Paper’s Staffing Out of Step With Diverse Region

‘Diversity’ Said to Miss Point of Affirmative Action

Media See Threat to Freedoms in Leak Crackdown

Immigration Plan: ‘Make America White Again’

Overlooked: Trump Appointments to Federal Courts

Alternative-Media Group to Take Diversity Census

After 9 Years, U.S. Refuses Mexican Ex-Journalist

Maria Elena Salinas to Leave Univision Anchor Chair

Alvarez, Cardwell Taking N.Y. Times Buyouts

Margaret Holt, Bishop in a Journalism Cathedral

New Martin Show Explores Athletes’ Second Careers

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Martin Reynolds, co-executive director of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, compares diversity statistics for the Houston area with those in the Houston Chronicle newsroom in a June 28 training session.

Martin G. Reynolds, co-executive director of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, compares diversity statistics for the Houston area with those in the Houston Chronicle newsroom in a June 27 training session at the Chronicle.

Paper’s Staffing Out of Step With Diverse Region

Seven journalists of color are departing the newsroom of the Houston Chronicle just weeks after concerned employees invited in diversity trainers hoping to jolt management into addressing its longstanding lack of newsroom inclusion.

Nancy Barnes

Nancy Barnes

Houston is considered one of the nation’s most diverse cities, so much that the Asian American Journalists Association announced a week ago that it would hold its 2018 convention there.

“Houston is cited as one of the most diverse cities in the US and it is [one of] the fastest growing Asian communities,” Kathy Chow, AAJA executive director, said Friday by email.

The Hearst-owned Chronicle, however, does not reflect those demographics.

According to figures it submitted to the American Society of News Editors for its annual diversity census, the newsroom is 76.3 percent white, 7.9 percent black, 10 percent Hispanic and 5.8 percent Asian Americans. There are no African American editors, and its top-ranking journalists of color, both Latina, are leaving.

Harris County, where Houston is located, is 42.4 percent Hispanic, 19.7 percent black and 7.2 percent Asian, according to 2016 projections from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city of Houston, according to the 2010 Census, is 43.8 percent Hispanic, 23.7 percent black and 6 percent Asian.

Chronicle Editor Nancy Barnes participated in a discussion of stalled diversity progress last year among board members of ASNE, of which she is on the ladder to become president.

Some said editors were not allowed to hire because of budget constraints and were victimized by the inaction on diversity by previous top editors. “A lot of it could be what they inherited,” Barnes said.

The journalists who have left or are leaving the Chronicle are reporters Sebastian Herrera, Angel Verdejo Jr., Anita Hassan, Dylan Baddour and Bobby Cervantes; Veronica Flores-Paniagua, the Outlook editor and the only person of color on the masthead; and Maria Carrillo, senior editor.

Two Latinas have been hired at the reporter level, and a third for a weekly paper owned by the Chronicle.

Managing Editor Vernon Loeb responded for Barnes by email.

“Of course we are extremely disappointed that Maria Carrillo is leaving us for the Tampa Bay Times. She’ll be missed, and missed as a mentor to our many journalists of color. We always were extremely supportive of her in that role and greatly valued her contribution.

“I should point out that just last week, a stellar Mexican American journalist named Cecilia Balli has joined our Features staff; on Aug. 14 another Mexican American journalist, Alejandra Matos, will join our Austin bureau, and I just today approved hiring a Salavadoran American reporter for our weekly paper in Humble. All three are native Texans, as well.

“Nancy Barnes has been the editor of the Chronicle for almost four years, and I’ve been managing editor for 3 1/2. During our tenure, more than 30 percent of the people we’ve hired — and we’ve hired extensively — have been minority journalists. This is something we are very proud of — but we also know it’s never good enough, especially in a diverse city like Houston, and we want to do even better in the future.”

Carrillo is joining the Tampa Bay Times Aug 28 as assistant managing editor for enterprise, supervising a three-person enterprise team. She had been the enterprise editor at the Chronicle and before that, managing editor of the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.

Maria Carrillo

Maria Carrillo

Carrillo led a “Unity” group in the Chronicle newsroom that met quarterly. The group proposed three moves to address diversity, she told Journal-isms by telephone Friday. Management accepted them all.

One was a mentoring program, open to anyone on the staff. Second was a source directory to which staff members would contribute, to ensure a more diverse list of contacts. Third was cultural awareness training from the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

The Maynard team arrived on June 27 and went over the “Fault Lines” developed by its co-founder Robert C. Maynard, who died in 1993. Some of the remedies for diversity and inclusion have been suggested for 20 or 30 years.

The “Fault Lines” concept “is based on the notion that we as a nation are split along the five Fault Lines of race, class, gender, geography and generation. My father believed that in order to bridge these Fault Lines, journalists must not only admit they exist but also learn to talk, report and write across them. Acknowledging Fault Lines compels us as journalists to seek out those who present a range of views on an issue,” Maynard’s late daughter, Dori J. Maynard, explained.

As the highest-ranking journalist of color in the newsroom, Carrillo said she was a sounding board for colleagues’ frustration. “It was tough being the only minority senior editor. It is hard,” she said. “A lot of people came my way for help and support.” Their concerns: “Not connecting with an editor. Do they feel quite as valued? Do they have strong relationships with their editors?”

Vernon Loeb

Vernon Loeb

Martin G. Reynolds, the co-executive director of the institute, said by telephone that he gives the Chronicle management credit for hosting his presentation and for awaiting follow-up steps. Chronicle staff members are responding to an exit survey.

But in general, he said, a presentation is only a beginning. Diversity “is the essential thing to do if you want to be credible in your community.” The more important question is “how do we embed in a news organization” a culture of diversity? “A lot of news organizations are facing that challenge.”

“Diversity” might not be enough. At a forum on Tuesday of the Journal-isms Roundtable in Washington, Christian Garland, who is leading diversity and inclusion initiatives at the National Geographic Society, made a distinction between diversity and inclusion. “Diversity is adding to the pot. Inclusion is being added to dinner,” she said.

At a workplace like the Chronicle, “inclusion” might fall more to those below or parallel to the editor in chief, such as Loeb or Editorial Page Editor Jeff Cohen.

Cohen was asked whether Flores-Paniagua had left and whether another person of color would succeed her.

“She has not left and no decision has been made about what we’re doing,” Cohen replied.

‘Diversity’ Said to Miss Point of Affirmative Action

The US Department of Justice announced plans to investigate universities for possible racial discrimination toward whites in admissions,” Natasha Warikoo, an associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of ‘The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities,’ wrote Wednesday in the Boston Globe.

“The irony of a civil rights division seeking to protect whites will not be lost on many who work in higher education. How did this argument — that rather than support racial equity, affirmative action discriminates against whites — take hold?

“This argument owes much of its rhetorical power to the weak reasoning we use to talk about affirmative action in higher education today: diversity.

“Here is how it works. The diversity of campus perspectives, as college admissions counselors describe it, makes for an intellectually stimulating environment in which everyone’s ideas are challenged and developed. What diversity hints at is important, but the catchall phrase leaves too much unsaid. ‘Diversity’ is pitched as a benefit to students of all races, not as a part of an effort to address historical racial and socio-economic injustice.

“Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons tells prospective students, ‘We believe that a diversity of backgrounds, academic interests, extracurricular talents, and career goals among students who live and learn together affects the quality of education in the same manner as a great faculty or material resources.’

“When working on my book ‘The Diversity Bargain,’ I found that students, in turn, have internalized this message. One Harvard student, when asked whether Harvard should consider race or ethnicity in admissions, said, “Definitely. That adds as much to the class as somebody who is a world-class piano player. It’s just a different sort of diversity to add.’ She and her peers rarely linked affirmative action to racial inequality, or to the history of racial exclusion on their campuses. . . .”

Warikoo also wrote, “Under the diversity bargain, white students are not taught about the ongoing racial exclusion and injustice that led to the need for affirmative action in the first place. When they see affirmative action as a policy designed to benefit them, they are easily persuaded by cries of anti-white discrimination. . . .’ ”

Media See Threat to Freedoms in Leak Crackdown

Relaxing U.S. government guidelines to make it easier for investigators to subpoena journalists and their records would have a chilling effect on press freedom,” the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news conference today that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is pursuing three times the number of leak investigations as did the previous administration, and that the Department of Justice ‘is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas.’

“ ‘Independent journalism in the public interest depends on reporters’ being able to communicate privately with sources,’ said Alex Ellerbeck, senior Americas and U.S. researcher at the Committee to Protect Journalists. ‘Rolling back the limited protections on communication between journalists and their sources would lessen the public’s ability to hold their elected leaders to account and weaken hard-won standards of source protection around the world.’

“In 2015, former Attorney General Eric Holder put in place guidelines that make it harder for the Department of Justice to subpoena journalists’ records. . . .”

Immigration Plan: ‘Make America White Again’

So much for your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Raul A. Reyes wrote Friday for NBC News Latino.

“This week, President Donald Trump endorsed a plan by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., that would dramatically limit legal immigration. Their proposal would shift immigration away from a system based on family ties, and towards one based on high-level skills and education. Refugee admissions would be capped at 50,000 a year, and an international visa lottery would be eliminated.

“But this is a proposal that runs counter to sound economic policy and core American values. It will make it harder for Latin Americans, Asians, and Africans to come here legally. While the bill is called the RAISE Act, short for ‘Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy,’ it can be summed up as Make America White Again. . . .”

Overlooked: Trump Appointments to Federal Courts

Donald Trump’s mercurial, chaotic ways are the overriding narrative of his early White House days,” James Warren wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute. “But most of the press misses his discipline in one crucial area: filling vacancies on federal courts.

“He may be lax in filling many administrative posts, but it’s just not true with the courts.

“The reality underscores a gaping hole in journalism, as a federal judge noted to me Thursday. How often do major media outlets pay serious attention to the appointment of district court and appeals judges, beyond the occasional overtly controversial selection?

“He might have added this question: How many newspaper editors or reporters can even name, much less speak cogently about, district or appeals judges in their backyards? Or this: How many reporters who actually cover federal buildings write regularly about the overall performance of judges in the building beyond an individual newsy case or particular decision in which those judges are involved?

“Two recent pieces — in Business Insider and The New Yorker — are among the few to underscore the Trump judicial machinery at play. . . ”

Alternative-Media Group to Take Diversity Census

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia, which represents 108 member publications, “amended its bylaws to reinstate the Diversity Chair position on our Board of Directors,” Executive Director Jason Zaragoza told Journal-isms Friday by email.

“It had been eliminated in 2013, partly as an effort to reduce the size of the Board but also with the intent of making diversity a key mission of the AAN headquarters staff.

“AAN recognizes the importance of having a Board member tasked with diversity-related issues, and so we proposed the bylaws amendment during our annual meeting and our members unanimously approved it. Memphis Flyer advertising director Justin Rushing was elected to fill the seat and will be tasked with initiatives such as conducting an association-wide demographic survey of newspaper staff and awarding diversity scholarships to our annual convention.”

Zaragoza said 260 people representing 48 of its member papers attended its July 27–29 convention in Washington.

 Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, left, Ricardo Chávez Aldana and Alejandro Hernández Pacheco at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in 2011. (Credit: Julian Esquer/Flickr)


Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, left, Ricardo Chávez Aldana and Alejandro Hernández Pacheco at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in 2011. (Credit: Julian Esquer/Flickr)

After 9 Years, U.S. Refuses Mexican Ex-Journalist

Nine years after he fled to the United States out of fear for his life, former Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto — honored in 2011 by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists — has been denied asylum in an El Paso immigration court, Teresa Mioli reported Tuesday for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

“Gutiérrez, a former reporter at El Diario del Noroeste in the state of Chihuahua, finally had the opportunity to plead his case to a judge on Nov. 14, 2016 after years of postponements.

“Closing statements were turned in by the journalist’s team in late January 2017 and a decision from the judge was planned for March. However, that was also delayed and reset for July, when Gutiérrez was informed his claim was denied.

” ‘He simply dismissed all the arguments, put them in the trash can and denied the asylum,’ Gutiérrez told the Knight Center.

“Gutiérrez said he is ‘very depressed…I feel very sad and I am very disappointed in the immigration authorities, especially the policies that the United States exercises,’ the former reporter added.

“He said the U.S. polices do not consider the thousands of deaths and displacements that have taken place in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderón began the War on Drugs in 2006.

“Gutiérrez said he will appeal the decision, even going to the Supreme Court if necessary. . . .”

In 2011, appearing with his 15-year-old son and two other journalists who said they faced death threats in Mexico, Gutiérrez received the NAHJ President’s Award from then-president Michele Salcedo at the organization’s convention near Orlando.

The former reporter and his son fled his home country in June 2008 after someone notified him that the military was planning to kill him. It apparently stemmed from his reporting on alleged abuses against civilians by members of the military.

Separately, NAHJ announced on Friday it “has developed and launched a new digital campaign addressing the escalating violence against the press.”

Partnering with the Committee to Protect Journalists, NAHJ “will use the ‘Ni Uno Más’ campaign to bridge a gap and extend efforts to support colleagues in Mexico & Latin America.” Ads “will include stories and testimonials of journalist’s experiences, graphic designs featuring work of Latino visual journalists relevant to press freedom threats and video ads designed for digital platforms.

“To support and create awareness around the content, the campaign will also include live streamed discussions under the association’s #NAHJLive brand; inclusive of experts and advocates, in addition to the new partnership with CPJ to endorse the committee’s efforts and progressive solutions in assisting journalists. . . .”

Maria Elena Salinas to Leave Univision Anchor Chair

María Elena Salinas, an influential voice in television and Hispanic America for more than three decades, announced today that she plans to leave the Univision News anchor chair at the end of the year,” Univision reported on Thursday.

Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas

“Salinas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, went on to host Univision Network’s national evening newscast and report momentous stories for generations of Hispanic Americans over a long and distinguished career.

“Her departure from Univision after more than 35 years will end an era that has left an indelible mark on American television and Hispanics in the United States, for whom listening to her poised, informed and empathetic voice has long been a nightly ritual. Salinas, winner of top journalism honors and dubbed the ‘Voice of Hispanic America’ by The New York Times, also co-hosts the Sunday show ‘Aquí y Ahora’ (Here and Now) and presents several in-depth specials on current issues each year. Starting next January, she plans to begin her next chapter, working independently as a journalist and producer, and continuing to devote herself to philanthropy. . . .”

The news release also said, “In the coming months, Univision will announce plans for the new anchor who will join Jorge Ramos on its flagship newscast, which regularly reaches two million viewers, and plans for the co-host who will join Teresa Rodriguez on our weekly newsmagazine show ‘Aquí y Ahora.’ . . .”

Alvarez, Cardwell Taking N.Y. Times Buyouts

Lizette Alvarez, Miami bureau chief; Diane Cardwell, a business reporter; and Pedro Rafael Rosado, an audio producer and editor; are among the latest New York Times staff members to take a buyout, according to a July 28 list from Daniel Funke of the Poynter Institute.

Lizette Alvarez

Lizette Alvarez

“Lizette wrote her first bylined story for The Times in July 1995 and ever since has been a vivid, distinctive voice on our pages, jumping on every article she touched with great style, enthusiasm, humor and an unerring ability to make people’s stories come alive,” National Editor Marc Lacey and Deputy National Editor Peter Applebome wrote in an internal Aug. 1 memo.

“She was part of a team on Metro that won a Polk award for reporting on the death of a little girl who was beaten to death at home. She covered Congress, including the frenzy of President Clinton’s impeachment and later 9/11 and its aftermath. She then moved on to London and then returned to Metro to cover service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“She has been an invaluable presence on the National Desk since 2011 as Miami Bureau Chief, where she covered a place with the knowledge and insight of a local and the fresh, skeptical eye of an outsider, covering Trayvon Martin, the Pulse massacre, assorted hurricanes, every twist and turn of the Cuban diaspora, frisky alligators, Mormon python hunters and, perhaps most importantly, the hijinks of [@FloridaMan__] in one of [the] all-time great NYT journals.

“Lizette has been not just a great correspondent, but a great colleague and an invaluable part of every desk she’s worked on. She’ll be with us until Sept. 29, and after that will continue to freelance for The Times from Miami, so she won’t leave The Times’ orbit entirely. And, she says, ‘The next time you’re in Miami, the mojitos are on me!’ ”

Diane Cardwell

Diane Cardwell

Cardwell, who worked at the Times for more than 20 years and covered energy, with a focus on renewable, told Journal-isms by email, “I’m planning to spend the next year on a book project, and then figure out the long term after that.”

In 2006, when she became City Hall bureau chief, then-Metro Editor Joe Sexton wrote, “Diane Cardwell’s first byline in the paper a dozen years ago carried this headline: Rapwear. Soulwear. Hipwear. The story introduced a new and fresh voice to our pages, and it is a voice that over the years has shown itself to be wise as well as witty, authoritative as well as nuanced, tough as well as tender. She wrote, for instance, the obituaries of Onofrio Ottomanelli — the famed Village butcher — and [the political obituary of] Freddy Ferrer — the Bronx pol who didn’t quite, ahem, make the cut. . . .”

“Along the way, her coverage of the City Council earned her a reputation as a shrewd and sophisticated observer of one of the city’s more curious institutions. It made you laugh and cry, which pretty much means she got it just right. . . .”

Rosado helped create, produce and host several podcasts. He is co-founder of HeadStepper Media, a company that makes digital audio and video content.

“I know more about errors," Margaret Holt says, '"than anyone in Western civilization.' (Credit: Jackie Spinner)

“I know more about errors,” Margaret Holt says, “than anyone in Western civilization.” (Credit: Jackie Spinner)

Margaret Holt, Bishop in a Journalism Cathedral

Margaret C. Holt jumps up from her chair in her sunny office at the Tribune Tower, a building the Chicago Architecture Foundation calls a ‘cathedral for journalism,’Jackie Spinner reported Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review. “If the building is a sacred space, then Holt, as standards editor, is its bishop, enforcing the Chicago Tribune’s ethics policy and making certain that mistakes get corrected.

“At the moment, Holt is looking for a book. She uses her finger to scan the shelves until she finds it. ‘Have you read this?’ she asks, holding up a copy of Jack Fuller’s News Values: Ideas for an Information Age, a 1996 book about the ethical issues confronting newsrooms. Fuller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Tribune journalist and former publisher and chief executive who died last year, helped bring Holt to Chicago from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 1993, setting her on the path to become one of the most influential women at the paper and a powerful voice across the industry for tracking errors. In 2015, Holt, a Native American from Missouri, was added to the Tribune’s masthead — a recognition of her and the importance the paper places on her job.

“Holt is not an ombudsman or reader representative. She does not write public columns. The Tribune folded its public editor position into the standards editor job in 2008, in a move reminiscent of many made in newsrooms around the country. ‘I am just the standard bearer,’ she says. . . .”

Spinner also wrote, “At the Tribune, Holt safeguards that credibility.

“ ‘I know more about errors,’ she says, ‘than anyone in Western civilization.’ . . .”

New Martin Show Explores Athletes’ Second Careers

RLTV announced today that Still in the Game with Roland Martin is premiering in syndication this month” according to a news release Thursday. “The RLTV-commissioned show focuses on the second careers of some of the top professional athletes of our time.

“In the premiere episode, Roland Martin interviews former WNBA star Nancy ‘Lady Magic’ Lieberman and NFL Hall of Fame running back, Emmitt Smith. Martin explores their path to reinvention since leaving the pro-sports spotlight. . . .”

Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, left, moderator Richard Prince and Susan Goldberg, editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor in chief of the magazine. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, left, moderator Richard Prince and Susan Goldberg, editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor in chief of the magazine. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

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