Spanish Speakers Cover Mexico Quake, Maria

Shaun King, Formerly of Daily News, Joins Intercept

Program Aims to Put 1,000 in Newsrooms

Commentator Sues Fox News, Claiming Rape

El Paso Editor Resigns Rather Than Make Cuts

Facebook Pledges to Curb Abuse by Anti-Semites

St. Louis Police Denounced for ‘Our Streets’ Chant

$2 Million in Grants to Boost Local News Projects

Series on Inmate in Solitary Wins $10G Prize

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 NBC News' Gabe Gutierrez tours the area surrounding the hotel where he rode out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico on Wednesday. (Credit: NBC News)

NBC News’ Gabe Gutierrez tours the area surrounding the hotel where he rode out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico on Wednesday. (Credit: NBC News)

Spanish Speakers Cover Mexico Quake, Maria

The destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and by the earthquake in Mexico has meant visibility for U.S. Latino and Spanish-speaking journalists, but also pain and worry about the fates of co-workers, acquaintances and family members.

Our dear friend and colleague, the distinguished photographer Wesley Bocxe was seriously injured after his apartment building collapsed in the Mexico City earthquake yesterday,” says a GoFundMe page created Wednesday.

“Wesley is currently in hospital with serious injuries and will soon undergo surgery, but is expected to survive. His wife Elizabeth Esguerra Rosas did not survive the collapse of the building. Their 5 year-old daughter Amara was at school and is OK. We are appealing to all Wesley’s friends and colleagues to donate what they can as Wesley and his family face a long and difficult road ahead.”

As of Saturday morning, the appeal had raised its goal from $60,000 to $80,000 after receiving more than $63,000 in donations.

In Mexico City, Thérèse Margolis, editor of the online The News, wrote this week, “Thirty-two years ago, I helped with the rescue efforts after the fatal Sept. 19, 1985, earthquake here in Mexico City, mainly digging people out, doing emergency triage and administering tetanus shots.

“Yesterday, on the anniversary of that terrible date, I was a rescuee.

“My building in La Condesa collapsed and I was partially buried under the rubble, but thank God, managed to get out with just minor cuts and bruises.

“La Condesa was a war zone, and many people were and still remain trapped.

“The same is true for many other parts of the city.

“I am now staying in a hotel.

“The entire The News staff is diligently working to keep our readers abreast of what is happening.

“In the meantime, most of our staff is working from home (well, those who have homes). . . .”

The twin disasters appeared likely to remain big news for days, if not weeks or months. Reuters reported, “Hurricane Maria lashed the Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday after destroying homes, causing widespread flooding, crippling economies and killing at least 30 people on Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands..

“Maria was the second major hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month and the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years. It knocked out the island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels.

“Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello told CNN he had reports of at least 13 people being killed. El Nuevo Día newspaper reported at least 15 people were killed.

“Officials have confirmed at least six hurricane-related fatalities on the island, according to the Associated Press: Three people died in landslides caused by the storm; two died from flooding; and one person died after being struck by debris. . . .”

In Mexico, the Associated Press reported, “Survivors are still being pulled from rubble in Mexico City as rescue operations stretch into a fourth day Friday, spurring hope among desperate relatives gathered at the sites of buildings collapsed by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

“Mexico’s federal police said several people were lifted out of the debris of two buildings Thursday. Rescuers removed or broke through slabs until they found cracks that allowed workers to wiggle through to reach the victims, then lift them to safety. The city government said 60 people in all had been rescued since the quake hit at midday Tuesday.

“Still, with the hours passing, fewer of the living were being found, and the official death toll rose to 286, with more than half, 148, in the
capital. . . .”

Viewers of the nightly news in the United States could see these stories reported by Miguel Almaguer in Mexico and Gabe Gutierrez in Puerto Rico at NBC; or by Manuel Bojorquez from Mexico at CBS. On the website, assignment editor Joshua Hoyos has credit on several of the stories. Victor Oquendo has been in Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, weekend anchor Jose Diaz-Balart joined NBC’s coverage from Mexico City.

At CNN, no sooner did Omar Jimenez join CNN Newsource from WBAL-TV in Baltimore, where he was a general assignment reporter, than he was sent to cover Hurricane Irma and then the Mexican earthquake.

“In Mexico, we have a CNNE bureau, but we also sent Rosa Flores, Miguel Marquez, Ed Lavandera, and Gustavo Valdes to report on it in addition to Omar and our CNNE bureau,” spokesperson Bridget Leininger told Journal-isms by email, referring to CNN en Español.

“For covering Hurricane Maria, we sent our Mexico City-based correspondent Leyla Santiago, Polo Sandoval, Nick Valencia, Nick Paton Walsh and Michael Holmes to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.”

At NPR, Rolando Arrieta, an NPR production manager who is a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, went with Jason Beaubien to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, spokeswoman Isabel Lara said. On “Here and Now” on Thursday, J. Miguel Santiago of Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico reported from that island, while correspondent Jorge Valencia of KJZZ-FM in Phoenix was in Mexico City.

The Associated Press noted coverage by Danica Coto, a Caribbean-based reporter and editor.

New York television stations sent reporters and anchors to Puerto Rico, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel reported Wednesday for TVSpy. “There are more than 1 million Puerto Ricans living in New York, which makes up about 23 percent of Puerto Ricans living stateside,” Siegel noted.

Mekahlo Medina of KNBC-TV in Los Angeles messaged Journal-isms Saturday that Gigi Graciette of Fox affiliate KTTV-TV, Juan Fernandez of CBS2 and he were among those in Mexico City from Southern California.

In 2010, Hispanics or Latinos were 16.3 percent of the U.S. population. But in 2016, they were only 5.44 percent of newspaper and online newsrooms, according to the diversity census of the American Society of News Editors. They were just 6.7 percent of the workforce in local television station newsrooms, according to 2016 figures from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

On Hispanic Journalists Day, commemorated Wednesday, NAHJ featured CNN’s Valencia, “who has been on non-stop coverage of Hurricanes and Leon Krauze of Univision who consistently dives deep into educating viewers on why events like these occur,” NAHJ spokesperson BA Snyder said by email.

Leon Krauze

Leon Krauze

Asked why it was important that Latino journalists are reporting these stories, Snyder replied, “The fact is, there’s a fundamental lack of understanding otherwise. These are communities that need representation from an accurate point of view to better inform and communicate what is occurring. By Latino journalists reporting these stories, the networks are ultimately improving the quality of coverage.”

Misreporting, Snyder said, “could include outdated or inaccurate terms, stereotypes, lack of understanding in cultural differences. . . . Often we do see unbalanced reporting between positive community news and poor coverage like crime and violence. . . .”

In the current disasters, there “are more than just those things I listed, but for example, to not understand cultural differences and issues between regions, stereotypes between  . . . countries or territories, these are all major misconceptions that affect accuracy in reports.”

The Miami Herald has special reason to take heed. It serves a substantial Hispanic population, and it was in the hurricane zone. “We live in a community where many people speak Spanish and are Hispanic, of course,” health and foreign editor Amy Driscoll said by email. “And we work very closely with the staff of el Nuevo Herald. For example, the Miami Herald’s Cuba editor handles reporters at both the Miami Herald (in English) and el Nuevo (in Spanish.)

“We sent Patricia Mazzei to Puerto Rico for Maria. She’s Hispanic and a Spanish speaker. She’s still there — along with photographer Carl Juste — and filing stories. Here are a couple:

“For Irma, we sent Jim Wyss, a Spanish speaker and our Latin American correspondent based in Bogota, to Puerto Rico and several islands. He’s back in Bogota now.

“Some of his work from Irma:

“Also during Irma, we had David Ovalle (Hispanic and a Spanish speaker) in Key West. The Cat 4 eye passed directly over Cudjoe Key about 30 miles away.

“We have people in the office and reporting locally (Irma hit us here) who speak Spanish and/or are Hispanic.

“We don’t have anyone reporting for us in Mexico.”

The Herald might be unusual among print publications. Editors and spokespeople at the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times did not respond to questions about their deployment of Latino journalists to cover the destruction.

The Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo announced telethons to aid the hurricane areas this weekend.

Shaun King, Formerly of Daily News, Joins Intercept

Shaun King

Shaun King

Less than a month after suddenly leaving the Daily News in New York to become writer-in-residence at a Harvard-based criminal justice project, Shaun King is joining the Intercept, the website co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, who helped bring to light Edward J. Snowden’s leaks.

With his trademark blend of reporting, commentary, and online activism, King has charted the progress — and the challenges — of today’s movement for racial justice and against police brutality and mass incarceration,” Betsy Reed wrote for the Intercept Thursday in announcing the hire.

“He first gained national recognition for his impassioned coverage of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, at the hands of police. He went on to write for the liberal blog Daily Kos as a contributor before moving to the Daily News, where he penned more than 600 columns. . . .”

King’s departure from the News, where he was senior justice writer, coincided with publication on of a five-part series by King on “Corrupt Policing and Arrest Quotas in NYC” that did not appear in the News, an unusual practice that sometimes indicates that the writer’s home publication did not approve of the work.

Arthur Browne, editor of the Daily News, would not say Friday whether King’s departure was related to the series. “As a matter of policy, the Daily News does not comment on personnel issues. Instead, I refer you to the public statement in which Shaun discussed his decision to move on from the News,” Browne said by email, referring to the original Journal-isms item on King’s move. King did not respond to the question.

The Fair Punishment Project is a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute, the Accountable Justice Collaborative (at The Advocacy Fund), and the Bronx Defenders.

Executive Director Rob Smith told Journal-isms by telephone Friday that King would continue as a writer-in-residence there.

Browne said when King left, “We have begun to focus on how best to provide new coverage to the issues he addressed.” Browne said Friday that he still did not know what form that coverage would take, “but we are working on it.”

Program Aims to Put 1,000 in Newsrooms

Being a local news reporter should be something that young people want to do — and it’s okay if they don’t want to do it forever: That’s the idea behind Report for America, a program that launched this week that aims to put ’emerging journalists’ into local newsrooms for a year of service,” Laura Hazard Owen reported Tuesday for Nieman Lab.

“Report for America, a partnership between the GroundTruth Project and Google News Lab with support from the Lenfest Institute, the Knight Foundation, and a number of other journalism organizations, has the ambitious goal of putting 1,000 journalists into underserved newsrooms across America over the next five years (though it’s starting small, with 12 journalists across four regions in 2018).

“The national organization, cofounded by GroundTruth founder and CEO Charles Sennott and Steven Waldman (the author of the landmark FCC report ‘Information Needs of Communities’), will pay 50 percent of each journalist’s salary in the first year, with the local news organization offering 25 percent and local donors providing the remaining 25 percent.

“After that, if the reporter stays on, the newsroom will take on a larger share of the salary.

“Waldman has been named Lenfest’s first entrepreneur-in-residence and will focus his time on building out the project. . . .”

Commentator Sues Fox News, Claiming Rape

Charles Payne

Charles Payne

Fox News, which for more than a year has dealt with the fallout from an embarrassing sexual harassment scandal, was sued on Monday by the political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, who claimed that she had been raped by the longtime anchor Charles Payne and was then retaliated against by the network after she came forward with her allegation,” Emily Steel reported Monday for the New York Times.

“Mr. Payne, the host of ‘Making Money’ on Fox Business, returned to the air this month after the network suspended him in July pending an investigation into his conduct. Upon his return, the network said that it had completed the investigation, which began after Ms. Hughes took her allegations to the network in late June.

“Mr. Payne’s lawyer, Jonathan N. Halpern, said in a statement on Monday that his client ‘vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint.’

“ ‘We are confident that when the evidence is presented in this case,’ he continued, ‘Mr. Payne will be fully vindicated and these outrageous accusations against him will be confirmed as completely false.’

“In her lawsuit, Ms. Hughes said that Mr. Payne had ‘pressured’ his way into her hotel room in July 2013 and coerced her to have sexual intercourse with him, even though she had refused his advances. . . .”

Fox News replied through a spokesperson, “The latest publicity stunt of a lawsuit filed by Doug Wigdor has absolutely no merit and is downright shameful. We will vigorously defend this. It’s worth noting that Doug is Ms. Hughes’ third representative in the last six months to raise some variation of these claims which concern events from four years ago, since it apparently took some time to find someone willing to file this bogus case.”

El Paso Editor Resigns Rather Than Make Cuts

Robert Moore

Robert Moore

Robert Moore, a longtime executive editor and advocate for El Paso, announced Tuesday he is leaving the El Paso Times,” the Times reported Tuesday.

“Moore, who is serving his second stint as editor in El Paso, told staff members during a newsroom announcement that his final day will be Oct. 6.

“Moore, 57, has been a champion of his newsroom and the local community.

“During his 34-year career in journalism, Moore has earned numerous recognitions, including the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Foundation, the top national award for a newspaper editor. . . .”

The story also said, “Moore made the decision to step aside to preserve reporting resources after he was asked to make payroll cuts at the Times, which has eliminated several positions in the past year.

“That includes a reporting position Tuesday and the departure of Lilia Castillo Jones, the president of the El Paso Times and several sister New Mexico properties, whose position was eliminated as part of a restructuring effort, according to officials.

“Leaders of the USA TODAY Network, which includes the Times, said they will work quickly to name the newsroom’s next leader. . . .”

The El Paso Times newsroom is 68.8 percent Hispanic, according to the annual diversity survey [PDF] of the American Society of News Editors.

Separately, Chris Roush reported for Talking Biz News, Roger Yu, who writes about economics and business policy for USA Today, is one of two on the newspaper’s business and tech staff who fell victim to Gannett company-wide layoffs.

Facebook Pledges to Curb Abuse by Anti-Semites

Responding to evidence that its tools had allowed ads to be directed at users who used racist comments or hate speech in their profiles, Facebook said Wednesday that it would change how ads can be targeted,” Sapna Maheshwari and Mike Isaac reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

“That its ad-targeting tools could be used in such a way was ‘a fail’ for the company, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said in a post. She added that Facebook would add ‘more human review and oversight’ to its automated systems to prevent further misuse.

“Ms. Sandberg, who was directly addressing the social network’s recent advertising issues for the first time, also said the company would do more to ensure that offensive content — including that which attacks people for their race or religion — could not be used to target ads.

“The announcement came after a report from ProPublica last week revealed that Facebook’s online ad tools had allowed advertisers to target self-described ‘Jew haters’ or people who had used terms like ‘how to burn Jews.’ The terms automatically appeared in Facebook’s ad system because people had apparently filled them in under ‘education’ and ’employer’ on their profiles. . . .”

Mike Faulk, reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was caught in the sweep when police arrested dozens of people after telling protesters to disperse late on Sunday. (Credit: David Carson)

Mike Faulk, reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was caught in the sweep when police arrested dozens of people after telling protesters to disperse late on Sunday. (Credit: David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis Police Denounced for ‘Our Streets’ Chant

When protesters yell, ‘Whose streets? Our streets,’ on behalf of immigrants, or in opposition to police brutality, it means that our cities — and in an even larger way, the public space of the public square — belong to all of us,” the Kansas City Star editorialized on Tuesday.

“But when St. Louis police in riot gear chant the same thing, it’s meant to menace, to exclude. And not implausibly, to exult in the acquittal of Jason Stockley, the white former cop who shot and killed a 24-year-old black motorist, Anthony Lamar Smith, in 2011.

“The perception that it’s cops and not those they serve who do own the streets and the whole criminal justice system is why demonstrators are out marching in the first place.

“And that even a handful of officers would treat a mass arrest like a World Series win suggests that some still don’t understand that. . . .”

Separately, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized Tuesday, “No, the police don’t own the streets. They do not own the night. Any law enforcer, from interim St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole on down to the rawest probationary officer, who suggests otherwise needs a refresher course on the role of police in a democracy. Re-reading the Bill of Rights might also help. . . .”

$2 Million in Grants to Boost Local News Projects

Philadelphia’s journalism ecosystem is getting a big infusion of support,” Shan Wang reported Thursday for Nieman Lab. “The Lenfest Institute announced the winners of its local news innovation grants and its first cohort of entrepreneurs-in-residence Thursday morning.

“A total of $1 million is going to 12 different projects and to five individuals working on local-news focused projects. . . .”

The institute said, “The $1 million in grants to PMN [Phildelphia Media Network, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and] in this round will fund new digital product development, enhanced investigative and public-service journalism, and greater newsroom and audience diversity. The other $1 million will go to 12 nonprofit and for-profit companies and five “entrepreneurs in residence” from across the United States, chosen from more than 350 applications. . . .”

Among the diversity initiatives funded are these listed under “Diverse and Growing Audiences”:

Newsroom and Audience Diversity: PMN will launch a rolling two-year newsroom fellowship program that will fund emerging journalists from diverse backgrounds to work in the PMN newsroom, receive active mentorship, and help PMN create a newsroom and an audience that is more representative of the population of the Philadelphia region.

Opinion Section Contributors Network: In order to diversify the voices expressed in the opinion section of PMN’s digital and print products, PMN will create an expanded contributors network consisting of influencers from a broad array of communities throughout the region.

Audience Engagement: PMN will launch a reader-centered reporting program called ‘Curious Philly,’ using Hearken, a survey platform that enables journalists to engage their audience throughout the reporting process. PMN will deepen community engagement by reaching out to readers so they can pose questions and topic areas for PMN to address in its reporting.”

Mensah Dean

Mensah M. Dean

Series on Inmate in Solitary Wins $10G Prize

Mensah M. Dean, a reporter for the Inquirer and Daily News, has been awarded the 2017 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence for a series of articles on a Pennsylvania state prison inmate who was kept in solitary confinement for 37 years,” Joseph A. Gambardello reported Thursday for

“The $10,000 award, administered by the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University in Baltimore, recognizes work that is ‘of significant importance or had a significant impact on some aspect of black life in America.’ ”

“Dean’s stories focused on Arthur Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for a 1970 murder in Philadelphia and was placed in solitary confinement in a 7- by 12-foot cell after two escape attempts in 1979. . . .”

At the ceremony, held at the National Press Club in Washington, Dean DeWayne Wickham said that Columbia University and the University of Georgia offered journalism awards of this type, but Morgan is the only historically black college or university to do so. He was referring to the Pulitzer Prizes and Peabody awards.

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