Returning June 7, barring breaking news

Line in Climate-Change Speech Turned on Its Head

Ebony Pledges to Pay Writers in 30 Days

‘Mission Accomplished’ as NABJ Touts Turnaround

Jefferson Named CBS News V.P. of Operations

Nooses, Painted ‘N-Word’ Add to Hateful Week

$150,000 to Train Investigative Journalists

Dallas Paper Wants Details in Ambush of Police

N.Y. Times Public Editor Departs With Warnings

Short Takes

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Pittsburgh lit up government buildings green Friday night in support of Mayor Bill Peduto’s executive order honoring the Paris Agreement on climate change. (Credit: City of Pittsburgh)

Pittsburgh lit up government buildings in green Friday night in support of Mayor Bill Peduto’s executive order honoring the Paris Agreement on climate change. (Credit: City of Pittsburgh)

Line in Climate-Change Speech Turned on Its Head

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” President Donald Trump said Thursday in announcing that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

His supporters announced a “Pittsburgh, not Paris” rally across from the White House on Saturday to celebrate, Nick Juliano reported for Politico.

But the citizens of Pittsburgh, as represented via their media, appeared to want no part of Trump’s position.

Daily News in New York

Daily News in New York on Friday

” ‘Pittsburgh not Paris’ becomes call to action for Democrats and Republicans,” the Tribune-Review headlined on Friday.

“Owners of nearly 500 buildings in the city, plus many other private enterprises have signed on to carbon reduction initiatives that mirror the Paris Climate Accord, according to the Downtown-based nonprofit Green Building Alliance,” Bob Bauder reported for the newspaper.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto “on Friday issued an executive order reiterating his commitment to reducing the city’s carbon footprint a day after he blasted President Trump for mentioning Pittsburgh during a White House speech about his decision not to participate in the Paris Climate Accord. . . .”

Adalberto Toledo added for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The city of Pittsburgh announced on Twitter Friday its intention to light up government buildings green in support of Mayor Bill Peduto’s Paris Agreement executive order.

“City Hall as well as bridges and other city buildings will light up green. . . .”

Editorially, the Post-Gazette was unequivocal on Thursday.

President Donald Trump should not remove the United States from the Paris climate agreement.  . . . If the United States pulls out of the Paris accord, it simply won’t have a place at the table to negotiate the future of energy production and consumption and its effect on economic development. The best interests of America lie inside this decision-making tent. . . .”

Downstate, the Friday “Attytood” column by Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Daily News was headlined, “Trump to Pittsburgh: Drop dead. Again.”

Bunch wrote, “Carbon pollution nearly strangled Pittsburgh once. Today, Donald Trump’s phony concern for that city was actually another death threat — one that is more complicated yet also more insidious. But this much is certain: Dirty air, drought and rising sea levels are unaware of national boundaries.

“Citizens of Pittsburgh, Paris, Philadelphia, and Pretoria are all riding in the same leaky boat. It’s time for Captain Queeg at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to move away from the big wheel and let America’s cities, our states, and our true friends around the globe try to steer us to safe harbor.”

Ebony Pledges to Pay Writers in 30 Days

Larry Goldbetter

Larry Goldbetter

Ebony’s lawyer promised Friday to pay the writers it owes within 30 days, the president of the National Writers Union told Journal-isms.

“They said they will pay off everything they owed, oldest invoices first, within 30 days of contract . . .,” Larry Goldbetter said by telephone after a conversation with Renee Lewis, Ebony’s general counsel.

However, Goldbetter added, “It didn’t sound like they have much of a plan.” He said the union is representing 14 writers who are owed $30,000.

Ebony officials have not responded to inquiries about the debts since early May.

Greg Dool, whose folio: site reports on magazines, wrote Thursday, “In a time of unprecedented attacks against the reputations of legacy media brands, the new owners of Ebony magazine are offering quite a case study in how not to handle a PR crisis. . . .”


‘Mission Accomplished’ as NABJ Touts Turnaround

The National Association of Black Journalists achieved its projected $1.2 million surplus for 2016 and is outpacing last year’s registrations for its upcoming August convention, executive consultant Drew Berry said Friday.

Drew Berry

Drew Berry

Berry, returning in 2015 after NABJ dismissed its executive director as part of cost-cutting to address a $400,000 deficit, told Facebook friends, “Mission accomplished with NABJ!”

Berry, a former television station manager and media consultant, helped to accomplish a similar turnaround for NABJ in 2010 and since then had been active in monitoring the organization’s finances, sometimes as part of a group of activist members critical of the association’s leadership.

He said on Facebook that he has accepted an offer to “Focus on new client and existing clients effective June 30.”

NABJ announced a national search for a permanent director, to be “led by the respected New York-based firm, Harris Rand Lusk, and will begin immediately,” an announcement said.

“Under the leadership of NABJ President Sarah Glover, Berry worked closely with NABJ staffers, and the NABJ board and members, to oversee a financial turnaround at the organization,” the statement continued.

“Berry will continue to provide consulting services to the NABJ until June 30. Former NABJ Executive Director JoAnne Lyons Wooten, who has led NABJ’s fundraising efforts the past two years as a consultant, will be NABJ’s point of contact until a permanent executive director is hired. . . .”

With 3,400 members, NABJ is the nation’s largest journalist of color organization. Berry said 1,379 people had registered for its Aug. 9-13 convention in New Orleans. That compares with 858 NABJ registrants by June 1, 2016, for last year’s convention in Washington, held jointly with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. June 1 was the pre-registration deadline.

Berry said in a telephone interview that the financial turnaround was accomplished by renegotiating all of NABJ’s 12 to 15 contracts, a successful marketing strategy for the D.C. convention, “knowing what our value is” in setting pricing strategies and creating “win, win, win” situations for NABJ, its members and partners, as the association prefers to call its sponsors.

The organization also signed a three-month contract with the Weber Shandwick communications agency, where NABJ member Brett Pulley, former dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University, is executive vice president and managing director, corporate content and media strategy.

The eight-member national NABJ office also now includes Angela Robinson, former Atlanta anchor and reporter, as a program manager, and Kerwin Speight, formerly community affairs manager at WRC-TV in Washington, as senior operations manager.

Jefferson Named CBS News V.P. of Operations

Rick Jefferson

Rick Jefferson

Rick Jefferson has been named vice president of news operations at CBS News, the network announced Thursday.

Jefferson, who has been director of production since March 2016, reports to CBS News President David Rhodes.

“In his new position, Jefferson will be responsible for the division’s technical personnel and facilities worldwide, including Hard News, Prime Time and Public Affairs,” the announcement said.

“Jefferson will oversee CBS News’ bureaus and operations for coverage of such events as conventions, elections and presidential trips. He’ll also be responsible for exploring the latest technologies and lead the design of advanced broadcast technology for CBS News. . . .”

In LeBron James' home state, Jeff Darcy of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland drew his own rendition of what Northeast Ohioans might spray-paint on James' gates. (Credit: Jeff Darcy/Plain Dealer)

In LeBron James’ home state, Jeff Darcy of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland drew the  kind of spray-painting that admiring Northeast Ohioans might prefer.

Nooses, Painted ‘N-Word’ Add to Hateful Week

A noose found hanging inside “a shrine to black history” in the nation’s capital and a spray-painted racial slur at a home of one of sports’ biggest icons provided grist for commentary at the end of a week that “has been especially bad,” in the words of Eliott C. McLaughlin, reporting Thursday for CNN.

“The hate keeps coming.”

Two nooses were found at Smithsonian museums in the past week, one outside the Hirshhorn Museum last Friday and one inside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on Wednesday,” Jesse J. Holland reported Thursday for the Associated Press.

Philip Kennicott, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic, explored the idea Thursday of displaying the noose found in the African American museum as an example of living history.

He concluded, “The museum has what it needs, which is proof of an ongoing history of cultural violence, and that shameful object has already begun its permanent transmogrification into a museum piece.”

After a racial slur was found painted on the front gates of his Los Angeles-area home, NBA superstar LeBron James said Wednesday at a news conference, “No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is — it’s tough,” Scott Cacciola and Jonah Engel Bromwich reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

“And we got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”

The statement was red meat for some. “Earlier today, Fox Sports 1′s Jason Whitlock took issue with [LeBron] James speaking about racism, because he believes he hasn’t really dealt with it — because he’s rich and it’s only a problem for poor people,” (video) “Black Adam Schefter” wrote Friday for

“He also accused LeBron of making his comments solely for the benefit of ‘Twitter and social media.’

“A few hours later, Jason Whitlock then had Colin Cowherd and Chris Broussard on his show ‘Speak For Yourself,’ and he got into a heated debate with Broussard as he refused to apologize for what he said earlier. In fact, he expanded even more on his original comments.”

Separately, the Charlotte Observer editorialized Tuesday that “the president’s slow response to publicly comment on hateful acts committed by someone other than ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ is far less disturbing than what the Trump administration is planning to do to civil rights enforcement. . . .”

$150,000 to Train Investigative Journalists

The Ida B. Wells Society is receiving a $150,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to expand its training programs aimed at supporting journalists of color, Knight announced on Thursday,” Joseph Lichterman reported for Nieman Lab.

Nikole Hannah-Jones (Credit: Media Matters for America via YouTube)

Nikole Hannah-Jones (Credit: Media Matters for America via YouTube)

“Launched in 2016, and named for the esteemed 19th century investigative journalist Ida B. Wells, the organization was founded to provide training and mentorship for reporters — of journalists of color who want to be doing [investigative] reporting, but don’t see a path for themselves and have never seen other journalists of color doing this job,” New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the Ida B. Wells Society’s co-founders, told my colleague Ricardo Bilton earlier this year. . . .”

Dallas Paper Wants Details in Ambush of Police

The Dallas Morning News is asking a federal court to release details of last July’s ambush killing of five Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officers in a standoff that ended with the suspect killed by a bomb-carrying police robot.

Police Chief David Brown

Dallas Police Chief David Brown

Often when great crimes like these happen, a trial follows in which lawyers and government officials sift through the endless details of the events leading to the crime, and produce a narrative that explains if not why things happened, then certainly how they happened and in what order and with what consequences,” the Morning News editorialized on Thursday.

“That has not happened here, largely because Micah Johnson, the architect of our anguish, was killed by police before the sun rose after the night of the murders.

“Johnson remains unlamented here. But with his death, a silence has gathered over that night’s events. Legitimate questions — including about Chief David Brown’s nationally unprecedented decision to order the use of a robot to kill Johnson — have not yet been addressed. . . .”

The editorial also said, “We urge the judge to give full weight to the city’s right to see unvarnished and unredacted everything investigators have learned about the horror visited upon Dallas last July 7, and about the heroism that rose up to meet it.

“Here’s a sampling of information The Dallas Morning News has requested that has been denied or blocked by the Dallas Police Department:

“Transcripts and recordings of the negotiations with Micah Johnson
“All camera and surveillance footage of the July 7 incident
“All Dallas Area Rapid Transit police reports related to the shooting
“Medical examiner’s autopsy and investigative report”

N.Y. Times Public Editor Departs With Warnings

There probably hasn’t been a time in recent American history when the role of the media was more important than now,” Liz Spayd wrote Friday in her final column as New York Times public editor. “The Trump administration is drowning in scandal, the country is calcified into two partisan halves.

Liz Spayd

Liz Spayd

“And large newsrooms are faced with a choice: to maintain an independent voice, but one as aggressive and unblinking as the days of Watergate. Or to morph into something more partisan, spraying ammunition at every favorite target and openly delighting in the chaos.

“If I think back to one subject I’ve harped on the most as public editor over the last year, this is probably it. Digital disruption and collapsing business models get all the attention, but the prospect of major media losing its independence, and its influence, ranks equally high among the industry’s perils.

“Derision may feel more satisfying, but in the long run stories that are measured in tone are more powerful. Whether journalists realize it or not, with impartiality comes authority — and right now it’s in short supply. . . .”

Spayd also wrote, “Media pundits and many readers this week were questioning the decision to end this role, fearing that without it, no one will have the authority, insider perspective or ability to demand answers from top Times editors. There’s truth in that. But it overlooks a larger issue.

“It’s not really about how many critics there are, or where they’re positioned, or what Times editor can be rounded up to produce answers. It’s about having an institution that is willing to seriously listen to that criticism, willing to doubt its impulses and challenge the wisdom of the inner sanctum.

“Having the role was a sign of institutional integrity, and losing it sends an ambiguous signal: Is the leadership growing weary of such advice or simply searching for a new model? We’ll find out soon enough. . . .”

Short Takes

  • A Venezuelan court on May 31 fined the independent news website La Patilla the equivalent of U.S.$500,000 for republishing a 2015 story from a Spanish newspaper alleging that a top Venezuelan official had ties to drug trafficking, according to news reports,” the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Friday. “A civil court judge in Caracas declared that La Patilla had inflicted ‘moral damage’ on Diosdado Cabello, a former vice president and a close ally of President Nicolás Maduro, according to news reports. . . .”

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