Readers Asked for Ideas in Dallas, New Orleans

Aide Blames Dems, Not Jim Crow, for Inequality

Trump’s ‘Wires Tapped’ Didn’t Mean Wires Tapped

Not Just Reporters Are Asked to Reveal Passwords

Fox’s Carlson Claims Jorge Ramos Is Not Latino

‘Indian Country’ Readies Launch in 3 Formats

World Traveler Michael Ottey Lands at L.A. Times

Russell Stockard Dies, Pioneer Sports Journalist

AP’s Nick Ut, ‘Napalm Girl’ Photographer, Retiring

Short Takes

Faculty, staff and students walk toward Bishop College Chapel in Dallas for an all-night prayer vigil on April 4, 1968, after the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. In other cities, violence erupted. (Credit: Dallas Public Library)

Faculty, staff and students walk toward Bishop College Chapel in Dallas for an all-night prayer vigil on April 4, 1968, after the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. In other cities, violence erupted. (Credit: Dallas Public Library)

Readers Asked for Ideas in Dallas, New Orleans

For too long, the history of Dallas’ white majority has overpowered the stories of others who helped build the city’s culture,” the Dallas Morning News editorial board declared last week, launching a project inviting readers “to help tell the story of communities often overlooked here.”

“We’ve had more than a dozen thoughtful submissions in the first few days and twice the readership of our typical editorial,” Dominick DiFurio, editorial board member and web producer, told Journal-isms by email on Monday.

“Whether it’s places with a troubling past like the sites of lynchings in North Texas (which have been proposed by multiple people) or the sites of influential small businesses opened by minorities, we’re hoping to elevate important stories about parts of Dallas’ past that’s too often been overlooked.” DiFurio said he hoped that the board’s creation would be used as “a tool for people to have a conversation about our non-white history.”

DiFurio added, “We also see this as potentially becoming material that might inform our advocacy for important memorials in Dallas, etc. in the future.”

Memorials are also foremost in the minds of the editorial board of | the Times-Picayune, which in reaffirming its approval of court decisions upholding New Orleans’ right to relocate three Confederate monuments, reached out to readers for ideas on what should take their place.

The editorial Sunday cited this question in 2005 from Wynton Marsalis, whom it described as  a  “jazz trumpeter and cultural ambassador”:

“In the heart of the most progressive and creative cultural city in America, why should we continue to commemorate this legacy?”  The circle is named for defeated Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“We shouldn’t,” the editorial replied. “Now, with the court challenge out of the way, we have an opportunity to transform Lee Circle into something that reflects the diversity of this beautiful city. Something that every resident can take pride in. Something that can help unite us. . . .”

Marsalis has suggested, “We should transform the current Lee Circle into an inviting space that celebrates the communal intentions of the international community that helped us survive Katrina.”

The Dallas project, DiFurio said, “was an idea birthed by one of our writers, Elizabeth Souder, in the aftermath of the July 7th police shootings in Dallas.” A lone gunman fatally wounded five police officers and injured nine others in the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.

“We had been sitting down to discuss ways to continue editorializing on the racial divide in Dallas and Elizabeth brought up the fact that we were slowly taking down confederate monuments, but not doing much to commemorate the history of minority groups that have contributed so much to the culture and success Dallas has today.

“We thought, who knows the city’s history better than the people? So we undertook this project to crowd source little known points of interest in Dallas. The map tool itself was coded and developed by an intern who is now with McClatchy building cool things. . . .”

That tool was an interactive map of the Dallas area, published with the March 7 editorial, in which readers could add locations where the history they remember was made.

The editorial offered suggestions. “Take for instance the night of April 4, 1968. Violence erupted in cities across the country, especially in Detroit and Washington, on news that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered in Memphis. Here in Dallas, students and faculty members at Bishop College held instead an all-night vigil to mourn the slain civil rights leaders. That’s history that Dallas could stand to remember.

“Or consider the Saturday in June, a decade later, when San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk spoke at a gay rights convention at the Royal Coach Inn, a long-gone hotel on Dallas’ Northwest Highway. Milk, who had twice before lived in Dallas, was here as a celebrity, having been made the first openly gay elected official in America not long before. A few months later, he was murdered in San Francisco and instantly converted into an icon of the gay rights movement.

“A grimmer story, but one important to never forget, unfolded in a police cruiser parked at 2301 Cedar Springs Road in 1973. That’s where Dallas police Officer Darrell L. Cain shot and killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriquez, Russian-roulette-style, while questioning him and his brother over missing coins from the Fina station’s Coke machine. The murder, and subsequent sentencing of Cain to just five years in prison, caused widespread and lasting grief throughout Dallas’ Mexican-American community. . . .”

In New Orleans, the words "white supremacy" are inscribed on the Battle of Liberty Place monument, which commemorates a failed military coup by former Confederates in 1874. It is to be relocated.

In New Orleans, the words “white supremacy” are inscribed on the Battle of Liberty Place monument, which commemorates a failed military coup by former Confederates in 1874. It is to be relocated.

The New Orleans editorial board also invoked the words of Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Landrieu said after last week’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, “Symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people. These monuments do not now, nor have they ever reflected the history, the strength, the richness, the diversity or the soul of New Orleans.”

The editorial continued, “Over the coming weeks and months, The Times-Picayune and will collect your suggestions for how to reimagine Lee Circle. Email your ideas to or include them in the comment section linked below the headline of this editorial. We’ll round them up periodically in the newspaper, online and on our @NOLAnews social media channels.

“We’ll invite local artists, designers and architects to create renderings of the most intriguing ideas. And we’ll ask readers to rate their favorite, and least favorite, concepts.

“We have no formal role in the process. Our goal is to bring New Orleanians together, the way that we have always come together: through creative self-expression in the streets. . . .”

Sebastian Gorka (Credit: Reveal)

Sebastian Gorka (Credit: Reveal)

Aide Blames Dems, Not Jim Crow, for Inequality

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, has become a lead spokesman for the administration’s national security strategy,” the Weekly Reveal, a newsletter from the Center for Investigative Reporting, reported Monday.

“Gorka wasn’t very well-known until recently, but now he’s drawing plenty of attention for his public statements. In two interviews with NPR, for example, he skirted the question of whether the president even believes Islam is a religion.

“Now hear what Gorka has to say about domestic issues. As part of a new podcast we’re trying out, Al Letson Reveals, Gorka sat down for an interview with our host that largely focused on race.

“Here’s one exchange on inequalities faced by African Americans (lightly edited):

“Gorka: It’s not because of Jim Crow. The reality is it is the other side. The side that lost. That has for 30 years kept black Americans down. You just look at where they run the country. Look at Baltimore. Look at Chicago what have they done for the American people of color. What have they done for them. Nothing. They’ve made it worse.

“Letson: Dr. Gorka, respectfully, I’m saying the inequities that have been built into the American system are still there. You bring Africans to basically set up your economic powerhouse here. What I’m saying is that, like, in the structure of America is white supremacy built in. It’s not a thing of, like, the Democrats are great to black people and the Republicans are bad. It is a system that both parties operate in that has kept inequity in America.

“Gorka: I chose this country. I didn’t come. I wasn’t born by accident. I chose to be an American and as such as somebody who consciously chose to be a citizen of this great nation I wholeheartedly reject your assertion that white supremacism is some foundational element of our society. Historically it existed.”

Trump’s ‘Wires Tapped’ Didn’t Mean Wires Tapped

The White House on Monday walked back a key point of President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation that President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 election,” Jeremy Diamond reported Monday for CNN.

“Namely, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping. ‘I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,’ Spicer said. ‘The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.’ . . .”

Meanwhile, “The House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health insurance by 24 million by 2026, while slicing $337 billion off federal budget deficits over that time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday,” Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear reported for the New York Times. They also wrote, “The much-anticipated judgment by Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper did not back up President Trump’s promise of providing health care for everyone and was likely to fuel the concerns of moderate Republicans. . . .”

In another development, “CNN anchor Chris Cuomo grilled President Donald Trump’s top counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday about the president’s unfounded surveillance claims and the quality of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act,” Maxwell Tani reported for Business Insider.

On Feb. 22, Dylan Byers of CNN Money, citing White House sources, wrote that “public scrutiny over Conway’s credibility . . . led the president and his top advisers to conclude that her appearances were doing more harm than good for the administration.”

“NBC Nightly News” examined 25 cases of U.S. citizens who say they have been pressured to turn over their devices at U.S. borders.

Not Just Reporters Are Asked to Reveal Passwords

The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern Friday over a suggestion by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly that the United States could request social media profile and password information as a condition to entering the country. “Such requirements would have an impact on journalists by undermining their ability to protect sources and work product, and would represent an escalation of the press freedom challenges journalists face at U.S. borders,” the committee said.

The committee’s Alexandra Ellerbeck reported in December that “The ACOS Alliance, a coalition of news organizations, journalists, and press freedom groups that includes CPJ, are aware of at least seven instances in which journalists say U.S. border and customs agents stopped them for a prolonged period and asked to search their electronic devices. . . .”

On “NBC Nightly News” on Monday, reporter Cynthia McFadden expanded the story. “In 25 cases examined by NBC News, American citizens said that CBP officers at airports and border crossings demanded that they hand over their phones and their passwords, or unlock them,” she said, referring to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.

“What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim. . . .”

Fox’s Carlson Claims Jorge Ramos Is Not Latino

Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Mexican-born journalist Jorge Ramos engaged in a heated debate about immigration on Carlson’s namesake TV show earlier this week, in which the host falsely claimed that Ramos is not Latino,” Char Adams reported Friday for People magazine.

“Univision anchor Ramos spoke out against Donald Trump’s past statements about Mexican immigrants during a Wednesday appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, encouraging Carlson to be ‘tolerant’ of the ‘multiracial country.’

“ ‘Let me just point out that you are white,’ Carlson, 47, said. “’Obviously, you’re whiter than I am. You’ve got blue eyes. So, I don’t know exactly what you mean by white or Latino.’ . . .”

Hispanics can be of any race.

‘Indian Country’ Readies Launch in 3 Formats

Debut issue

Cover of debut issue

Indian Country Media Network is preparing to launch Indian Country, a “unique new publication that is by, for and about Native Peoples,” according to its subscription promotion.

“In today’s world, there are also thousands of Indian stereotypes, pretenders and wannabes. So many Internet ‘experts’ on the Native world. So many people boasting about their great-great grandmother, the Cherokee princess.

“But for those people who actually are Native … and for those non-Natives who actively seek to learn and understand … and for anyone who demands authenticity, honesty and expertise … there is one place to turn. . . .”

Christopher Napolitano, creative director for the network, told Journal-isms by email Monday that the team was closing its first issue that day.

“There’s no single person editing the magazine…it’s a group effort, as most everything we do is,” Napolitano continued. “We will have feature contributions from Mary Annette Pember, Marty Two Bulls, Frank Hopper, Stephanie Woodard and West Coast Editor Valerie Taliman; other contributions from Op Ed Editor Ray Cook (along with Steve Newcomb, Peter d’Errico, Harold Monteau and Ruth Hopkins), Alex Jacobs, Deb Krol, Ishmael Hope, Vincent Schilling, Andi Murphy, Adam Sings in the Timber, Matika Wilbur, Gwen Lester and Cierra Fields.

Napolitano also wrote, “The magazine will be available in three different versions: digital (online; for subscribers only), tablet (coming a few weeks after launch; iPad/iTunes only for now) and print. Subscribers can pay for one, or two or all three versions, depending on their needs.

“We have an aggressive plan for circulation, but we’re not going to unveil them just yet — we’ve only been pre-selling for a few months, and the numbers are very good. Let’s just say we hope to surpass the circ of our old weekly, which was around 15-18K (with more than 50 percent subscribers) in short order; the first issue will also be distributed to Denver March Pow Wow, NIGA [National Indian Gaming Association] and other events. Cover price is $6. 96 pages.

“We’ll certainly use freelance contributions, most likely from the team that helps put out today. It’s a bi-monthly — first issue will be April-May 2017. Other magazines? Native Peoples puts out a fine magazine, but tied to the museum-going public at the Heard Museum [in Phoenix], and has a heavy emphasis on art.

“Indian Country will be more general interest, and like the large audience of, it will be pretty unique.”

Michael Ottey at the China Daily. (Credit: Michael Ottey)

Michael Ottey at the China Daily. (Courtesy Michael Ottey)

World Traveler Michael Ottey Lands at L.A. Times

Michael Ottey, who has traveled the world since being laid off as assistant world editor of the Miami Herald in the economic turmoil of 2009, is joining the Los Angeles Times as an assignment editor on its combined national and foreign desks, the Times confirmed on Monday.

“I will be the newspaper’s new assignment editor on its combined National and Foreign desks,” Ottey told his Facebook friends.

“What exactly does that mean? I will be the early morning guy assigning breaking and developing stories to foreign and national correspondents in the U.S. and around the world, editing those stories and attending daily news meetings to discuss what my team has in the pipeline. The L.A. Times is an exciting newsroom, especially with all that is happening in Washington, the U.S. and around the world. I’m also looking forward to helping to shape the newspaper’s digital and social media coverage.”

Ottey filed “Mike Tends to Travel” dispatches online as he took in locales in South America, Europe and Asia, most recently as world editor of the China Daily in Beijing.

He has said that in his travels he has encountered “all the U.S.- exported stereotypes you can imagine” about African Americans.

When I tell people from any given country that I am a journalist and i once was a foreign correspondent and an editor who once managed reporters, they are taken aback because that’s not what they expect from an African American,” (scroll down) he told Journal-isms by email  in 2014.

“And the fact I can find Kazakhstan or India or any given country on the map and discuss current world issues….I wait for it and the words soon come spilling out of their mouths: ‘Wow, you’re not like other Americans. You’re different.’ Well, not really. I know many Americans — and African Americans — like me.”

Russell Stockard Dies, Pioneer Sports Journalist

R.L. Stockard (Credit: Richard Alan Hannon/Advocate file photo)

Russell Stockard (Credit: Richard Alan Hannon/Advocate file photo)

Pioneering sports chronicler Russell Stockard died Saturday in Baton Rouge, his family confirmed,” the Advocate reported. “He was 92.

“Stockard was the first sports information director at Southern University, the first SID of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the first black correspondent to write for mainstream newspapers in Louisiana.

“Stockard was a 2008 recipient of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s Distinguished Service Award. And in 2009, he was recognized with a National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force Sam Lacy Pioneer Award. . . .”

The Advocate also wrote, “In 1953 he boldly marched into the newsroom of the Baton Rouge State-Times and asked to speak to sports editor Dan Hardesty.

“Stockard made the case the paper ought to consider increasing its coverage of Southern sports, particularly the football and basketball teams. He pointed out that other than scores and who scored touchdowns, there were no human interest stories, no background stories, and no columns providing in-depth insights on the powerful teams coached by A.W. Mumford.

“ ‘I think he was surprised that I read the newspaper,’ Stockard said, “and was taken aback when I pointed out we were talking about a local four-year school approximately the same size as LSU, which got most of the coverage in the Baton Rouge media. . . . ”

AP’s Nick Ut, ‘Napalm Girl’ Photographer, Retiring

Nick Ut in 2011 (Credit: Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

Nick Ut in 2011 (Credit: Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

It would seem all but impossible to sum up one of the most distinguished careers in photojournalism in only four words, but that’s just what Nick Ut does when he says, ‘From hell to Hollywood,’John Rogers reported Monday for the Associated Press.

“And the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, who is retiring this month after 51 years with The Associated Press, has the pictures to prove it, the most famous being a stunning black-and-white image from the Vietnam War that’s come to be known simply as ‘Napalm Girl.’

“It’s the photo of a terrified child running naked down a country road, her body literally burning from the napalm bombs dropped on her village just moments before Ut captured the iconic image. . . .”

Rogers also wrote, “He plans to spend retirement helping take care of those grandchildren and, oh yes, taking more pictures.

Rogers wrote that Ut and his wife, Hong Huynh, moved to Los Angeles in 1977 when Ut began the Hollywood chapter of his photo career. They have two grown children and two grandchildren, ages 8 and 10.

” ‘I’ll take pictures until I die,’ laughs the diminutive photographer who is instantly recognizable around Los Angeles for his 5-foot-3-inch frame and his ear-to-ear grin. ‘My camera is like my doctor, my medicine.’ ”

Short Takes