathan Martin and Yamiche Alcindor reported Monday for the New York Times, writing about Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s lack of outreach to African Americans.

“Five days before its start, a campaign official emailed to say that Mr. Trump had a scheduling conflict.

“In early May, a representative from the National Association of Black Journalists invited Mr. Trump to speak at a convention it was hosting with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. After several phone calls and a round of emails back and forth, the Trump campaign told the groups on the day before the convention began that he could not attend.

“Even among economic-oriented black groups that may have members open to the candidacy of a business executive, Mr. Trump has shown little interest.

“The National Urban League said it had invited Mr. Trump to speak three times. The first two times, it received no official answer. Most recently, the group extended an invitation for Mr. Trump to speak at its annual conference this month.” Omarosa Manigault, his director of African-American outreach, “said she had stressed to high-ranking Trump advisers that he should accept. He declined.

“ ‘We didn’t get any reason. We just got an email declaration,’ said Marc H. Morial, the National Urban League president.’ My view is that candidates who run for public office should work to appeal to every segment of the electorate.’ . . . ”

Snapchat Dismantles Feature After ‘Yellowface’ Flap

With its lens tool, Snapchat allows some 150 million daily users to alter reality and play with identity in ways that border on the absurd,” Katie Rogers reported Thursday for the New York Times.

“You can turn yourself into a pineapple, a dog or a character befitting a Roy Lichtenstein painting.

“The lenses are blunt, feature-warping tools that generate more than 30 million enhanced selfies a day. Any missteps quickly enter the public record.

“Snapchat lenses have drawn criticism in the past with accusations that the app was promoting blackface or encouraging whitened skin tones as an ideal of beauty.

“So when it pushed a lens to some users this week that gave them slanted eyes, distorted teeth and puffy cheeks, some critics called it a racist caricature of Asian people — ‘yellowface.’ And they wondered if these repeated controversies pointed to a larger problem that the company has with diversity.

“The news and the outrage went wide on Wednesday, with reports by The Verge and Motherboard, a day after Snapchat said it had dismantled the feature.

“The company offered an explanation: The lens was meant as homage to anime characters, not as a caricature of Asian people.

“But for observers who have experienced racism, the lens reminded them of hurtful stereotypes in action. Others roundly rejected the anime comparison. . . .”

The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey ran two death notices for Leroy “Blast” Bill Black." (Credit: Philly Voice)

The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey ran two death notices for Leroy “Blast” Bill Black.” (Credit: Philly Voice)

Paper Runs Wife’s, Girlfriend’s Dueling Paid Obits

I did not know Leroy “Blast” Bill Black in life, but 55 years old is too young for anyone to die, so I mourn and offer condolences for his family and loved ones,” Brian Hickey wrote Aug. 5 for Philly Voice.

“Mr. Black passed away on Tuesday, surrounded by family at home, succumbing to ‘cancer of the lungs due to fiberglass exposure.’ The late Egg Harbor Township, N.J., man’s funeral will be held Sunday in Atlantic City.

“That information was available in not one, but two obituaries that ran in today’s Press of Atlantic City that a longtime friend who identifies herself as an ‘avid obit reader and reformed reporter’ posted on Facebook on Friday morning.

Hickey also wrote, “In the first obit, his ‘loving wife, Bearetta Harrison Black’ gets top survivor billing. In the second, however, Bearetta is nowhere to be found, but ‘his long-tome (sic) girlfriend, Princess Hall’ appears in her place.

“A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because ‘the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.’ But he did not anticipate any problems because everybody knew it was happening. . . .”

Jack Gravely Dies, Diversity Director at NPR, FCC

Jack W. Gravely

Jack W. Gravely

Jack W. Gravely, who served two stints as head of the Virginia State Conference NAACP three decades apart, died Monday at a local hospital,” Michael Paul Williams reported Monday for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He was 72, according to legacynewspaper.com.

Rodney Thomas, a former lobbyist and legislative representative for the state NAACP, said Gravely died of cardiac arrest early Monday afternoon shortly before a scheduled procedure at VCU Medical Center,” Williams reported.

“Gravely — whose activism and civic mindedness also found expression as a local radio talk show host — served as executive secretary of the state office of the NAACP from November 1976 to January 1985. . . .”

“Rep. Robert C. ‘Bobby’ Scott, D-3rd, said he met Gravely, then head of the Virginia NAACP, while serving as branch president of the Newport News NAACP.

‘“I was able to see firsthand what a forceful voice he was on civil rights issues,’ Scott said.

“But others will remember Gravely as a staple of local Richmond talk radio, he said.

“ ‘He used his radio program to highlight and discuss at length issues that often went unnoticed or unreported by other media outlets,’ Scott said. . . .”

Short Takes

  • “A new Pew Research Center report finds that black social media users are much more likely than white social media users to see and share race-related content on social networking sites, while three case studies of 1 billion publicly available tweets examine how race and key hashtags are discussed on Twitter, revealing a spike in hashtag-related postings during recent encounters between blacks and police,” the center reported on Monday.
Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan

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