Joy Reid’s Contract Expires at MSNBC

Updated: BET Site Traffic Dwarfs All Competitors

Gwen Ifill Honored at duPont-Columbia Awards

Bannon to Media: Keep Mouth Shut, ‘Just Listen’

Asian American Stand-Ins ‘Absolutely Fabulous’!

NAHJ’s Top Staffer Gives Voice to LGBT Latinos

Celebrity News, Award-Show Ties Pay Off

Strongman Gone, Gambian Journalists Come Home

Short Takes

Tamron Hall, left, and Al Roker, right, would leave the third hour of the "Today" show. (Credit: NBC)

Tamron Hall, left, and Al Roker, right, would leave the third hour of the “Today” show. (Credit: NBC)

Joy Reid’s Contract Expires at MSNBC

NBC intends to launch a new daytime show featuring former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, displacing black journalists Tamron Hall and Al Roker from the third hour of the “Today” show, according to reports Friday.

Hall’s contract expires in February. That the contract of fellow black journalist Joy Reid, host of the weekend “AM Joy” on MSNBC, expired Jan. 1 — though she continues to work — has prompted additional concern. While a source at the network said privately that Reid is valued, Betsy Rothstein reported the development in the Daily Caller Friday under the headline, “Chris Hayes May Soon Be The Blackest Face At MSNBC.

Joy Reid

Joy Reid

The Kelly show would begin in the fall. Roker and Hall would remain on “Today” from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the current scenario.

Lisa de Moraes wrote Friday for Deadline, “Hall’s contract is coming up and NBC News is in negotiations with her reps. According to [an informed] source, the media outlet hopes she re-ups, appearing on Today’s mothership 7-9 AM show, as she does now, while continuing to host her MSNBC show. Her reps say she wants to stay, our source reports — on the other hand, some news outlets are reporting she’s expected to leave when her contract is up, though that could fall into negotiation-via-press territory, in which case it would not be an industry first. . . .”

Natalie Stone wrote for People on Friday, “After learning about the NBC shakeup, viewers took to social media to express their disappointment about the upcoming change.

“Some viewers expressed their shock. ‘I live for @TamronHall every single weekday morning. Are they insane over at the @TODAYshow?’ one account holder tweeted.

“Others threatened to not watch the program moving forward. ‘I will not watch @TodayShow if @MegynKelly replaces @AlRoker & @TamronHall. I love Al & Tamron on the Today Show at 9am. They are the BEST,’ another Twitter user posted.

“And some showed their unwavering support for the anchor. ‘I love @tamronhall She’s a huge talent with a big [heart]. I will watch her wherever she goes,’ another account holder wrote.

“But despite reports that Hall would be leaving the network, the source says as of right now, she’s not going anywhere. Hall also anchors MSNBC Live, a daily news program airing at 11:00 a.m. on MSNBC.

“On Thursday, Roker and Hall both took to Twitter to celebrate the success of Today’s third hour. . . .”

Others were speaking anonymously through the news media. Carlos Greer wrote for the New York Post’s Page Six Friday, ” ‘Everyone has been left in the dark and no one knows why there’s such a disruption when shows are doing so well across the board,’ an insider told us. Another insider adds: ‘People are pissed. The third hour was beating every syndicated show across the board. They were in over their head and bit off more than they can chew when they hired Megyn.’ . . .”

Journal-isms reported this month that “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” ranked No. 1 in the key 25-54 demographic for the week of Dec. 26, when Hall anchored Tuesday through Thursday.

Brian Sternberg reported Friday for Variety, “The network intends to launch a new daytime show featuring Kelly, the former Fox News primetime anchor who rose to fame by using her experience as an attorney to grill her guests, by fall, according to a person familiar with the matter. Kelly is expected to join NBC News formally in May, this person said. She left Fox News Channel after wrapping a January 6 broadcast of her program there, ‘The Kelly File.’ . . .”

Sternberg also wrote, “The maneuver suggests NBC is hoping to use Kelly’s formidable presence to launch a new salvo in TV’s morning wars. . . .”

Three weeks ago, MSNBC announced that it was hiring Greta Van Susteren, who hosted “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” for 14 years on Fox News. “For the Record with Greta,” airs weeknights from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

Updated: BET Site Traffic Dwarfs All Competitors

Editor’s note: The percentages in the previous Journal-isms column comparing increases or decreases from 2015 to 2016 actually compared only December 2015 with December 2016. The correct full year-to-year percentage changes appear below. Figures for NBCBLK and loveBScott.com have been added.

bet.com homepage on Wednesday.

The bet.com home page on Wednesday.

Celebrity News, Award-Show Ties Pay Off

BET.com registered a 136 percent increase in average monthly unique visitors in 2016, according to the comScore, Inc., research company, making it the most visited website oriented toward African Americans. Its total was nearly twice that of its nearest competitor, Huffington Post Black Voices, but Black Voices also registered a 136 percent increase.

As in past years, comScore provided unique-visitor totals Wednesday for a list of websites supplied by Journal-isms. BET.com is perennially at or near the top of the list, but the increase in 2016 was dramatic.

BET spokesmen previously attributed bet.com’s success to its tie-ins with the cable network. Such crowd pleasers as the BET award shows “offer original content and celebrity-filled moments that engage our audience on our various digital platforms which helps increase traffic to the website,” spokesman Luis Defrank said in response to 2012 figures.

Jesse Williams was the talk of the nation in April after his speech at the BET Awards. (screen shot)

Jesse Williams was the talk of the nation in April after his speech at the BET Awards. (screen shot)

That was true again this year.

In June, BET’s second highest month of the year for unique visitors, the “BET Awards” featured a stirring speech on violence against African Americans by “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams as he accepted the Humanitarian Award. It was described by Shaun King, columnist for the Daily News in New York, as “the most woke awards speech in the history of awards speeches.”

Meanwhile, the site continued its winning formula of attention to celebrity news. Wednesday’s home page featured “The New Edition Story Part 1,” “Meet Nick Grant: The South’s New Lyrical Genius,” “We Spoke to Chrisette Michele,” “Exclusive Peek at the New Edition Story,” “Cashier Moving Fast AF Is All of Us at 4:59 p.m. on Friday,” “[Keke] Palmer Talks Legal Action Against Trey Songz” and “San Francisco Chronicle Gets Slammed for ‘Racist’ Oscars Story.”

In April, BET announced a redesign of its website. “Things will look different: a little cleaner, a little slicker, a little… hotter,” it said then. “It’s been a long time coming. We redesigned BET.com to look dope on whatever device you happen to be using. Not only that, it’ll be much easier to find and share the content you like.

“We didn’t stop there, though. We also redesigned our BET Now app, making it easier for you to watch your favorite shows whenever [wherever].”

BET.com’s 13,480,000 unique visitors total for 2016 was followed by 6,330,000 for Huffington Post Black Voices, 4,875,000 for The Root, 4,445,000 for Essence and 4,266,000 for Bossip.

Notable were drops for such tabloid-style sites as mediatakeout.com, which ranked No. 13; and worldstarhiphop.com, which features “oh-no-they-didn’t” videos, ranking No. 6. The previous year’s top choice, madamnoire.com, fell to No. 7.

Reality star Kim Kardashian West filed suit in October against mediatakeout.com and its founder, Fred Mwangaguhunga, alleging that she was libeled. Mwangaguhunga then acknowledged that the site’s reporting had gone too far.

Atlanta Black Star, a news site, ranked No. 10, and the Undefeated, ESPN’s rendering of the intersection of sports, race and culture, ranked No. 14, though it registered visitors starting only in May, when it launched.

“I am thrilled by the critical acclaim we’ve received since launching The Undefeated just eight months ago,” Editor-in-Chief Kevin Merida told Journal-isms by email. “We will continue to work on building our audience this year.”

Neil Nelson, a co-founder of Atlanta Black Star, said in an email, “Our growth rate is linked to a shift in business strategy plus better social media positioning.

“Last January, we bought back equity from several business partners which reduced the number of owners/managers to three people. As a result, we were able to focus on a narrower vision of providing the best social and political analysis in the Black news space.

“Additionally, we launched a new social media video strategy to win mind share in the AA community. As you can see from our Facebook page, our likes have gone from 130K last year to almost 600K. Several of our videos have gone viral with multiple millions of views, shares and comments.

“Atlanta Black Star is where college educated members of AA community go to find out what’s happening in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean on a daily basis. No other AA owned new platform provide consistent news and information about Africa, the Caribbean and Afro-Latinos.”

The 2016 list (not comprehensive):

1. bet.com, 13,480,000 average monthly unique visitors, up 136 percent from 2015.
2. Huffington Post Black Voices, 6,330,000, up 136 percent.
3. The Root, 4,875,000, down 18 percent.
4. essence.com, 4,445,000, up 49 percent.
5. bossip.com, 4,226,000, no percentage change.

6. worldstarhiphop.com, 4,058,000, down 15 percent.
7. madamenoire.com, 3,937,000, down 45 percent
8. loveBscott.com, 3,317,000
9. hellobeautiful.com, 3,005,000, down 8 percent.
10. atlantablackstar.com, 2,759,000, up 236 percent.

11. thegrio.com, 2,190,000, up 33 percent.
12. newsone.com, 1,418,000, down 20 percent.
13. mediatakeout.com, 1,299,000, down 41 percent.
14. theundefeated.com, 1,298,000 (launched in May)
15. blackamericaweb.com, 927,000, down 44 percent.

16. nbcblk.com, 880,000
17. ebony.com, 701,000, up 45 percent.
18. clutchmagonline.com, 443,000, down 43 percent (April figures unavailable)
19. blackenterprise.com, 410,000, up 4 percent.
20. theybf.com, 360,000, down 50 percent.

21. eurweb.com, 357,999, down 17 percent.
22. blackplanet.com, 250,000, down 18 percent.

The video portion of the tribute to Gwen Ifill starts at 1:45:07.

Gwen Ifill Honored at duPont-Columbia Awards

The late Gwen Ifill was honored with a tribute at the annual Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for broadcast journalism Thursday night in New York. Host Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” took note of the anti-media climate being fostered by the Trump administration.

“It is an honor to be here with you this evening. And to share the stage with colleagues who through their work remind us that journalism remains a high calling,” Holt said. “A noble profession. And an important pillar supporting the foundation of our democracy.

We are all aware of what is happening around us. The attacks on our legitimacy. The efforts to undermine our relevance. And I know I am expected to stay something profound. But here’s all I got: Do our jobs. Do our jobs. . . . ”

Veteran journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault spoke after the filmed tribute, saying Ifill’s spirit is saying “take the heat.”

Hunter-Gault summarized her remarks on Facebook Friday:

“Wonderful time last night at the 75th Annual DuPont Awards where Gwen Ifill was honored. I, myself, was honored to give remarks about her life, as a journalist and as a PK (Preachers Kid like me)… including her last words spoken three times before she became an Ancestor: I have no doubt…

“My own PK training told me she was saying that her God would take her where she needed to go. . And I used her words to say that her spirit was alive and sending a message to her journalism colleagues in these challenging times and that they should have no doubt about their role.

“And I borrowed John Lewis’s fave phrase ‘Get in the Way…’ and I went on to say: ‘Get in the way’ of falsehoods, false prophets & fake news & take the heat (and the tweets) and continue to do as Edward R. Murrow once defined a journalist role: teach, illuminate and inspire. And last night, I was inspired by my friend and Ancestor, Gwen Ifill. She lives!”

Ifill, co-host of the “PBS NewsHour,” died in November at 61 after months of living with uterine cancer.

 

Pro Publica designed this shirt after Steve Bannon's comments to the New York Times.

ProPublica designed this shirt after Stephen K. Bannon’s comments to the New York Times.

Bannon to Media: Keep Mouth Shut, ‘Just Listen’

Just days after President Trump spoke of a ‘running war’ with the media, his chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, ratcheted up the attacks, arguing that news organizations had been ‘humiliated’ by the election outcome and repeatedly describing the media as ‘the opposition party’ of the current administration,Michael M. Grynbaum reported Thursday for the New York Times.

“ ‘The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,’ Mr. Bannon said in an interview on Wednesday.

“ ‘I want you to quote this,’ Mr. Bannon added. ‘The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.’

“The scathing assessment — delivered by one of Mr. Trump’s most trusted and influential advisers, in the first days of his presidency — comes at a moment of high tension between the news media and the administration, with skirmishes over the size of Mr. Trump’s inaugural crowd and the president’s false claims that millions of illegal votes by undocumented immigrants swayed the popular vote against him. . . .”

"We’ve all seen the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair, gracing magazine stands since 1995," BuzzFeed wrote on Tuesday. "However, we haven’t seen a lot of Asian-American representation on these covers. So some BuzzFeed staff decided to come together and create one of the iconic covers themselves. . . ." (Credit: AsAmNews)

“We’ve all seen the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair, gracing magazine stands since 1995,” BuzzFeed wrote on Tuesday. “However, we haven’t seen a lot of Asian-American representation on these covers. So some BuzzFeed staff decided to come together and create one of the iconic covers themselves. . . .” (Credit: AsAmNews) Participants identified

Asian American Stand-Ins ‘Absolutely Fabulous’!

You know those iconic Vanity Fair covers this time of year?Ed Diokno wrote Thursday for AsAmNews. “Academy Awards time? The Hollywood covers usually feature a bunch of movie stars in full makeup, hair perfectly coiffed and dressed to the nines. They look fabulous and other worldly.

“The covers are folded over so that the beautiful people can be extended over two or three standard magazine pages.

“The Vanity Fair covers also set standards of beauty that are impossible to attain for the average Joe and Jane. And if you’re of Asian descent, the covers just remind you how Hollywood still doesn’t consider Asians Americans for leading roles. . . .”

Diokno also wrote, “Our [BuzzFeed] friends recently did a John Cho (remember last year when #StarringJohnCho went viral featured the actor in various movie posters of hit movies demonstrating that an Asian could easily have played all those roles).

“The irreverent band of 22 Asian American video producers at Buzzfeed put aside their usual street attire of hoodies and skinny jeans and dressed themselves up, got made up, and their hair styled to create their own version of the Vanity Fair photo shoot as a visual commentary of that mainstream magazine’s lack understanding what constitutes real diversity.

“They looked absolutely fabulous! . . .”

NAHJ’s Top Staffer Gives Voice to LGBT Latinos

The number 41 once terrorized out Mexican-American Alberto Mendoza,” executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Julie Compton reported Thursday for NBC Out.

Alberto Mendoza (Credit: Henry Perez)

Alberto Mendoza (Credit: Henry Perez)

“The number known throughout Mexico as a homophobic slur was a nickname given to him by bullies at his predominantly Latino high school in San Diego some 30 years ago, according to Mendoza. They taunted him with the number, even when Mendoza — then-student body vice president — stood up to give a speech during a student assembly. . . .”

Compton also wrote, “After he turned 41, Mendoza decided to reclaim the number as a voice for LGBTQ Latinos.

” ‘What I knew was missing for me and what I knew was missing for a lot of [LGBTQ Latinos] was the visibility of positive role models,’ Mendoza said.

“He said LGBTQ Latinos face a double dilemma: not only is the community often erased from mainstream Latino media, it also gets little attention from mainstream LGBTQ media. To create visibility, Mendoza started an online storytelling platform for the LGBTQ Latino community in 2013, which he named Honor41.

“The website features 41 first-person narratives from LGBTQ Latinos of different ages, nationalities and walks of life each year. The videos are helping those in the community realize they are not alone, according to Mendoza, who shoots and edits the interviews on his own. . . .”

Gambian journalists Sheriff Bojang Jr., left, and Abdoulie John arrive in Banjul for the first time in years. Bojang has been in exile since 2007 and John since 2013 — this is their fist time being home in years. (Credit: Ricci Shyrock/Voice of America)

“Gambian journalists Sheriff Bojang Jr., left, and Abdoulie John arrive in Banjul for the first time in years. Bojang has been in exile since 2007 and John since 2013 — this is their first time being home in years,” Voice of America reported. (Credit: Ricci Shryock/Voice of America)

Strongman Gone, Gambian Journalists Come Home

Countless Gambian journalists, activists and opposition members fled threats and intimidation during former-president Yahya Jammeh’s two decades in power,” according to an editor’s note accompanying a story Thursday by Ricci Shryock of the Voice of America. “Now, as Jammeh begins his life in exile, some of them are going home. VOA traveled from Dakar to Banjul with one of them.”

From Banjul, Gambia, Shryrock quoted journalist Sheriff Bojang Jr. ” ‘Now that I’m home, I don’t know,  I’m sad now. My mood is changing every minute. One minute I’m excited and the next minute I’m upset. I feel like a stranger in my own home. I think it will take time before it sinks in.’

“Bojang still does not know why he was detained at the airport that day in April 2007. He thinks it was because he had taken part in anti-Jammeh protests in London, where he was studying.

“He had flown home to visit his dying father. When the security agents released him, they took his Gambian identity papers. Bojang quickly went to his hometown before heading to Dakar. It was the last time he saw his father.

” ‘So in order to live happily out of the Gambia and not be distracted by any emotion or anything, I had to turn off the part of me that was missing home, that was longing to go home, and in so doing, I succeeded but my fear, too, and my dilemma is I don’t have connection, emotional attachment anymore.’ Bojang said.

“ ‘So when I go home, my first challenge will be to rebuild that emotional attachment, to be emotionally attached to the Gambia. This is very scary for me. It is giving me sleepless nights.’ . . .”

Short Takes

Andrea Parquet-Taylor

Andrea Parquet-Taylor

kenneth-walker-sept-9-15-george-tolbertiv (Credit: George Tolbert IV)

“Richard Prince’s Journal-isms has never been more necessary as the U.S. regresses further into the nether regions of white supremacy.”

Kenneth Walker, retired journalist for NPR, the Washington Star, ABC News and USA Today and a former Journalist of the Year of the National Association of Black Journalists. He now resides in South Africa and has appealed for a kidney donor.

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