People of Color Are Among Those Who Mocked It

FAMU Won’t House New Black Network After All

Reporter’s Attacker Given Community Service

Writers Union Not Satisfied With Ebony Pledge

Still Not ‘Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History’

No Blacks, Latinas on New Washington Post Product

Poynter, NABJ Team for Leadership Training

Google Creates Interactive Site on Lynching

Features Group Honors Diversity Reporting

15 Years of ‘Journal-isms’ Online

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Freddie Gray, 25, died in a Baltimore hospital in 2015 from spinal injuries a week after police took him into custody. (Credit: criminalizeconservatism.com)

Freddie Gray, 25, died in a Baltimore hospital in 2015 from spinal injuries a week after police took him into custody. The Fox News “fair & balanced” slogan was often mocked. (Credit: criminalizeconservatism.com)

People of Color Are Among Those Who Mocked It

As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements,Gabriel Sherman reported Wednesday for New York magazine. “According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’

“The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.’

“It is hard to overstate the significance of what shedding ‘Fair & Balanced’ means for Fox News. (It would be like the New York Times giving up ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print.’) Ailes invented the slogan when he launched the network in 1996, and over the years it became a quasi-religious doctrine among Fox’s anchors and viewers. The effectiveness of Fox News as a vehicle for conservative ideology depended on it. ‘If you come out and you try to do right-wing news, you’re gonna die. You can’t get away with it,’ Ailes once told a reporter.

“Inside Fox, Ailes held ‘Fair & Balanced’ seminars with staff members. . . .”

Fewer people of color believe that Fox News is “fair and balanced.” Last year, the Gallup Organization asked, “Thinking about various sources of news available today, what would you say is your main source of news about current events in the U.S. and around the world?” Eleven percent of non-Hispanic whites said Fox News, but only 5 percent of nonwhites did. (The sample size of 1,000 was too small for further breakdown.)

The late George E. Curry wrote on Dec.  29, 2014, “Fox News, which mislabels itself as ‘fair and balanced,’ was anything but in 2014, according to MediaMatters.org, the independent media watchdog group. The way that the right-wing network covered the deaths of police officers in 2014 is a case in point.

“ ‘The politicization surrounding the killing of two New York Police Department officers over the weekend was amazingly swift. Fox News led the right-wing media charge, immediately claiming Democratic elected officials were somehow responsible for the gun rampage… ,’ the MediaMatters analysis observed.

“ ‘On Fox, hosts and guests were sure who was to blame for the tragedy; not the gunman necessarily, but political and community leaders like President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Mayor Bill de Blasio and MSNBC’s Al Sharpton. Why? Because the men, to varying degrees, have spoken out about the troubled relationship between law enforcement and the black community, and raised concerns about two recent high-profile cases, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, in which unarmed black men were killed, and police officers responsible were not indicted.’ . . .”

Sherman also wrote, “In the annals of modern advertising, ‘Fair & Balanced’ will be considered a classic. The slogan was Ailes’s cynical genius at its most successful. While liberals mocked the tagline, it allowed Ailes to give viewers the appearance of both sides being heard, when in fact he made sure producers staged segments so that the conservative viewpoint always won. . . .”

In February, a ribbon cutting was intended to celebrate the Black Television News Channel's location is inside the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University. (Credit: WTXL-TV)

In February, a ribbon cutting celebrated the Black Television News Channel’s intended location inside the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University. (Credit: WTXL-TV)

FAMU Won’t House New Black Network After All

Much-hyped plans to house the privately-owned 24-hour Black Television News Channel at Florida A&M University have been shelved,” Byron Dobson reported Sunday for the Tallahassee Democrat.

“Instead, network partners say the network, envisioned as being tailored for black viewers, will launch from another location in Tallahassee.

“The development is the latest in a series of false starts for both network investors and for FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. It also comes just four months after a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce a February 2018 launch date at the school.

“Tallahassee media veteran Bob Brillante, who is a co-managing partner of the enterprise along with former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, said the leadership remains committed to getting the network off the ground.

“It also remains committed to providing FAMU’s media students with access to a professional television network where they will get hands-on training, mentoring and, for those who stand out, jobs. ”

Dobson also wrote, “The decision to abandon plans to build at FAMU was made within the past month, Brillante said, after discussions with interim SGJC Dean Dhyana Ziegler, who replaced Ann Kimbrough in May.

“ ‘We all just came to the same conclusion that an off-ccmpus facility would be more attractive,’ Brillante said. ‘It was a mutual decision.’ . . .”


Ben Jacobs, reporter for the Guardian, shares with a Montana court his account of the “body slam” he endured from GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte. (video)

Reporter’s Attacker Given Community Service

Two days before James T. Hodgkinson III opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Montana Republican Greg Gianforte was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes.

Gianforte had assaulted Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian, the night before he won a seat in the House of Representatives last month. Both episodes were part of a decline in civility and rise in political polarization that journalists and politicians decried after Wednesday’s attack on members of Congress.

The [Montana] assault — Mr. Jacobs said he was ‘body-slammed’ — was seen by some as part of a trend of aggressive confrontations and attacks against journalists,” Christopher Mele reported Tuesday for the New York Times. “Critics said the antipathy toward the press has been stoked by President Trump, who has railed against the news media. . . .”

Mele also wrote, “Mr. Gianforte also paid Mr. Jacobs $4,464.97 in restitution that covered, among other expenses, his emergency room visit and his glasses,” quoting Marty Lambert, a Gallatin County, Mont., attorney.

The Radio Television Digital News Association called the sentence too light.

“It is concerning, to say the least, that a public figure, or anyone, in Montana, or anywhere else, can physically assault a reporter for merely asking questions on behalf of the public and then receive a light sentence,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA incoming executive director, who spearheads RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force. “We certainly wouldn’t want someone to receive harsher punishment for assaulting reporters than they would for assaulting anyone else, but in this case, the victim of the assault, who just so happened to be a reporter, was actually injured. . . .”

Mele also wrote, “In a letter this month, Mr. Gianforte apologized to Mr. Jacobs and said his actions toward the reporter had been ‘unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful.’ He promised to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group for press freedoms and journalists’ rights.

“Mr. Gianforte apologized to Mr. Jacobs again in court and said he looked forward to meeting with him later.

“ ‘I am confident that he will be a strong advocate for a free press and the First Amendment,’ Mr. Jacobs said in court. ‘And I even hope to be able to finally interview him once he has arrived on Capitol Hill.”

Writers Union Not Satisfied With Ebony Pledge

The NBA's Russell Westbrook is featured on Ebony's recent "travel issue."

The NBA’s Russell Westbrook was featured in Ebony’s recent “travel issue.”

The National Writers Union said Wednesday that it had increased the number of Ebony magazine writers it is representing to 21, saying they are collectively owed $46,700. A June 3 pledge from Ebony to settle the debts within 30 days is not good enough, the union said in a news release.

Some of the invoices we’ve seen are over a year old,” NWU President Larry Goldbetter said. “We are pleased EBONY Media has been responsive to the grievance, but we are now at a point where we need a payment schedule in writing. For a freelancer to have to struggle to pay rent because Ebony owes is ridiculous.”

Michael Gibson, co-founder of Clear View Group, which bought Ebony last year, told Journal-isms Thursday by email, “We will take care of all of the freelancer payments in the 30 day plan that we have committed.  We will bring all freelancers current in that window.

“I understand the Union’s concerns but the freelancers they represent are a small segment of the overall group and it is our desire to address everyone equally and timely.  We also reiterate that we deeply regret that this has escalated to this point and are committed to paying everyone 100% of what they are owed.” Gibson said he could not disclose the size of the “overall group.”

Goldbetter also wrote, “Interesting things happen when people organize and come together. People have contacted me to say that during the time EBONY Media owed these writers for their work, the company spent six figures on Super Bowl parties in Houston, the Ebony 100 event in Los Angeles and a pitch competition at SXSW. I was also told that money that was initially ear marked for freelancers was later allocated to other things. The money is clearly there. The commitment to paying freelancers is not. . . .”

The statement included an expression of support from Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Still Not ‘Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History’

Lester Holt

Lester Holt

Four days after last year’s tragic shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 victims dead, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists joined others in warning reporters to be careful with their language.

Sunday’s shooting has, on several occasions, been referred to as ‘the worst mass shooting in American history,’ which negates several other incidents in U.S. history, many involving minority victims,” their statement said. “For example, more than 100 black people were killed in the East St. Louis Massacre in 1917. More than 100 black people were gunned down during a mass shooting in Colfax, La., in 1873.

“Suggestions for future coverage include avoiding superlatives altogether, as comparing Sunday’s tragedy to other incidents in history does it no justice. If the decision is made to add a superlative, Sunday’s shooting would count as the deadliest shooting in recent or modern history. . . .”

Still, on Monday, in the commemorations of the incident, NABJ’s “Journalist of the Year,” anchor Lester Holt of “NBC Nightly News,” continued to refer to Orlando as “the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.”

NBC News declined comment, but the continued use of the phrase represents a humbling moment for NABJ, NAHJ, the Associated Press, NPR and Native American groups who had urged journalists a year ago not to erase those previous mass shootings from the public memory.

Holt was far from alone. “Sometimes, we in the business work a little too hard to make the grotesque more dramatic,” Bob Collins wrote last June for Minnesota Public Radio. “That’s why we have phrases like ‘brutal murders.’ The drama makes us care a little more, I suspect the thinking goes. As if nearly 50 people being shot to death needs just a little boost to establish its place in our conscience, let alone history. . . .”

A shout-out to those who got it right, by modifying the word “history” with “recent” or “modern” or, in the case of Vice News, “by a single gunman.”

Among those who were correct were NPR, the Washington Post, Fox News, the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, TheRoot.com, the Daily News in New York and ABC News.

The staff of the Washington Post's new "Lily" product for millennial women. (Credit: for the Washington Post)

The staff of the Washington Post’s new “Lily” product for millennial women. (Credit: Jesse Dittmar for the Washington Post)

No Blacks, Latinas on New Washington Post Product

The Washington Post today launches The Lily, a new publication for millennial women that spotlights The Post’s award-winning journalism on distributed platforms using custom visuals and bold imagery,” the Post announced on Monday.

“Rolling out on Medium, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, The Lily’s platform-specific storytelling curates fresh, of-the-moment stories and perspectives about topics and issues relevant to that audience. The Lily will also have a twice-weekly newsletter, Lily Lines, delivering smart, highly curated news and features to readers’ inboxes. . . .”

Asked whether any staffers were African American or Latina, spokesperson Shani George said no but that “half the team is non-white.”

The Washington metro area is 25 percent black and 15 percent Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau, with the District of Columbia 48.32 percent black and 10.6 percent Hispanic or Latino as of July 1, 2015. However, the Post’s online audience is global and not necessarily reflective of its home base.

George also said by email, “The Lily surfaces stories of interest to women on the platforms they are already using, giving them a dedicated source to follow for news and perspectives about women and the issues that impact women. The publication aims to create community and conversation around relevant Post stories that people may not be aware The Post is doing or don’t typically turn to The Post for.”

Poynter, NABJ Team for Leadership Training

The Poynter Institute and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will once again offer a transformative, tuition-free leadership program to train the best and brightest journalists of color working in digital media,” NABJ announced Tuesday.

“Applications are now open for the 2017 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media. The academy, offered to 25 participants, will take place Dec. 3-8, 2017, at the Poynter campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tuition is free, thanks to the generous support of the program’s naming sponsor, TEGNA Foundation, with additional funding from The New York Times. To learn more and apply by Aug. 18, go here. . . .”

Google-lynching

Google Creates Interactive Site on Lynching

The history of lynching and racial terror in America is the focus of an ambitious new project launched Tuesday by Google, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative,” Zeba Blay reported Tuesday for HuffPost Black Voices.

“Google has helped create a new interactive site titled ‘Lynching in America,’ which is based on an 80-page publication by the EJI. Its research has been adapted into a powerful visual narrative about the horror and brutality that generations of black Americans have faced.

“The site consists of audio stories from the descendants of lynching victims, and a documentary short called ‘Uprooted,’ which chronicles the impact of lynching on black families. The project also includes an interactive map that details locations of racial terror lynchings, complete with profiles of the victims and the stories behind their deaths. . . .”

Features Group Honors Diversity Reporting

The staffs of the Seattle Times, Kansas City Star and Seattle’s online Equal Voice News won awards for diversity in digital features Tuesday in the annual competition by the Society for Features Journalism.

Bianca Quilantan

Bianca Quilantan

In addition, Bianca Quilantan of California State University was named the “Best College Features Journalist in the Country.”

More than 700 entries were judged in the contest, which honors the craft of feature storytelling and the people who do it for a living at news organizations in the United States and Canada. Winners will be recognized at SFJ’s national conference Sept. 27-30 in Kansas City, Mo.,” the society said.

The Seattle Times won for “Under Our Skin: What Do We Mean When We Talk About Race?” The judges said, “This is a thought-provoking collection of community voices, elegantly presented. It’s easy to poke around, linger and revisit the well-shot videos.”

The Kansas City Star won for “I Am: Raising a Black Child,”about which judges said, “The first-person video aspect of these already moving, engrossing and highly personal stories adds an emotional layer of vulnerability. Perfect storytelling.”

Equal Voice News, an online newspaper that reports on issues affecting poor and low-income families, won for “America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty.” “This story illuminates an unusual facet of the immigration debate. The digital display – which includes video, photos, documents and pull-out quotes – helps to explain the complicated issue,” judges said.

The judges said of Quilantan, “This reporter has a wonderful voice and eye — we couldn’t help but notice that she did most of her own photography. It’s obvious that her subjects trust her as she is able to extract telling details. Loved the story ideas. Overall, great job.”

Among the first-place awardees in other categories were Nancy McLaughlin of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C.; Nathan Ruiz of the O’Colly at Oklahoma State; Shelly Yang, Monty Davis and Aaron Randle of the Kansas City Star; Hannah Dreier of the Associated Press; and the staff, WebMD, and Soledad O’Brien’s Starfish Media.

15 Years of ‘Journal-isms’ Online

Monday, June 12, marked the 15th year of the online “Journal-isms” column, hence the “15 Years Online” tag in the logo at the top of the page and at right.rplogo15years

“Journal-isms” began in 1991 in the NABJ Journal, a monthly print publication of the National Association of Black Journalists. It continued into the late ’90s and was revived as an online product in 2002, when the late Dori J. Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, was seeking a counterpoint to the online media columns of the day, which did not sufficiently address diversity topics and news of journalists of color.

The column refocused to include Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans and was posted three times a week. In 2016, a year after Maynard’s death, the institute and “Journal-isms” parted ways, with the institute citing a change of direction.

In its latest incarnation, on this site and on TheRoot.com, the column has become the centerpiece of a newly certified tax-exempt corporation, Journal-isms, Inc., that was hastened into existence with the support of readers who continue to contribute to a Go Fund Me drive. Look for further developments under the Journal-isms umbrella.

Meanwhile, the column is seeking a copy editor to succeed Bill Elsen, a veteran journalist and diversity advocate who is moving on after seven years. Readers owe him a debt of gratitude. Those interested in picking up the mantle should contact Richard Prince at princeeditor (at) yahoo.com.

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