Returning July 17, barring breaking news

Anti-Migrant Government Extended Warm Welcome

Suspended Fox Business Host Denies Harassment

Maher Links N. Koreans and U.S. Nail Salons

Editors to Reflect on 50 Years of Diversity Efforts

Journal-isms Inc. Receives First Seed Grant

Support for Idea of Slavery as Motivation for 1776

A Host Advises on Conducting That Great Interview

Virgil Smith, Ex-Gannett V.P., Starts Opinion Site

Fusion Website Rebrands as Splinter

Short Takes

Support Journal-isms

2>Anti-Migrant Government Extended Warm Welcome

At least three American journalists of color — Darlene Superville of the Associated Press, Abby Phillip of the Washington Post and Toluse Olorunnipa of Bloomberg News, accompanied President Trump on his trip to Europe for the Group of 20 summit meeting this week, but no journalist quite had the perspective of Remi Adekoya.

Adekoya, who writes for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and is former political editor of the Warsaw Business Journal, is described as Polish-Nigerian, meaning his father is Nigerian and his mother Polish.

He grew up in Nigeria but worked in Poland, where black people were scarce. Adekoya was on hand Thursday to describe for listeners of the American program “Democracy Now!” why Trump would choose Poland as the first stop on his tour. Trump said there that “Western civilization” was at stake.

“Poland is one of the main countries which refused to take in any migrants during the 2015, 2016 migrant crisis in Europe, when suddenly a million refugees found themselves in Europe,” Adekoya said. “So, this — so, the fact Trump made this speech in Poland is significant. He would not, most probably, have been able to make this kind of speech in Western Europe to the kind of reception which he did get in Poland, which was very positive. And like I said, supporters of this right-wing government were basically shouting, ‘Donald Trump! Donald Trump!’ throughout the speech.” Many of those supporters were bused in, Adekoya said.

Host Amy Goodman asked about his background.  “I was born in Nigeria, lived there for the first 17 years of my life,” Adekoya replied.  “Then I moved to Poland in 1995 as a student and lived there for—living there from since then, essentially. Now I shuttle between the U.K. and Poland. And, yes, that’s it.

Remi Adekoya

Remi Adekoya

“I’ve seen the changes in Poland. When I arrived in Poland, the country was just six years out of communism. There were very few foreigners in the country, as you can imagine, definitely very few black people.

“Things weren’t always very pleasant. With time, things improved regarding the treatment of foreigners and treatment of black people. I mean, there was a time in the mid to late ’90s when you could hardly walk on the street without hearing a racial insult hurled at you.

“But towards the early 2000s, some 10 years after the end of communism, and when Poland joined the EU finally in 2004, you know, the economy improved, and people’s moods generally improved. Poles got a little bit more used to seeing foreigners on the streets. Those kind of, let’s say, racial insults just hurled on the streets, just like that, stopped, and things improved vastly.

“Unfortunately, since this government came back in, the current Polish government, in 2015, they used the migrant crisis of 2015. When there were a million refugees, essentially, within Europe’s borders looking for where to go, they used that crisis to scare Poles into essentially making the argument that, ‘Look, look at what is happening in France. Look at what is happening in countries like the U.K. They’ve got terrorism there because of all these Muslims who are there. Do we want that? Obviously, we don’t.

“So, we can’t allow them—the EU, that is—to push on us, you know, these migrant refugees, these Muslims, and tell us that we have to take care of them, because, essentially, well, maybe while not all Muslims might be terrorists, but some of them definitely are, so why take the risk?’ . . . .”

Interestingly, Adekoya told Journal-isms by email, his skin color proved to be a positive in his work as a journalist there.

“To be honest, my skin colour worked to my advantage as a journalist in Poland. When I started covering parliament, it was often easier for me to get an interview with a top politician than for Polish journos. The politicians were simply curious about me as the only black journalist they’d ever dealt with! I also got noticed more easily in general in the journalistic world. So it ended up being a plus :)”

Michael Ottey, an African American assignment editor on the foreign/national desk at the Los Angeles Times, has also remarked on Polish reactions to black people. After being laid off in 2009 as assistant foreign editor at the Miami Herald, Ottey decided to travel around the world, filing “Mike Tends to Travel” dispatches online as he did so.

Ottey’s most popular blog, he said, was from 2013: “POLAND: Stop Staring At Me!

Suspended Fox Business Host Denies Harassment

Fox Business Network host Charles Payne took to social media Friday to rebut allegations of sexual harassment that led to his suspension from the channel,” Steven Battaglio reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times.

Charles Payne

Charles Payne

“ ‘I will fight this like a lion armed with truth,’ Payne tweeted Friday. ‘Thanks so much to all those who have reached out in support. #FightingBack.’

“Payne was removed from the air indefinitely Thursday, hours after the Los Angeles Times reported that he was being investigated by FBN parent 21st Century Fox. A female political analyst who was a frequent guest on the network brought her allegations of sexual misconduct last month to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the law firm investigating harassment claims for Fox.

“An FBN representative said in a statement that ‘the matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all of the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely manner.’ . . . .”

“The woman’s name is not being disclosed by The Times because her allegations include being coerced into a sexual relationship by Payne.

“Payne, who hosted the nightly FBN program ‘Making Money,’ criticized the media for the reports.

“ ‘Not surprising media outlets that hate President Trump most put out most twisted stories on me,’ Payne tweeted.

“Payne acknowledged to the National Enquirer on Wednesday — the day before his suspension — that he was in a three-year ‘romantic relationship’ with the woman. But he has called the claims of harassment ‘an ugly lie.’ . . .”

Maher Links N. Koreans and U.S. Nail Salons

The last time HBO comedian Bill Maher surged into national headlines, he was on the job,” Erik Wemple wrote Friday for the Washington Post. “In an edition of his show ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ the host was trying to be his edgy best in a talk with GOP Sen. Ben Sasse. In response to an invitation from the Nebraskan to come ‘work in the fields,’ Maher said, ‘Work in the fields? Senator, I am a house n–––––.’

“Individuals, appropriately, slammed Maher for deploying a racial slur. Though the highly smug host has long deplored public apologies, he managed to eke one out. ‘Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry,’ said a statement from Maher.

“This time, Maher doesn’t have the ‘banter of a live moment’ excuse. Nor does he have much of an excuse on any other front, either. Here’s what he tweeted this afternoon:

“Though the nail-salon tweet poses no problem vis-a-vis the show’s airings, it does indicate his priorities: Stabs at humor — extremely lame ones included — take precedence over everything, including respect for Asians, African Americans, or whatever group the comedian feels like stereotyping today. That he chose to do this while allegedly on vacation reflects his full-time commitment to bigotry.

“HBO didn’t return a request for comment right away.”

The Kerner Commission report was issued March 1, 1968,

The Kerner Commission report was issued on March 1, 1968.

Editors to Reflect on 50 Years of Diversity Efforts

A panel at the joint convention of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers this fall will incorporate suggestions from Journal-isms readers on how to commemorate a landmark report on integrating the nation’s newsrooms.

Fifty years ago next March 1, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, shook the news media with its declaration that “the journalistic profession has been shockingly backward in seeking out, hiring, training, and promoting Negroes.”

The Kerner report, commissioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson in reaction to the urban uprisings of the 1960s, also said, “News organizations must employ enough Negroes in positions of significant responsibility to establish an effective link to Negro actions and ideas and to meet legitimate employment expectations.”

The report led to training programs for journalists of color and increased hiring. In 1978, ASNE set a goal of achieving parity in newsrooms with the percentage of people of color in the general population by 2000. Twenty years later, the goal was changed to 2025. The 2000 goal was not met, but “diversity” is now part of industry language and outreach efforts continue. Ethnic diversity now also includes Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans.

Journal-isms asked readers for ideas on how to commemorate the anniversary, then suggested a discussion of the issue at the ASNE-APME-APPM convention in Washington in October.

The organizations have approved such a panel for 9:45 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10. “Kerner Commission at 50: What did we get right? What’s next?” moderated by Journal-isms columnist Richard Prince, will include veteran journalists:

  • Paul Delaney, retired senior editor at the New York Times and a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.
  • Albert E. Fitzpatrick, a member of ASNE’s Minorities Committee in 1978 when ASNE’s diversity goals were adopted. He has been vice president for diversity at the old Knight Ridder company, NABJ president and executive editor at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.
  • Dorothy Gilliam, first African American female reporter at the Washington Post, an NABJ president and former board chair of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who in a career of more than 50 years in print and broadcast media was part of the Summer Program for Minority Journalists, which helped train the first group of African American reporters after the Kerner report.

Ideas from Journal-isms readers and others were varied. Nearly all expressed disappointment with progress on diversity.  Suggestions included an emphasis on integrating news industry leadership ranks, an idea that ASNE has embraced; collecting journalistic work of black and brown journalists; public conversations between veteran and younger journalists of color, more vigorously measuring diversity progress and, more fundamentally, simply implementing the commission’s recommendations.

The Kerner Commission’s Chapter 15, “The News Media and the Disorders,” is here: http://bit.ly/2nb8mZr

A brief summary is here: http://www.eisenhowerfoundation.org/docs/kerner.pdf  (Go to Chapter 15.)

Journal-isms Inc. Receives First Seed Grant

The Stewart R. Mott Foundation, “an innovative foundation focused on small, strategic grant-making” based in Washington, has provided Journal-isms Inc. with its first seed grant since being granted federal tax-exempt status in March.

“We think you’re doing the right thing at the right moment,” Executive Director Conrad Martin said by telephone of the $10,000 seed grant. Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, a trustee to the foundation and a Journal-isms supporter, suggested approaching the foundation and Martin.

Journal-isms Inc. is a legal entity created to publish Richard Prince’s Journal-isms. Journal-isms began a “Stay Woke” GoFundMe campaign in November, nine months after suddenly finding itself steering an independent path. The drive has raised $20,271 from 178 people in seven months.

Separately, the Ford Foundation has generously supported the column.

(Credit: Democracy Now!)

(Credit: “Democracy Now!”)

Support for Idea of Slavery as Motivation for 1776

Three years ago, African American historian Gerald Horne challenged the traditional narrative of the American Revolution, publishing a book that maintained that the colonists were rebelling because Britain was moving toward abolishing slavery.

The mainstream media by and large ignored Horne’s book, “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.”

However, Horne said in an interview on Washington’s WPFW-FM, part of the progressive Pacifica network, other historians are beginning to back him up.

Alan Taylor ‘American Revolutions’. Robert Parkinson. ‘The Common Cause’. ‘Scars of Independence’ by Holger Hoock,” Horne recalled by email after his interview Friday on the “Arise!” program hosted by Bill Fletcher . “These ‘liberal’ revisions diverge from the mainstream and have received some coverage. My radical view which places Africans at the center of the story has not. I wonder why??”

He later added, “See also Harvard Law’s Michael Klarman:The Framers’ Coup” which de-romanticizes the vaunted Constitution,” making a broader point.

Horne alluded on the program to the little-discussed fact that for 50 of the nation’s first 60 years, the U.S. president was a slaveholder. He compared the colonists’ drive to that of Ian Smith, who was prime minister of Britain’s rebellious colony of Rhodesia.

Mr. Smith’s resistance to black rule led to a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965 and, later, severe repression and a seven-year guerrilla war, costing about 30,000 lives, most of them black fighters and civilians,” Alan Cowell of the New York Times wrote when Smith died in 2007.

The interview with Horne can be heard by clicking on the “Arise!” program for 9 a.m. Friday in the “archives” section of the WPFW website. It begins about halfway through the show.

 Audie Cornish says, "People go like, 'Oh, NPR interviews they’re so great blah blah blah.' It’s like you do… It’s like fireworks, you know? There’s a lot of planning that goes into fireworks. Even though what you see in the end looks kind of beautiful and chaotic and surprising." (Credit: Stephen Voss/NPR)


Audie Cornish says, “People go like, ‘Oh, NPR interviews they’re so great blah blah blah.’ It’s like you do… It’s like fireworks, you know? There’s a lot of planning that goes into fireworks. Even though what you see in the end looks kind of beautiful and chaotic and surprising.” (Credit: Stephen Voss/NPR)

A Host Advises on Conducting That Great Interview

“Is there something that you ask when you don’t know what to ask?” Jesse Thorn of NPR asked Audie Cornish, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

“Do you ever not know what to ask? I mean if you’re talking to somebody for 15 minutes maybe you’re trying to get something real particular but…”

For the next five weeks, Columbia Journalism Review and MaximumFun.org plan to broadcast 10 conversations with some of the world’s greatest interviewers, CJR told readers on Tuesday. Hosted by Thorn, the podcast, called “The Turnaround,” will examine the science and art of journalism.

Cornish, the first interviewee, responded to the question above with a tip about what to say when you’re in doubt.

“Because I know the conversation will be edited down, I don’t necessarily have the luxury to go on a fishing expedition,” Cornish said. “So I often write my questions in advance wherever possible. I rewrite and noodle around with the language even though I know for [a] fact [that] I won’t necessarily read it word for word. And I always have more questions than I need.

“In fact my poor producers and editors always see me coming in with like a long script, and then I’ll say, ‘Let’s put a star next to the things that actually matter.’ Like, even though I have 15 questions. Because I want to make sure I at least get the things we absolutely know we want to ask, even if they don’t yield great answers. It’s not that I run out of things to ask, you know what I mean?

“It’s more that I have occasionally, where you just like flip over the paper, and you’re just having a good conversation, and one thing leads to another and things can go very easily. When in doubt, I often say something, like, very straightforward, and this is directly from the Sound Reporting handbook. You know… ‘What haven’t I asked that I should have? What’s something you wish people would ask you that they never do?’ Like, people oftentimes have an answer for that.”

Virgil Smith, Ex-Gannett V.P., Starts Opinion Site

Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith, who retired in 2015 as vice president for diversity at the Gannett Co., launched a website Friday devoted to commentary on North Carolina public policy issues.

With Smith are three former editorial page editors with whom he worked as publisher of the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times: Jim Buchanan, Julie Martin and Joy Franklin.

We launch today, July 7, with a commentary about the deportation of the undocumented parents of American-born children,” carolinacommentary.com says in its introduction.

“Writers for the site hope to contribute to more fact-based dialogue, less polarization and more in-depth awareness of issues that affect North Carolinians. . . . North Carolina news organizations are invited to pick up and publish Carolina Commentary editorials. They also are invited to email their editorials to commentary@carolinacommentary.com for publication on the website. Readers are invited to join the discussion.”

Fusion Website Rebrands as Splinter

Fusion, the undefinable culture news site owned by Univision, is rebranding as Splinter, Cale G. Weissman reported for ‎Fast Company on Friday. “Business Insider first broke the news, and it has been confirmed to Fast Company.

“According to a press release from Univision, Splinter will ‘serve as a news and politics site for a justice-minded, inclusive, and incisive audience.’ BI reports that current Fusion (now Splinter) employees are befuddled by the rebranding. Rightfully so, in my opinion.

“Fusion has long been a cautionary tale for new media travails and failures. It launched with much fanfare and a roster of many high-profile names, yet offered little explanation about what it exactly it was. For the last few years, Fusion has trudged along with a few refocuses and layoffs. Most recently it said it would report on social justice.

“When Univision bought Gawker (after the site filed for bankruptcy), it almost seemed like Fusion would serve as a place for some [of] its writers who didn’t fit under the Gizmodo or Jezebel umbrellas. Though many of them have moved to Gizmodo’s Special Projects Desk. Whatever it is, Fusion is now Splinter, which is owned by Univision, which owns Gawker. Long live Splunisionker. . . .”

Maxwell Tani  wrote for Business Insider, “There has been confusion broadly about Fusion.net for months.

“Fusion.net, a Univision site that merged into Gizmodo Media Group, the home of the former Gawker Media sites, became Fusion.kinja.com in May when the Fusion television channel, a separate entity operated by Univision, assumed the Fusion.net domain.

“GMG site leads and executives took weeks to develop a rebranded name for Fusion.kinja.com, which some view as an opportunity for the site to have a fresh start after years of traffic woes and occasional confusion over the divergent missions of the television channel and the website.

“In an interview in June, GMG CEO Raju Narisetti said it made sense to make a clean break between the website and the Fusion television channel. . . .”

Weissman asked, “With all the weird media rebrandings of late, one question remains: Which is the worst? Tronc, Oath, or Splinter?”

As of Saturday, Tronc was ahead.

Short Takes

  • One-by-one, copy editors at The New York Times are learning today that they won’t have jobs at the newspaper once the latest round of cuts takes place and are being encouraged to apply for buyouts,” Benjamin Mullin reported Thursday for the Poynter Institute. “The unwelcome news is being broken in meetings between copy editors and two-person teams of editors, according to a source at The New York Times who has been granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. . . .”
  • The church was in distress and likely heading to ruin,” Corey G. Johnson and John Romano reported Friday for the Tampa Bay Times. “Loan defaults and foreclosure proceedings had the members of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in fear of losing their historic building on the edge of downtown Tampa. Elderly worshippers on fixed incomes were implored to donate more and more to save the church from potential calamity. Yet unbeknownst to New Salem leaders during this time, a fund designed for churchgoers in financial crisis was being used to quietly direct tens of thousands of dollars to Pastor Henry J. Lyons, as well as to non-profit organizations he created, according to interviews and documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. . . .”
  • The Baltimore Sun Media Group plans to close City Paper later this year,” Brandon Weigel reported Friday for City Paper in Baltimore. “No official end date has been announced for the alt-weekly, now in its 40th year. . . .”
  • Ava DuVernay will write and direct a limited series about the Central Park Five for Netflix,” Brittany Spanos reported Thursday for Rolling Stone. “The five-episode drama is set to premiere on the video streaming service in 2019. . . . . Each episode of the series will focus on each specific teenager and [his] upbringing [in] Harlem through [his] wrongful conviction, release and achievement of a long awaited settlement from the city of New York as awarded by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The five men — four black and one Hispanic — had been accused of assaulting, raping and sodomizing 28-year-old Trisha Meili who had been jogging around Central Park during the evening of April 19, 1989. Each man spent six to 13 years in prison before Matias Reyes came forward in 2002, confessing to be the sole rapist in the case. . . .”
  • Bounce, the African American-oriented multicast network, is furthering its original programming offerings with an Ed Gordon special featuring interviews with big-name African American celebrities,” Diana Marszalek reported Thursday for Broadcasting & Cable. “The special will include Gordon, host of Bounce’s news magazine show, interviewing Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Strahan, Omari Hardwick and Cedric the Entertainer among others. The show will air at 10 p.m. July 17. . . .”
  • New Story — a two-day event held at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media from June 16-17 — showcased a number of new platforms, projects, and enterprises that have sprung up to shape the narrative of Appalachia from the inside out,” Catherine V. Moore reported Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review. “Three hundred people and organizations — all from West Virginia and surrounding Central Appalachian states, all seeking to tell the region’s stories with voice, ambition, and nuance — signed up. Moore also wrote, “Initiated through a $97,000 gift from the Benedum Foundation, as well as institutional partnerships, 100 Days recently received funding for a second phase. They are now in the middle of shaping what the re-vamp will look like. They just hired two new editors to round out their staff of 14 full- and part-timers. . . .”
  • An effort last month to move a Confederate monument from public property in downtown Tampa failed on a 4-3 vote by the Hillsborough County Commission,” the Tampa Bay Times editorialized on Friday. “But this week, Commissioner Victor Crist reversed himself and now wants the monument moved to a more appropriate site. This is a breakthrough moment that could bring the community together, and commissioners should seize on this opening to find common ground. . . .” The editorial board also wrote, “The best solution would be to move the memorial to private property. . . .”
  • Jason Loviglio, associate professor and founding chair of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, explored the demise of the “Mark Steiner Show” in Baltimore in an essay Friday for current.org. “His eponymous public affairs show on Morgan State University’s WEAA is the third iteration of the program over three different stations, one of which he helped to found. Through his show and career, Steiner has become a local institution and an instructive outlier in public broadcasting. . . . Steiner grew up white and Jewish in black Baltimore, the son of parents who embraced the ideal of integration in a very segregated city. . . .”
  • Among the bulk of must-attend events at ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, this year was Ford’s private press junket brunch spearheaded by Ford’s multicultural communications manager, Raj Register,” Lala Martinez reported Thursday for rollingout.com. “The festival sponsor hosted an exclusive dining experience for a hand-selected group of Black journalists representing a portion of the most respected media outlets in the country. The journalists were also later gifted an Echo Dot created by Amazon to help enhance their digital experience. . . . The outlets in attendance included rolling out, People magazine, Interactive One, Bossip, NY Beacon, ABC Radio, Hip Hollywood, Upscale, Fandango, Hello Beautiful, Cafe Mocha Radio, Associated Press, Huffington Post, The Grio, Always A-List and Madame Noir.”
  • Reporters Without Borders said Thursday that it “condemns the latest judicial proceedings against Ali Soumana, a newspaper journalist who is often critical of Niger’s government. He is currently facing up to five years in prison on a charge of publishing stolen documents. . . .”
  • “A Johannesburg High Court order forbidding a political organization from gathering outside the home of journalists who have reported on corruption, threatening them, or inciting others to harm them is a welcome victory for press freedom,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

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As Marc Steiner signs off, Baltimore loses a valuable democratic forum