N.Y. Times’ Public Editor Decries ‘Overall Scarcity’

Biracial People Called Best Suited for the Future

Some Caution Outrage Over Trump May Go Too Far

Disinformation Found to Play Role in Campaign

Trump Cuts Back on CNN, MSNBC, ‘Morning Joe’

Reporting Ends Onerous Practice in Philly

Vogue Features Women of White House Press Corps

Pittsburgh Losing 614 African Americans Each Year

Short Takes

The New York Times The Times celebrates foreign correspondent Alissa J. Rubin’s Pulitzer Prize as executive editor Dean Baquet and the newsroom look on last April. (Credit: Angel Franco)

The New York Times celebrates foreign correspondent Alissa J. Rubin’s Pulitzer Prize as executive editor Dean Baquet and the newsroom look on last April. (Credit: Angel Franco/New York Times)

N.Y. Times’ Public Editor Decries ‘Overall Scarcity’

The Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, acclaimed for his study of inkblots, might have enjoyed doing some field work at the most recent newsroom-wide meeting of The New York Times,” Liz Spayd, public editor at the Times, wrote on Saturday for its SundayReview section.

“Many in the audience saw before them top editors representing a bold new phase of digital innovation. Others, especially some women, saw a reality grounded firmly in the present: an all-male cast at the podium, the chief architects behind the most important strategic document since the celebrated innovation report in 2014. Was this a portrait of a newsroom’s future or of the gender that will remain in charge of it?

“One or both may be correct. But the optics that day highlight a piercing problem at The Times. Women have skidded down the power structure since Jill Abramson was dismissed as executive editor three years ago, with fewer females leading big news departments and fewer coming up the pipeline. Thus, fewer women decide what big stories are assigned, what broad coverage priorities are set, and what a re-envisioned Times should look like.

“Just how grave the problem is depends, as with inkblots, on one’s perspective.

“In recent weeks, for example, three women were added to the masthead, placing them in the coveted ranks of the newsroom’s top editors. In addition, women head up the Washington bureau, the arts and culture coverage, the book, photo and video desks, as well as several smaller sections. There are probably more distinguished women in this newsroom than at most any newspaper in the country.

“So where’s the grievance? For one, men are No. 1 and No. 2 in command for the first time in 14 years, Dean Baquet as executive editor and Joseph Kahn as the recently named managing editor. Another male is first among equals driving coverage in the ranks below them, while men run the paper’s national news, foreign news and metropolitan news, as well as both business and sports. The next editing tier is also heavily male, a climate that led one group of women to wryly fantasize one day about how differently a story might read if no man touched it throughout the editing chain. . . .”

Spayd also wrote, “The overall scarcity of women may contribute to the persistent complaints from readers who see a sexist tinge to elements of the news coverage. . . .”

Spayd wrote in December about “The newsroom’s blinding whiteness.”

"I can attest that being mixed makes it harder to fall back on the tribal identities that have guided so much of human history, and that are now resurgent," Moises Velasquez-Manoff wrote. "Your background pushes you to construct a worldview that transcends the tribal."

“I can attest that being mixed makes it harder to fall back on the tribal identities that have guided so much of human history, and that are now resurgent,” Moises Velasquez-Manoff wrote. When you are biracial, “your background pushes you to construct a worldview that transcends the tribal.” (Credit: ivycoach.com)

Biracial People Called Best Suited for the Future

After the nation’s first black president, we now have a white president with the whitest and malest cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s,” Moises Velasquez-Manoff wrote Saturday in the featured article in the New York Times SundayReview. “His administration immediately made it a priority to deport undocumented immigrants and to deny people from certain Muslim-majority nations entry into the United States, decisions that caused tremendous blowback.

“What President Trump doesn’t seem to have considered is that diversity doesn’t just sound nice, it has tangible value. Social scientists find that homogeneous groups like his cabinet can be less creative and insightful than diverse ones. They are more prone to groupthink and less likely to question faulty assumptions.

“What’s true of groups is also true for individuals. A small but growing body of research suggests that multiracial people are more open-minded and creative. . . .”

Velasquez-Manoff also wrote, “As a multiethnic person myself — the son of a Jewish dad of Eastern European descent and a Puerto Rican mom — I can attest that being mixed makes it harder to fall back on the tribal identities that have guided so much of human history, and that are now resurgent. Your background pushes you to construct a worldview that transcends the tribal. . . .”

Some Caution Outrage Over Trump May Go Too Far

A New York Times editorial Sunday captured the sentiment of most mainstream journalists’ professional reaction to President Trump’s unsubstantiated, tweeted allegation that former president Barack Obama tapped Trump’s phones. But other journalists wrote that some of their colleagues had gone too far.

Let’s begin with what the public can know for certain,” the Times wrote. “President Trump had no evidence on Saturday morning when he smeared his predecessor, President Barack Obama, accusing him of ordering that Trump Tower phones be tapped during the 2016 campaign. Otherwise, the White House would not be scrambling to find out if what he said is true.

“Just contemplate the recklessness — the sheer indifference to truth and the moral authority of the American presidency — revealed here: one president baselessly charging criminality by another, all in a childish Twitter rampage.

“The Times reported on Sunday that the F.B.I. director, James Comey, was so alarmed by Mr. Trump’s fact-free claim — which implicitly accused the F.B.I. of breaking the law by wiretapping an American citizen at a president’s behest — that he was asking the Justice Department to publicly call it false. In other words, the F.B.I. director was demanding that Justice officially declare the president to be misleading the public.

“This is a dangerous moment, which requires Congress and members of this administration to look beyond partisan maneuvering and tend to the health of the democracy itself. . . .”

However, Harold Jackson, editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, worried on Sunday about comparisons of Trump with another authoritarian personality: “Comparisons of President Trump and his cabinet with Adolf Hitler and his regime are counterproductive exercises in hyperbole that make political division in this country worse. If anything, such comparisons indicate too many Americans never learned in school how Nazism kept its vise grip on Germany in the early 20th century. . . .”

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun wrote Saturday, “In fairness to Trump, his administration has not escalated the conflict with the press to a new level. It has not yet come close to doing what President Obama’s administration did in making the act of reporting itself criminal behavior in a case that started in 2009 under the Espionage Act of 1917. . . .”

Zurawik referred to the case of James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, branded in court documents by the Justice Department as “an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator,” and to the exclusion of Fox News from a round of interviews in 2009 with Kenneth Feinberg, then a Treasury Department official.

Disinformation Found to Play Role in Campaign

The 2016 Presidential election shook the foundations of American politics,” Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts and Ethan Zuckerman wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Media reports immediately looked for external disruption to explain the unanticipated victory — with theories ranging from Russian hacking to ‘fake news.’

“We have a less exotic, but perhaps more disconcerting explanation: Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world.

“This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.

“While concerns about political and media polarization online are longstanding, our study suggests that polarization was asymmetric. Pro-Clinton audiences were highly attentive to traditional media outlets, which continued to be the most prominent outlets across the public sphere, alongside more left-oriented online sites. But pro-Trump audiences paid the majority of their attention to polarized outlets that have developed recently, many of them only since the 2008 election season.

“Attacks on the integrity and professionalism of opposing media were also a central theme of right-wing media. Rather than ‘fake news’ in the sense of wholly fabricated falsities, many of the most-shared stories can more accurately be understood as disinformation . . . .”

Trump Cuts Back on CNN, MSNBC, ‘Morning Joe’

In a story about the ratings gains for the cable news channels during Pres. Trump’s First 100 days, Bloomberg got a sense of the Commander-in-Chief’s TV news viewing habits,” Chris Ariens wrote Friday for TV Newser. “We know he’s a Fox News fan, but also this:

” ‘Trump has cut back how much he watches CNN and MSNBC in recent weeks, having sworn off the latter network’s ‘Morning Joe’ after criticism from its hosts, according to a senior White House aide privy to the president’s viewing habits.

“Instead, the president now spends hours some mornings watching Fox News, switching occasionally to CNBC for business headlines, along with a daily diet of newspapers and press clippings, said the official, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. On the evenings when he doesn’t have a dinner or briefing, Trump will spend most of his TV-viewing time watching Fox News shows hosted by Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, the aide said.’ ”

NBC News followed up on the Marshall Project’s report about parents required to pay for the cost of their children’s incarcerations.

Reporting Ends Onerous Practice in Philly

“I wanted you to know that an investigation we published on Friday in collaboration with The Washington Post has already had impact,” Bill Keller, editor-in-chief of the Marshall Project, wrote to email subscribers on Monday.

“The story revealed that 19 state juvenile-justice agencies regularly or sometimes require parents to pay for the cost of their children’s incarcerations. Counties in another 28 states also routinely engage in the practice. These costs are often crippling to families already struggling with poverty and with the trauma of seeing a son or daughter in jail.

“Parents are charged even if the case against their child is ultimately dismissed. For example, when Mariana Cuevas’s son was released from a California jail after being locked up in a juvenile hall for more than 300 days for a homicide he did not commit, the state still tried to collect $10,000 for his imprisonment.

“The City of Philadelphia, where the story was focused, announced a few hours after our story was published that it would end the practice of charging parents who have kids in detention. You can read our post on this development here. You can also watch an NBC News report on our investigation here. . . .”

April Ryan (Photos by: Alex Majoli/Vogue)

April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks

Janet Rodriguez, Univision White House correspondent

Janet Rodriguez of Univision (Photos by Alex Majoli/Vogue)

Vogue Features Women of White House Press Corps

April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, Kristen Welker of NBC News and Janet Rodriquez of Univision are part of “A Matter of Facts,” a feature on women in the White House press corps posted Friday by Vogue.

Ryan said, “We are the first line of questioning of the American president. We are baked into the framework of this nation. People might say, ‘Oh, we don’t like the press,’ but guess what? We’re needed.” Ryan also said she would love to be played by Taraji P. Henson on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Welker said, “I do think we all got into this business for this moment, to feel like we are playing a critical role in our democracy. There’s so much civic engagement, so many things at stake. We have a real responsibility to live up to every day.”

Rodriguez said, “So much is happening so fast, especially when it comes to immigration, that we are more than ever a source of information, knowledge, security. We’re there asking the questions for our viewers because their lives are going to be very much affected.”

Ronald Saunders

Ronald Saunders, a retired civil rights activist, speaks with Kim Lester of Clairton, Pa., before the start of the New Horizon Theater’s presentation of “Josh: The Black Babe Ruth.” Saunders volunteers with the theater, greeting patrons and handing out programs. (Credit: Nate Guidry/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh Losing 614 African Americans Each Year

Pittsburghers have a friendly competition with Cleveland and jokingly call that city ‘the mistake on the lake,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorialized on Monday. “However, it’s no joke that Cleveland wins the competition on one important measure — the vitality of its African-American community.

“This was one of many troubling facts in an examination of the African-American experience in Pittsburgh which the Post-Gazette published last Sunday and Monday. Reporters Gary Rotstein and Tim Grant described several trends affecting the black community here.

“One trend is that many African-American professionals do not feel comfortable here, and they lack a cohesive peer group. In some cases they choose to leave for cities that have a larger black middle class, such as Atlanta and Washington, D.C. According to a USA Today analysis of census data, Pittsburgh is experiencing a net loss of 614 African-Americans each year.

“A second trend is that blacks who live here often face barriers in joining the professional class; few have become business owners or leaders in their fields of work. Subtle types of discrimination seem to characterize African-American life in Pittsburgh. . . .”

Short Takes

W. Paul coates

“Please continue the work. You are putting out one of the best sources of news that we have. You are one of our doers at a time when we so badly need doers. You bring style, grace and intelligence and more to our struggle.”

W. Paul Coates, director of Black Classic Press, which he founded in Baltimore in 1978 with a mission to reprint classic out-of-print works of African-American scholarship and history.

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