Journalists to the Rescue as They Cover the Storm

DACA Repeal Could Mean Journalist Deportations

Omarosa’s Access to Trump Curtailed, Report Says

Peter Bhatia Named Editor of Detroit Free Press

300 Readers Pledge Intolerance of Hate, Racism

Philly Columnist Wants Rizzo Statue Gone

Sheridan Broadcasting Cuts News, Sports Division

N. Korea Gives 2 Journalists Death Penalty

Short Takes

Journalists to the Rescue as They Cover the Storm

During our Hurricane Harvey coverage, we’ve laughed, cried, and even helped deliver a baby,” Chauncy Glover reported Thursday for KTRK-TV in Houston.

“While ABC13 reporter Chauncy Glover was on a boat rescuing people from the high water, he got an assignment he never saw coming.

“A woman came up to them and said that her sister, Shae, was in labor and asked him to help.

“Chauncy held Shae’s hand while she gave birth to a baby boy. Shae was eventually taken to St. Joseph Women’s Medical Center, where Chauncy met them again Wednesday. . . .”

The National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists spotlighted their members who, they said, did exemplary work in front of and outside of camera range. The Asian American Journalists Association announced it was raising money “to send meals to local Houston-area journalists who are working hard to deliver the news for their communities and the country.”

NABJ, for example, noted in a Saturday news release:

“Live on-air, Jasmine Styles with KFDM in Beaumont, Texas helped an 81-year-old woman prepare to evacuate her home;

“A CNN crew helped Aaron Mitchell locate his father and find a bus to Austin where they were reunited;

“KHOU reporter Brandi Smith stopped her televised interview to flag down a Harris County Sheriff’s Office truck towing a boat to assist a semi-truck driver trapped in a vehicle quickly flooding with water. . . .”

NAHJ called attention to a Business Insider story. “CNN broadcast live as correspondent Ed Lavandera put down his mic to help an elderly couple, their daughter, and their two dogs get into a rescue boat, after discovering the family in a flooded-out neighborhood that rescuers believed had already been evacuated,” Maxwell Tani reported Aug. 28 for businessinsider.com.

“Lavandera said his crew had been taking live shots from a nearby highway all day, and though they hoped to get into the neighborhood that was flooded out, they waited for hours as boats continued to ferry people out of the neighborhood in order to [stay] clear of the rescue efforts.

“The crew entered the neighborhood in a flat-bottom boat that was finished searching for people during the day, and while showing the neighborhood live on the network, they discovered the family, including an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s.

“Though CNN showed Lavandera helping pull an elderly man onto the boat, the CNN correspondent asked to cut the feed while he prepared to bring the woman on board.

” ‘People who are being rescued from their homes don’t usually expect a full camera crew, much less a national camera crew,’ Lavandera said. . . .”

Not all of the journalists’ attention was appreciated.

On Tuesday, ABC News’s Tom Llamas tweeted that he had witnessed ‘looting’ at a supermarket in Houston, and that he had informed police,” Pete Vernon reported Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review. “After sharp criticism from Twitter users, Llamas deleted and attempted to clarify his earlier message.

“The narrative that looting and other lawless behaviors run rampant in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is a pernicious one,” Vernon continued. “Though incidents of theft and crime occurred during events like Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, widespread myths about roving bands of murderous criminals in New Orleans fueled a perception unsupported by evidence that still persists today.

“A similar storyline has played out on a smaller scale in Houston, where unconfirmed reports have people shooting at the boats of civilian rescuers. None of those claims could be verified. In the context of a situation that has already resulted in at least 37 deaths, reporters should have better things to do than directing police toward people just trying to survive and feeding a narrative that encourages panic. . . .”

The aid offered by journalists took on added significance after President Trump, meeting with the Coast Guard on Saturday, said, “I hear the Coast Guard saved 11,000 people. Think of it, almost 11,000 people, by going into winds that the media would not go into. They will not go into those winds. Unless it’s a really good story in which case they will.”

Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” asked Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch, who wrote last week about the yeoman’s work done by journalists, to comment.

You know, Brian, I think two things motivate him,” Bunch said on the show. “One is I think it’s just, for want of a better term, pathological with this president. I mean, I feel his hatred and his frustrations with the media and all presidents get frustrated with the media, but we’ve never seen anything like this with Trump.

“But the other thing is I think it’s very political. You know, we have a president — his approval rating is down to 34 percent and he’s desperately trying to hold his base together.

“And I talk to a lot of conservatives and so do you, and the one thing that really holds Donald Trump’s base, one third of the American people together is hatred of the media, contempt, you know?

“And he realizes that he’s dividing the country, but he’s unifying his base at the same time. It’s a political strategy to be sure. . . .”

DACA Repeal Could Mean Journalist Deportations

Repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as President Trump is considering, could mean the deportation of up to a dozen California journalists, the California Chicano News Media Association said Sunday.

The program has afforded up to a dozen of our members, many of whom have called the United States home for most of their lives, the opportunity to becoming members of the Fourth Estate,” Joseph Rodriguez, CCNMA president, said in a statement. “They have been dedicated to fulfilling the promise of the Constitution’s First Amendment of free speech and have worked diligently in the pursuit of the truth for all Americans in their reporting.

“Now, these young members of our association face deportation back to countries they have little knowledge of and, in some cases, no family support.

“Members affected range from reporters at the Los Angeles Times to graduating college students on the cusp on starting their careers. We care for all of them and their hopes and dreams of being Americans and journalists. . . .”

Trump “has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, according to two sources familiar with his thinking,” Eliana Johnson reported Monday for Politico. “Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises.

“The administration’s deliberations on the issue have been fluid and fast moving, and the president has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program. . . .”

Omarosa Newman at last month's convention of the National Association of Black Journalists. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Omarosa Newman at last month’s convention of the National Association of Black Journalists. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Omarosa’s Access to Trump Curtailed, Report Says

Presidential adviser Omarosa Newman made news at the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists last month when she became embroiled in a contretemps prompted in part by her status as one of the few African Americans with access to President Trump’s ear.

Now, according to Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, “Newly minted White House chief of staff John Kelly has sought to put a dent in the influence of one of President Donald Trump’s most famous advisers: Omarosa Manigault,” Newman’s maiden name.

“The former Apprentice co-star — who currently serves as the communications director for the Office of Public Liaison — has seen her direct access to the president limited since Kelly took the top White House job in late July, sources tell The Daily Beast,” Markay and Suebsaeng wrote Saturday.

“In particular, Kelly has taken steps to prevent her and other senior staffers from getting unvetted news articles on the president’s Resolute desk — a key method for influencing the president’s thinking, and one that Manigualt used to rile up Trump about internal White House drama. . . .”

Peter Bhatia Named Editor of Detroit Free Press

Peter Bhatia

Peter Bhatia

Peter Bhatia, a multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who has led several large news organizations across the country, was named editor of the Detroit Free Press on Thursday,” the Free Press reported.

“Bhatia comes to Detroit from the Cincinnati Enquirer, where he was editor for the past two years and also served as regional editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Ohio Region.

“Bhatia has a wealth of journalism experience, including serving as the top editor of the Oregonian in Portland in 2010-14. Prior to joining the Enquirer, Bhatia was the director of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism. . . .”

“Bhatia, 64, also was executive editor of the Fresno Bee, managing editor of the Sacramento Bee, editor of the York (Pa.) Dispatch and Sunday News, managing editor of the Dallas Times Herald, deputy managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner and a reporter and editor at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He helped lead newsrooms that won nine Pulitzer Prizes, including the six in Portland. . . .”

Bhatia, whose roots are in India, is among the highest-ranking Asian Americans in the news business and is a former president of the American Society of News Editors.

300 Readers Pledge Intolerance of Hate, Racism

“Two weeks ago, IndyStar’s Editorial Board asked Hoosiers to take a stand against hate,” Suzette Hackney wrote Friday for the Indianapolis Star. “We encouraged readers to take a pledge to no longer tolerate hate and racism in our city, state or nation. We sought action from individuals.

Many of you signed the pledge and returned it, and nearly 300 people promised to take tangible measures to eradicate bigotry. Many were commitments of kindness that centered on the biblical golden rule to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

“Some pledged to deliver random acts of kindness to strangers daily or weekly. Others promised to post constructive comments on social media and news outlets’ websites. And many of you thought it would be beneficial to simply begin smiling and greeting strangers who don’t look like you.

“But overwhelmingly, Hoosiers decided that their stand would be to no longer be silent.

“No longer silent in the face of oppression. No longer silent in the face of racism. No longer silent in the face of cruelty and hate. No longer silent in the face of discrimination.

“I will speak up when people say negative things about minorities,”
Carol Fasnacht, Avon

“We will show kindness, treat everyone equally and step in to defend those under attack,”
the Phillips family, Indianapolis

“I will refuse to tolerate any sign of bigotry or racism from anyone,”
Marcie Brewer, Rochester

“I will take issue with anyone who tells a joke about [ethnic] groups, religions or sexual persuasion,”
Norma Bush, Indianapolis

“I will say something if I see discrimination,”
Eliabeth Efroymson-Brooks, Indianapolis

“I will be nice to all I encounter and point out if someone is being intolerant (to the person),”
Ella Hurrell, Indianapolis

“I will correct those that make racist remarks and call out leaders in our city/state/nation that make racist remarks or appear to support groups that exhibit hate,”
Laura Kragness, Indianapolis

“I am heartened by these responses. They remind me of a quote from Angela Davis, notable author, professor and activist: ‘In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.’ . . .”

The statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo stands across from Philadelphia city hall. There is now a movement to have the statue removed. (Credit: Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Daily News)

The statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo stands across from Philadelphia city hall. A movement is under way to have the statue removed. (Credit: Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Daily News)

Philly Columnist Wants Rizzo Statue Gone

Because he oversaw and maintained police brutality in the black and brown communities in which I grew up, the statue of Frank Rizzo must immediately be removed from the steps of the taxpayer-funded Municipal Services Building,” Solomon Jones wrote Aug. 22 for the Philadelphia Daily News.

“Not one more cent of my tax dollars maintaining it. Not one more moment of my property housing it. Not one more word from my city excusing it.

“The Frank Rizzo statue must be moved to private property, and it must be moved now.

“Frank Rizzo was both the symbol and the substance of a racist system upheld by law enforcement. His police force was used to maintain racial boundaries that kept blacks trapped in red-lined communities, locked into a segregated educational system, and mired in the ongoing morass of second-class citizenship.

“We’ve all heard the stories by now. But in an atmosphere where white supremacists denounce dissent as fake news, the truth is worth repeating. Under Rizzo’s direction and approval, Philadelphia police officers stripped Black Panthers naked in the street.

“They beat black children who were demonstrating for black history classes. They broke nightsticks over a black man’s head for running a stop sign.

“But those were just a few isolated incidents. In truth, Rizzo’s police department engaged in cruelty so pervasive, that by 1979, the U.S. Justice Department had filed a lawsuit against them, saying their unfettered use of brutality ‘shocks the conscience.’

“That’s what I remember. The feeling of shock that overcame me when I realized that Rizzo’s police weren’t there to protect brown people in Philadelphia’s poorest communities. The feeling that they could hurt us with impunity. The hopelessness of seeing the things they did. . . .”

Sheridan Broadcasting Cuts News, Sports Division

The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned exclusively late Tuesday, Aug. 29 that Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation has eliminated its News and Sports content division, causing roughly 10 employees to lose their jobs at its Downtown headquarters on Penn Ave.,” Rob Taylor Jr. reported that day for the Courier.

“ ‘ We weren’t able to generate the revenue we wanted,’ corporation COO and general counsel Ron Davenport Jr. told the Courier in an exclusive interview. The Courier reported in 2016 the dissolved business relationship between Sheridan and American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). The two companies, who had worked in tandem for years, went their separate ways — confirmed by CEO Ron Davenport Sr. in the May 2016 Courier story. Davenport Sr. later said, ‘Sheridan Broadcasting Network and Sheridan Broadcasting Company are fine, and are looking for new worlds to conquer.’

“But Ron Davenport Jr. told the Courier Aug. 29 that the revenue just wasn’t coming in. ‘It’s a little more difficult than selling cars or something,’ Davenport Jr. said about the art of selling national radio. ‘It’s a unique skillset, so we’ve been searching for some time and we have someone who has been working on our behalf and he’s just been unsuccessful, unfortunately, and we’re not able to continue.’

“Sheridan Broadcasting Networks had been providing news and sports broadcasts to 60 stations nationwide before the Aug. 29 announcement. Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation will continue to operate its Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Gospel Network, which currently airs on 30 stations nationwide, ownership of a radio station in Atlanta, and a new venture, tele-streaming, explained as a ‘simultaneous audio-visual stream of an over-the-air radio broadcast,’ according to Davenport Jr. . . . ”

N. Korea Gives 2 Journalists Death Penalty

A North Korean court sentenced two South Korean journalists and their publishers to death for ‘seriously insulting the dignity’ of the country by reviewing and interviewing the British authors of a book about life in the North, its state media said on Thursday, Jack Kim reported for Reuters.

“North Korea has previously issued harshly worded accusations against South Korean entities and individuals for allegedly violating its dignity, by slandering its leadership and its political system.

“The book in English titled ‘North Korea Confidential’ was authored by James Pearson, a Seoul-based correspondent for Reuters, and Daniel Tudor, former correspondent in South Korea for the Economist magazine.

“The book, based on interviews with North Korean defectors, diplomats and traders, depicts a growing market economy where ordinary North Koreans enjoy access to South Korea music and TV dramas, fashion and smuggled Chinese and American films. Pearson wrote the book, published in 2015, before joining Reuters. . . .”

NK News, “an independent, privately owned specialist information source that focuses on North Korea,” added, “Thursday’s statement is not the first time in recent months that a North Korean judicial body has sentenced a South Korean citizen to death in absentia. . . .”

Short Takes