Voices of Journalists of Color Strangely Muted

ABC, Not Black Press, Gets First Trump Interview

Trump Has Whitest First Cabinet Since Reagan

Fox News Downplays Women’s Marches

New FCC Chief Urged to Help the Vulnerable

Twitter Rejoices as Fox News Releases Stacey Dash

141 Gannett Staffers to Be Laid Off in North Jersey

ESPN Cancels ‘The Sports Reporters’

7 Awarded Diversity Grants for Investigations

Nearly Half of Palestinian Field Journalists Abused

Short Takes

An all-white panel discussed President Donald J. Trump and the media on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday: Frank Sesno, former CNN White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief; Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post; Jeff Mason of Reuters, president of the White House Correspondents' Association; host Brian Stelter; Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief; Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director at NPR; and Martha Kumar, director of the White House transition project. (Credit: CNN)

An all-white panel discussed President Donald J. Trump and the media on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday. From left, Frank Sesno, former CNN White House correspondent and now director of the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University; Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post; Jeff Mason of Reuters, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association; host Brian Stelter; Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief; Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director at NPR; and Martha Kumar, director of the White House transition project. (Credit: CNN)

Voices of Journalists of Color Strangely Muted

After a weekend of unprecedented criticism of the newly inaugurated President Donald J. Trump and his new press secretary Sean Spicer for their equally unprecedented string of falsehoods and hectoring of the news media, Spicer told reporters on Monday that the White House’s intention is never to lie.

It was a conversation in which the voices of journalists of color were strangely muted, if not absent. CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” for example, brought on seven media observers Sunday to discuss the issue, and all were white.

A CNN spokeswoman did not respond to requests to explain the lack of diversity in the discussion, but journalists of color did not lack for opinions.

“We rely on the Press Secretary and they rely on us for truth and fact,” April D. Ryan, Washington correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a White House regular, told Journal-isms by email on Sunday. “We have been focused more so on access but we also fact checked. Now the search for truth may compete with access.”

Jeff Ballou, installed the previous week as the first African American male president of the National Press Club, issued this statement Sunday, “The National Press Club welcomes a healthy discussion and debate on the stories of the day. However, it’s absurd and unacceptable to insult and impugn the motives of credentialed journalists for accurate reporting.

“Additionally, the National Press Club is alarmed by reports that several media outlets who have regularly been credentialed to cover the White House and Congress were denied credentials related to the inauguration. We do not expect or anticipate the White House to like every story written about it. We do expect and anticipate that journalists will be free and able to cover this or any other administration.”

As press secretary Sean Spencer was berating the press corps at the White House on Saturday, documentarian June Cross, a Columbia Journalism School professor, carried a sign outside. (Courtesy June Cross)

As press secretary Sean Spicer berated the press at the White House on Saturday, documentarian June Cross, a Columbia Journalism School professor, was outside. (Courtesy June Cross)

[Mizell Stewart III, vice president of news operations for the USA Today Network and president of the American Society of News Editors, told Journal-isms by email Wednesday, “White House press secretaries have an obligation not to intentionally mislead the news media.

[“History is replete with examples of when press secretaries were not included in discussions or information withheld from them by higher levels in presidential administrations to preserve their ability to be an honest broker with the press.”]

Nolan D. McCaskill reported Monday for Politico, “Days after delivering a five-minute statement to the press in which he stated at least five demonstrably false so-called facts and took no questions, Spicer was challenged on what his role is as the White House press secretary at his first official briefing.

“ ‘Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium? And will you pledge never to knowingly say something that is not factual?’ ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Monday.

“ ‘It is. It’s an honor to do this, and yes, I believe that we have to be honest with the American people,’ Spicer told reporters. ‘I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out, but our intention is never to lie to you.’

“Trump and his top aides took heat over the weekend for false claims they made to the press corps about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration, which counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway described Sunday as ‘alternative facts.’ . . .”

Jim Rutenberg, media writer for the New York Times, was one of many applying that heat.

Disinformation was for dictatorships, banana republics and failed states,” Rutenberg wrote on Sunday.

“Yet there it was on Saturday, emanating from the lectern of the White House briefing room — the official microphone of the United States — as Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first appearance there to put forth easily debunked statistics that questioned the news media’s reporting on the size of the president’s inaugural audience (of all things).

“Mr. Spicer was picking up on the message from his boss, who made false claims about news coverage earlier that day as he declared a ‘running war’ with the news media during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency, whose most solemn duty is to feed vital and true information to presidents as they run actual wars.

“It was chilling when Mr. Trump’s assertion that reporters were ‘among the most dishonest people on earth’ became an applause line for the crowd gathered to hear him speak in front of the memorial to fallen agents at C.I.A. headquarters.

“Still more chilling was when the White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared on ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday to assert that Mr. Spicer’s falsehoods were simply ‘alternative facts.’

“Ms. Conway made no bones about what she thought of the news media’s ability to debunk those ‘alternative facts’ in a way Americans — especially Trump-loving Americans — would believe.

“ ‘You want to talk provable facts?’ she said to the moderator, Chuck Todd. ‘Look — you’ve got a 14 percent approval rating in the media, that you’ve earned. You want to push back on us?’ (She appeared to be referring to a Gallup poll figure related to Republicans’ views.) . . .”

The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan also weighed in. “Journalists shouldn’t rise to the bait and decide to treat Trump as an enemy,” she wrote Sunday. “Recalling at all times that their mission is truth-telling and holding public officials accountable, they should dig in, paying far more attention to actions than to sensational tweets or briefing-room lies — while still being willing to call out falsehoods clearly when they happen.”

David Muir's "wide-ranging one-on-one interview at the White House will air across ABC news shows. (Credit: ABC News)

David Muir’s “wide-ranging one-on-one interview at the White House” is to air across ABC news shows. (Credit: ABC News)

ABC, Not Black Press, Gets First Trump Interview

The black press might have been promised the first post-Inauguration interview with President Trump, but ABC News announced Monday that that distinction will go to its lead anchor.

President Donald Trump will do first interview with ‘World News Tonight’ Anchor David Muir since taking the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States,” ABC said. “ ‘President Trump: The First Interview’ will air during a one-hour primetime special on Wednesday, January 25 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

“The wide-ranging one-on-one interview at the White House will air across ABC News, including on ‘World News Tonight with David Muir,’ ‘Nightline,’ ABCNews.com, ABC News Radio and ABC NewsOne on Wednesday, and ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday.”

Ben Chavis

Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

Hazel Trice Edney reported on Jan. 10 for the Trice Edney Wire that Trump aide Omarosa Manigault had promised the first interview to Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. , president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, “according to sources who attended a private meeting with the Trump transition team last week.”

Referring to the National Association of Black Journalists, which participated in the closed-door meeting along with other black organizations, Edney wrote, ” ‘When NABJ said we need to make sure that somebody Black interviews the President first, [Omarosa] said, “Oh no. Ben Chavis and I have already spoken and he’s going to be the first interview,” ‘ recounted veteran civil rights leader Barbara Arnwine, president/CEO of the Transformative Justice Coalition, in an interview this week.

“Arnwine said Chavis then ‘acknowledged that that was correct — that they had already been in touch with him about it.’ ” . . .”

The story was transmitted to black newspapers around the country.

Trump Has Whitest First Cabinet Since Reagan

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to have a smaller percentage of women and nonwhites than the first cabinets of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush,” Jasmine C. Lee reported Monday for the New York Times.

“If Mr. Trump’s nominees are confirmed, women and nonwhites will hold five of 22 cabinet or cabinet-level positions. He has not yet named the nominee for one additional position.

“ ‘Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet,’ said Paul Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. . . .”

Unexpectedly large crowds of women and human rights activists took to the streets of Washington; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; and such smaller towns as Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, President Trump’s first full day in office. (Credit: Alexa Ard/McClatchy)

Fox News Downplays Women’s Marches

The three main cable news networks may have been equal in their wall-to-wall coverage of Friday’s inauguration and its festivities, but during Saturday’s coverage of the Women’s March on Washington, the historical divide between Fox News and its compatriots had been firmly reinstated,” Mary McNamara reported Saturday for the Los Angeles Times.

Separately, Paul Farhi wrote Sunday in the Washington Post, “From its inception, it was a ­social-media phenomenon, not a mainstream-media one.

“The organizers of the many women’s marches that filled the streets of cities across the world on Saturday got the word out about their projects primarily via Facebook. From there, news spread from one feed to another, and from one mouth to another, feeding a vast river of humanity.

“By contrast, mainstream news outlets — focused primarily on the inauguration of a president, against whom many of the marchers were protesting — gave the run-up to the event relatively scant coverage. . . .”

McNamara continued, “CNN, MSNBC and Fox News were all dinged by many viewers for choosing to open their Saturday morning coverage with footage of newly minted President Trump at the National Prayer Service rather than the estimated 500,000 marchers.

“But whereas by midmorning CNN and MSNBC had turned their multi-screened attention to the throngs of protesters, Fox, which had drawn a tweet of praise from the president for its coverage of the inauguration, continued to do just that.

“Showing shots of the White House, Fox recapped the previous day’s events, discussed the swearing-in of the secretary of Defense and reported on the Trump family’s bowling in their new Pennsylvania Avenue home.

“As the day wore on and millions marched and rallied around the country, commentators at MSNBC and CNN repeatedly expressed surprise at the number of people involved and invited a wide range of conversation about what such an event could mean for the country.

“For hours, cameras swooped from on high to capture the sprawling crowds in Washington and other cities while coverage of high-profile speakers including Gloria Steinem, Michael Moore and Sen. Elizabeth Warren was interspersed with conversations about issues of inclusion — the march’s stated platform in favor of abortion rights left many women feeling uninvited — the apathy of voters in the recent election, and whether it was fair to demonstrate against a president who had just taken office.

“Not so much on Fox. . . .”

New FCC Chief Urged to Help the Vulnerable

The National Hispanic Media Coalition reacted to President Trump’s appointment Monday of Republican Ajit Pai as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by noting that Pai’s views “have often diverged from those of NHMC and other groups representing the voices of communities of color and vulnerable populations on a number of key telecommunications issues. . . .”

Pai, 44, the son of immigrants from India, grew up in Kansas. He was named to a Republican slot on the commission in 2012 by then-president Barack Obama.

Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs for the NHMC, listed his issues of concern as “the importance of preserving the open internet, support for critical programs striving for universal access to broadband like Lifeline and E-Rate, the impact of increasing consolidation on the media and telecommunications industries, and the ongoing fight for prison phone justice.

“NHMC urges Chairman Pai to begin his new term with a commitment to achieving the fundamental goals of the FCC: increasing diversity, enforcing rules that protect consumers, striving for truly universal service, and fostering real competition.”

Harold Furchtgott-Roth, an FCC commissioner from 1997 to 2001, wrote for Forbes, “It is impossible to predict exactly where Chairman Pai will go with specific future policies such as network neutrality, particular mergers, and the aftermath of the disappointing and flawed broadcaster spectrum auction. But it is easy to describe broad themes of a Chairman Pai: follow the law, less regulation, and a folksy approach to government. . . .”

Twitter Rejoices as Fox News Releases Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash

On Sunday, news broke that Stacey Dash would no longer be a contributor at Fox News, and Twitter rejoiced,” Beatrice Verhoeven reported Sunday for thewrap.com.

” ‘Stacey Dash got the boot right after the inauguration. Good job Fox,’ tweeted one user.

” ‘Stacey Dash had a job? I wasn’t aware that she was working, tweeted another.

Fox News also declined to renew contributor contracts for longtime political commentator George Will, 75; Republican strategist Ed Rollins, 73; veteran journalist Marvin Kalb, 86, and syndicated columnist and radio commentator Cal Thomas, 74, according to a network spokesperson, Joe Concha reported Saturday for the Hill.

Verhoeven also wrote, “Given Dash’s past stirring up ire with her comments criticizing transgender rights, hip hop artists and the ban of immigration of Middle Easterners, most reactions include hilarious memes and gifs to celebrate

George Will

George Will

that she would no longer work at Fox News. . . .”

Erik Wemple wrote Monday for the Washington Post, “As far as Will’s TV relationships go, this was a short one. When he leaped to Fox News in 2013, he ended a three-decade-long affiliation with ABC News. At Fox News, Will was mainly deployed as a Washington commentator on Chris Wallace’s Sunday show as well as on Bret Baier’s ‘Special Report’ on weekday nights.

“Though Will says he appreciated and valued that work, ‘some folks in New York thought otherwise and it’s their toy.’ Will was a recruit of Michael Clemente, a hard-news executive at the network who left last year. . . .”

141 Gannett Staffers to Be Laid Off in North Jersey

The Record and its siblings were sold in July.

The Record and its siblings were sold in July.

By week’s end, 141 employees are to receive notices required by New Jersey and federal law when significant layoffs are planned by private employers,” the Gannett-owned North Jersey Media Group announced on Monday.

Christina Joseph Robinson, an assignment editor, 14-year veteran at the Record and the highest-ranking African American in the newsroom, confirmed Tuesday that March 25 would be her last day.

Christina Joseph Robinson

Christina Joseph Robinson

She said she was not sure she wanted to stay in the news business. “It’s important to have diversity on the landscape, especially because of world events,” Robinson told Journal-isms. “I think I have a voice to lend, I just don’t know where that is.”

The company also said, “The reorganization will result in job losses across the operation. Despite that, North Jersey Media Group — the publisher of The Record, the Herald News of Passaic County, NorthJersey.com, a Community News Group with about 30 weekly newspapers and the (201) magazine group — remains committed to meeting the needs of readers, advertisers and communities across North Jersey.”

It cast the developments as “a restructuring in several of its departments, the latest step in a major strategic reorganization that was unveiled in September.

“The aim of that reorganization is to continue to meet the growing digital demands of readers and advertisers while responding to changes in the publishing industry. . . .”

Gannett bought the North Jersey Media Group in July from the Borg family, which said it was leaving the business after 86 years.

After the purchase, the company announced about half of the 426 employees working in sales and news could be let go in November,” Anthony G. Attrino of NJ Advance Media wrote Monday for NJ.com. “About 130 jobs were eliminated, leaving an editorial staff of just under 200 at North Jersey Media Group . . .”  [Updated Jan. 24]

ESPN Cancels ‘The Sports Reporters’

ESPN is canceling The Sports Reporters, SI.com has learned. The show is expected to end in May, just shy of 30 years on the air,” Richard Deitsch reported Monday for Sports Illustrated.

“ESPN, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

“The long-running sports talk show began in 1988 and was a forerunner of the flood of shows that run in most major cities featuring members of the media debating, discussing and bloviating the news and issues of the week. What set the show apart — outside of many egoists that floated as panelists — was two hosts that gave the show gravitas: Dick Schaap, who hosted from 1989 to 2001; and John Saunders, who hosted from 2001 until his death in 2016.

“ESPN will replace The Sports Reporters with an hour-long version of E:60, its long-running sports journalism magazine show. Outside The Lines is also expected to have a role in that show.

“No panelist appeared on the show more than Mike Lupica, who is serving as the current host. Other sports media members who often took up residency included Mitch Albom, Bob Ryan, William C. Rhoden, the late Bryan Burwell, John Feinstein, and Bill Conlin, the disgraced Philadelphia columnist sports columnist who was accused of molesting children as far back as the 1970s prior to his death in 2014. . . .”

Credit: Huffington Post

Credit: Huffington Post

7 Awarded Diversity Grants for Investigations

Seven journalists have been selected for a Ford Foundation-funded journalism initiative that has “the express goal of increasing diverse and inclusive voices and topics in investigative journalism,” the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University announced Monday.

“Five journalists will be awarded grants and fellowships for social justice investigative reporting projects, and two early-career journalists selected as ‘Rising Stars’ will receive editorial mentorships in addition to grants and fellowships to support their projects,” an announcement said.

Lisa Armstrong, Michele Chabin, Lottie Joiner, Jaeah Lee and Linda Matchan were selected as FIJ Schuster Institute Social Justice Investigative Reporting Fellows and will receive grants and fellowships to conduct their investigative reporting.

“The two selected as Investigative Journalism Rising Stars are Sonia Paul and Stacy Thacker.

“The diversity fellows will investigate critical contemporary issues such as women’s legal rights, the criminal justice system’s treatment of juveniles, human rights issues involving prisoners, tribal government policies affecting current and future generations, and more. . . .”

Nearly Half of Palestinian Field Journalists Abused

Almost half of all Palestinian field reporters, photographers and camera crews have been shot at, beaten, detained or banned from covering news, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) revealed in a new report,” the International Federation of Journalists reported on Friday.

“The PJS annual press freedom report, published on 17 January, recorded more than 600 attacks and violations of Palestinian journalists´ rights during 2016. The vast majority of these attacks (557) were committed by the Israeli army and security forces. Dozens of other attacks against journalists were committed by the security forces of Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza Strip, and the security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.

“The PJS said in the report, which it launched at its offices in Ramallah, that the Israeli army and security forces actions included causing injury to 84 journalists hit by rubber bullets, stun bombs or teargas canisters. 65 journalists were charged in Israeli courts and 40 were arrested, 12 of whom remain behind bars.

“118 journalists were briefly detained or prevented from covering events and 16 journalists were prevented from traveling outside Palestine through the borders with Jordan. Media companies also suffered at the hands of the Israeli authorities. 37 organizations were closed down, or had their equipment confiscated. . . .”

Short Takes


“Totally Necessary work that MUST continue. Helps us on our journey of going deep when newsmakers & others go low.” (Credit: Sharon Farmer)

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, trailblazing multimedia journalist and writer

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