‘It Was the Fact That I Stood Up and Fought Back’

Rapper’s Fans Blast Sun-Times Over Front Page

N.Y. Daily News Softening Anti-Trump Covers

Group: Reporters Shouldn’t Have to Tell Passwords

Globe: Diversity Helped Changed Boston’s Priorities

One in 5 Police Officers Often Angry, Frustrated

Station Asks Staff to Dress as ‘the Other’ for Sweeps

Journalist Launches Travel Show Via Streaming 

Short Takes

Tishaura Jones high-fives guests at a campaign kickoff party for her mayoral run in January. (Credit: (Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio)

Tishaura Jones high-fives guests at a campaign kickoff party for her St. Louis mayoral run in January. (Credit: Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio)

‘It Was the Fact That I Stood Up and Fought Back’

A St. Louis mayoral candidate who accused the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of being part of “the systemic racism that pervades almost every public and private institution” in the region placed a surprising second in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

The candidate, Tishaura Jones, the city treasurer, also noted the lack of African Americans on the five-member Post-Dispatch editorial board.

Jones told Journal-isms by telephone on Friday, her birthday, that a letter she wrote to the Post-Dispatch editorial page editor making those points went viral. The St. Louis American, an African American weekly, published it Feb. 9 after the Post-Dispatch declined to do so.

“Money just started coming in from all over the country,” Jones said. “We raised $35,000 in a day and a half.” She said several voters told her that they had respected her but that “the editorial gave them the meat they needed,” referring to her letter. “It was the fact that I stood up and fought back,” Jones said.

Jones, one of five African American mayoral candidates, lost narrowly to Alderman Lyda Krewson, the only white candidate in the field. St. Louis’ population was 49.2 percent black or African American in the 2010 census, and Krewson did poorly in the black parts of the city.

On Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch editorial board acknowledged its surprise. “By historical precedent and most pre-election polls, 28th Ward Alderman Lyda Krewson should have won Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary by a comfortable margin,” it editorialized under the headline, “Some ingredients behind Tishaura Jones’ surprise election showing.”

“Instead, it turned out to be a squeaker after Treasurer Tishaura Jones staged a remarkable surge that fell less than 900 votes short of an upset victory.”

“Krewson’s fundraising had far outpaced her six Democratic opponents’,” it continued. “. . . There was no question that the St. Louis ‘establishment’ stood squarely behind her.” The Post-Dispatch endorsed Alderman Antonio French, who received only 15.31 percent to about 32 percent for Krewson and little over 30 percent for Jones.

“Key to Jones’ success was her ability to connect with young, mainly white progressives who were already energized by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Democratic presidential campaign,” the editorial said. “She rallied at the grassroots by holding herself out as the one candidate who would stand up to the establishment, carry the banner of Black Lives Matter, and ensure development money went to the city’s most troubled neighborhoods instead of to big downtown projects.”

But, the editorial continued, “French was the candidate who actually had those street activist credentials. . . .”

Jones told Journal-isms that she does not recommend running against editorial boards, urging candidates to consider local circumstances. But she says she was pushed to do so by what she perceived as racist and sexist editorials. The boiling point came Jan. 21, she said, after an editorial headlined “Bring the high-flying St. Louis treasurer down to earth” questioned her spending while in office.

“I called it my Fannie Lou Hamer moment,” Jones said, meaning she was, in civil rights activist Hamer’s famous phrase, sick and tired of being sick and tired. Jones said she had nothing to lose by refusing to attend the editorial board’s endorsement interview and making public her unpublished letter to Editorial Page Editor Tod Robberson.

Despite the board’s surprise at her vote total, it has not backed down on its criticism. “Jones has long tended to blame others for her own shortcomings,” Wednesday’s editorial said.

“Even after Tuesday night’s loss, she offered no hint of admitting that personal failings might have turned voters away. Instead, she blamed the other African-American candidates for refusing to bury their male egos and bow out of the race.

“Voters value honesty and transparency. Add a dose of humility, and Jones might still have a promising political future ahead.”

Jones continues her job as city treasurer.

Thursday's Chicago Sun-Times

Thursday’s Chicago Sun-Times

Rapper’s Fans Blast Sun-Times Over Front Page

Fans of local hero Chance the Rapper, who just last month won three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, took strong issue with a column written on the rapper by veteran columnist Mary Mitchell and promoted on the front page of Thursday’s Chicago Sun-Times.

“I don’t want to go hard on Chance the Rapper because he’s one of the good guys,” Mitchell began.

“But his messy split from the mother of his 18-month-old daughter threatens to overshadow the positive vibes created by his $1 million donation to the Chicago Public Schools. . . .”

Mitchell wrote as if she were a beaming relative. “Although I hadn’t heard a single lyric the 23-year-old penned, I was as proud as if I knew him personally” when he won the Grammys last month, she confided.

Fans on social media and elsewhere, however, were having none of it. One of them, Jake Krzeczowski, cited the piece as an example of “why journalism as an institution is failing more every day.”

Chance responded with a video in which he said, “Don’t let anybody get between you and your family.”

Krzeczowski, who writes under the name Jake Krez, told readers Friday on These Days, which describes itself as a website for fledgling Chicago journalists and friends, “With skyrocketing shootings, rising socioeconomic disparities and a city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy where fraud runs rampant, the city is desperate for someone to show us a way forward.

“Lately, 23-year-old Chancelor Bennett has emerged as the catalyst for what’s next by championing individual rights, helping organize communities from the ground up and, just this week, putting $1 million dollars of his own money towards closing the massive funding gap within the Chicago Public Schools.

“So, it seemed odd then to pick up the Chicago Sun-Times, the paper I first wrote about Chance The Rapper for, to see a story by Mary Mitchell essentially belittling the Grammy winner’s contributions by pointing to problems he allegedly had with the mother of his child. That the story, which is wrought with reporting holes and an honest understanding of the situation, ran on the front page is an affront to not only what Chance is doing, but where many of those living here would like to see the city go. . . .”

In Ebony, LaToya Cross wrote Thursday, “Sure, an article working to reposition the perception of Lil’ Chano from 79th was bound to happen, heck, some folks even took issue with his $1M donation to Westcott Elementary School, but we held on to hope that it would not be one of us to spearhead the dirt and drama. Guess we were wrong. . . .”

Mitchell could not be reached immediately for comment.

N.Y. Daily News Softening Anti-Trump Covers

Daily News front page after Election Day.

Post-Election Day front page

For most of 2016, the New York Daily News was America’s paper of opposition to Donald Trump,” Joe Pompeo wrote Thursday for Politico. “But in the months since the election, just as Trump’s war with the press started going nuclear, the Manhattan-based tabloid has largely pulled back on its famous anti-Trump covers in favor of a decidedly more measured tone.

“The change followed a shakeup in editorial leadership just weeks before Nov. 8. The previous editor, Jim Rich, had been resisting pressure from management to soften the Trump covers, people familiar with the matter said.

“He was told they were diminishing an already much diminished print subscriber base, these people said, particularly among blue-collar readers in certain corners of New York’s outer boroughs, where Trump’s nationalistic populism apparently resonates in a way that is anathema to the city’s cosmopolitan districts and immigrant enclaves. . . .”

Separately, new Huffington Post editor Lydia Polgreen “said that over the next year, she wants to expand the traditionally liberal HuffPost into a place where Trump voters might also ‘tell their stories and get their concerns heard,’ ” Eric Johnson reported Thursday for Recode. “She contrasted that with a recent trend of urban journalists being dispatched to report on Trump’s America the way they might be assigned to cover an exotic country. . . .”

Group: Reporters Shouldn’t Have to Tell Passwords

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday that it “is concerned by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly’s suggestion to a committee hearing that the U.S. 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.

“Today CPJ sent a joint letter to Kelly urging him to reject any proposal to require the provision of log in information to online accounts as a condition of entry to the U.S. The letter follows a statement we made along with nearly 100 professional journalist associations and press freedom organizations, opposing such demands as a direct assault on fundamental rights. . . .”

South Boston’s famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade marched through the neighborhood in 2015. (Credit: Dina Rudick/Boston Globe)

South Boston’s famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade marched through the neighborhood in 2015. (Credit: Dina Rudick/Boston Globe)

Globe: Diversity Helped Changed Boston’s Priorities

A South Boston veterans council, facing withering criticism, reversed course Friday and extended an unconditional invitation to the group of gay veterans it had barred from marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade,” Brian MacQuarrie and Nicole Fleming reported for the Boston Globe.

“The move clears the way for OUTVETS, a group of LGBT veterans, to march in the March 19 parade with its rainbow banner and logo, a point of contention that the Allied War Veterans Council had cited when it voted Tuesday to bar the organization. . . .”

The move follows a Wednesday editorial in the Globe that signaled that diversity had helped change the city’s priorities.

One of the reasons the Southie parade became such a touchstone in the 1990s was because the procession through then-mayor Ray Flynn’s political backyard was perceived to be an important rite in the city’s civic life,” the editorial said. “The parade was a highlight of the local political calendar, and even received city funding. ‘History has made clear it’s a public event,’ one gay rights activist said in 1993. And at the time, that description had the ring of truth.

“But time, the willingness of many politicians to skip the parade, and the city’s growing diversity have all eroded the event’s prominence. Exclusion from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade no longer connotes exclusion from mainstream Boston. . . .”

One in 5 Police Officers Often Angry, Frustrated

About one-in-five police officers nationally (21%) say their job nearly always or often makes them feel angry and frustrated — feelings that are linked to more negative views toward the public,” Rich Morin reported Thursday for the Pew Research Center.

“These frequently angry, frustrated officers also are more likely than their colleagues to support more physical or aggressive policing methods, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted May 19-Aug. 14, 2016, by the National Police Research Platform of 7,917 sworn police and sheriff’s officers in 54 departments with at least 100 officers. . . .”

Separately, Daniel Denvir reported Tuesday for vice.com, “even when cops break the infamous ‘blue wall of silence’ and tell the truth about fellow officers who commit brutality, it’s still easy for police to lie and get away with it in modern America. . . .

Station Asks Staff to Dress as ‘the Other’ for Sweeps

It appears that according to an internal memo obtained EXCLUSIVELY by FTVLive that a Michigan News Director wants the staff to dress up for May sweeps,” Scott Jones reported Friday for FTVLive.

“Meredith owned WNEM (Saginaw) News Director Ian Rubin sent an email out to the staff to see if anyone wanted to ‘dress up’ as a Muslim woman, [an] Orthodox Jew or as a ‘Transgender’ for the May book.

“Guess asking for someone to apply ‘blackface’ and ‘dress up’ as a black person was just going a bit too far.

“What the hell is this guy thinking?!

“First off, instead of playing dress up, how about just putting a mic on a real Muslim [woman] or the others and see for yourself? How about just talking to those groups to see what they deal with.

“Do you really need to turn the May sweeps into a Halloween stunt?

“Is Meredith ok with this?

“BTW- Rubin is currently the target of a sex discrimination lawsuit against WNEM by a former reporter for being anti-LGBT. Not sure dressing someone up as ‘a Transgender’ is a good idea right now, or anytime.

“This is a sweeps stunt and nothing more. . . .”

Rubin did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Journalist Launches Travel Show Via Streaming

Davina “Dayvee” Sutton, a sports journalist who has worked at CBS Atlanta, NBC Charlotte, ESPN, Comcast Sports, Turner Sports and CNN in Atlanta and London, created her own production company and last week launched her first show, “Beyond the Usual.” Sutton describes it as a travel-related show that focuses on culture and adventure.

It might be emblematic of how entrepreneurial journalists are using nontraditional distribution means. The show is distributed to several streaming devices, such as Roku and Amazon. The entire first season is to be available at once. Viewers have the option to watch on their TV, tablet or phone. All they need is internet access and one of the streaming devices.

Sutton explained by email, “. . . I began a study on the popular [YouTube] travel vloggers. They were big stars online, with millions of subscribers, because they took their audience with them. They knew how to connect and talk to them. But, the whole of their shooting style was [a] bit too grimy, too ‘amateur’ for what I wanted to produce. I eventually developed a style that combines a relaxed way of talking to my audience with gorgeous, wanderlustful video. . . .

“I always knew that I needed this project to make money for me. To be my job, and not hobby. I also quickly knew that this was not going to be a [YouTube] project — primarily, those [YouTube] stars had built their audience since they were in high school and now are in their late 20’s and early 30’s; and finally, now, are making a great living off of their work. I didn’t have that time.

“Plus, I had more resources in the industry than they did. I spent about a half a year talking with all of the black lifestyle magazines, offering them a content license to brand this series. This was before they went all in with their respective video departments.

“Other platforms like Yahoo! had a hosted travel series and [were] winning awards for just existing. But after talking to the publishers and managing editors of each and every one of these black lifestyle platforms, I knew I could not wait for them to catch up. . . . The [YouTubers] had to build their audiences from scratch. I needed an instant audience.

“So, I made a pivot and spent time creating a large distribution network, which is still growing with pending offers. Each distributor offers something different, but the goal is to syndicate my show to as many screens as possible. When we last calculated, it is [on] more than 100-million screens.

“It’s also a branding strategy.

“This show, combined with the work I do for USA TODAY, and in the past with CNN, makes me the only national travel correspondent who is black. And that’s ridiculous, because black Americans spend $50-billion a year in travel. But from the looks of it on TV, you’d think it was only middle-aged white men.”

Short Takes

Ishmael Reed-reads

“Please support Richard. One of the few remaining journalists to challenge the media. If he goes under, a lot of us who depend upon his reporting will go under, too.” (Credit: Tennessee Reed)

Ishmael Reed, author, poet, essayist, novelist, media critic.

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