Clyburn Dissent Says Order Harms Diversity

Kaepernick Wanted Designers of Color for GQ Shoot

George Takei Losing Publishers After Groping Claims

Fox Anchor Who Sees Racism Could Sway U.K. Deal

Black Woman Is Top Editor at Alternative Weekly

In Trump’s First Year, Much to Worry About

Veteran Native Journalist Won’t Romanticize Banks

’20 Latino and Hispanic Men Sexier than People’s’

Amanpour: Defend, Not Destroy First Amendment

75 Years of African Investigative Reporting

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (Credit: Flickr)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (Credit: Flickr)

Clyburn Dissent Says Order Harms Diversity

In ‘an awful new low’ that elicited warnings about ‘a new wave of media consolidation,’ the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday rolled back media ownership regulations under the guise of trying ‘to modernize its broadcast ownership rules & to help promote ownership diversity,’ ” Jessica Corbett wrote for commondreams.org.

The vote was “to allow a single company to own a newspaper and television and radio stations in the same town, reversing a decades-old rule aimed at preventing any individual or company from having too much power over local coverage,” Cecilia Kang wrote for the New York Times.

“The Republican-led F.C.C. eliminated the restrictions, known as a media cross-ownership ban, in a 3-to-2 vote along party lines. As part of the vote, the agency also increased the number of television stations a company could own in a local market. A company will more easily be able to own two of the four largest stations in a market, instead of only one. . . .”

Mignon Clyburn

Mignon Clyburn

Broadcast industry groups and newspaper owners were pleased, saying the current rules are outdated and that perhaps pooling resources would enable newspapers to survive longer.

Journalist of color groups have been aligned with opponents of media consolidation, saying the mergers cost jobs. This time they were muted, issuing no statements.

Asked its position, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said through spokesperson B.A. Snyder, “NAHJ is against media consolidation. The association believes communities benefit from a diverse group of media owners, news coverage representing all communities and circumstances that create the most employment opportunity for our journalists.”

Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat and the sole African American on the commission, opposed the rule relaxation. “Do I start by describing why the wholesale elimination of key media ownership rules will harm localism, diversity, and competition?” [PDF] she asked in her statement.

Clyburn also said, “Let me begin by establishing this: that despite what you have been told about the genesis of this Order, it is not really about helping small, struggling broadcasters or newspapers. While the jury is still out on whether it could actually achieve that goal, this is really about helping large media companies grow even larger which is actually in stark contrast to what the President said just last week in discussing the importance of having as ‘many news outlets as you can.’ . . .”

Kang recalled in the Times, “In April, the agency relaxed other limits on television ownership. Shortly after, Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a deal with Tribune Media for a $3.9 billion merger that would allow Sinclair to reach 70 percent of American households. Some lawmakers have called for an investigation into the relationship between the agency’s chairman, Ajit Pai, and Sinclair. . . .”

The FCC’s approved Notice of Proposed Rulemaking formally requests “comment on how to design and implement” [PDF] an FCC diversity incubator program, an idea that has been before the FCC since 1990, when the FCC’s Minority Ownership Task Force proposed the concept that “a licensee could receive a permanent waiver to exceed one of the local ownership limits if the licensee makes possible the creation of an independent new voice.”

Doug Halonen reported for TVNewsCheck in 2014, “Racial minorities owned 41 of the U.S.’s 1,386 full-power commercial TV stations in 2013, up 32% from the 31 they owned in 2011 — but only nine of those stations were owned by African Americans during 2013, down 18% from the 11 they owned two years previously, according to a study of station ownership released by the FCC. . . .

“The FCC report also found that Asians owned 19 full-power TV stations in 2013, up 73% from the 11 they owned in 2011. Hispanics or Latinos owned 42 full power TV stations in 2013, up 8% from the 39 they owned in 2011, the report said. . . . Whites owned 1,070 full-power commercial TV stations in 2013, up 14% from the 935 they owned in 2011. . . .”

Addressing the diversity issue on Thursday, the FCC said, “the Commission has decided to adopt an incubator program to help address the lack of access to capital and technical expertise faced by potential new entrants and small businesses [PDF]. But while there is general support for an incubator program to help address these issues, there is little consensus regarding the structure or details of such a program.” Therefore, it is seeking comment on how to design and implement one.

Clyburn said, however, “I believe the questions posed in the accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) are the right ones to be asking, but we are undertaking this process in the wrong order.”

She concluded, “Mark my words, today will go down in history as the day when the FCC abdicated its responsibility to uphold the core values of localism, competition and diversity in broadcasting.

“I vociferously dissent and look forward to the day when the court issues a decision to right this sad wrong.”

Kaepernick Wanted Designers of Color for GQ Shoot

Colin Kaepernick, named “Citizen of the Year” in the December issue of GQ, wanted designers who were female or of color for the photo shoot, Channing Hargrove reported Tuesday for refinery29.com.

According to Rachel Johnson, the athlete’s longtime stylist, “Kaepernick requested the clothes he wore reflected the spirit behind the photo portfolio,” Hargrove wrote.

“ ‘He wanted to wear designers of color and/or designers who were women,’ Johnson tells Refinery29. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s reasoning? ‘He wanted to give an opportunity for designers to be featured in the magazine who wouldn’t normally be, especially for a cover shoot of this magnitude. That was the direction that he gave to [GQ’s creative director] Jim Moore and I.’

“From there, Johnson reached out to designers she had worked with before and knew Kaepernick liked. ‘There are not a huge pool of Black designers to choose from honestly, you know, it didn’t take very long to put our list together,’ Johnson explains. From there, her office worked with GQ’s team to start the pulling process. ‘I reached out [to] who I knew, they reached out to who they knew, and we all did research as well to see if there were other designers who weren’t on either team’s radar.’ . . .”

George Takei (Credit: CNN)

George Takei (Credit: CNN)

George Takei Losing Publishers After Groping Claims

Cracks are beginning to appear in George Takei’s lucrative social media influencing platform as publishers distance themselves from the former Star Trek star and current social media influencer following allegations of sexual assault,” Kelsey Sutton reported Tuesday for mic.com.

“As of Tuesday, at least six publishers, including Mic, have ended paid promotion partnerships that once had their articles and videos shared on Takei’s social media platforms.

“On Friday, model Scott Brunton said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that in 1981, Takei groped him while he was unconscious. Takei, now 80, has denied the assault ever occurred, saying the allegations were ‘personally painful.’ . . .

“As of Tuesday, Slate, Upworthy, GOOD, Futurism, Refinery29 and Mic have made arrangements to no longer have their articles and videos shared on Takei’s Facebook page, the companies confirmed. . . .”

Kelly Wright (Credit: CNN)

Kelly Wright (Credit: CNN)

Fox Anchor Who Sees Racism Could Sway U.K. Deal

Fox News anchor Kelly Wright, who is suing the network for racial discrimination[,] is to meet British authorities scrutinizing 21st Century Fox’s attempted $15 billion takeover of Sky,” Stewart Clarke reported Wednesday for Variety. “He will speak to the Competition and Markets Authority and then at a meeting in Parliament chaired by Ed Miliband, the former Labour Party leader, who has been a vocal opponent of the Fox-Sky deal. . . .”

Clarke also wrote, “Wright has accused his employer of maintaining a culture where institutional racism blunts efforts to attract a more multicultural audience. Fox News has denied the claims. Wright’s comments to the CMA will be recorded but not made public until a later date.

“Governance at Fox News has been seized upon by opponents of the Fox-Sky deal who say it is evidence that the Murdoch family would not be fit and proper owners of Sky. The U.K. feed of the channel has been pulled. . . . ”

Black Woman Is Top Editor at Alternative Weekly

Lisa Snowden-McCray

Lisa Snowden-McCray

A black woman has been named editor of a new alternative weekly in Baltimore — an almost unheard-of development — and Lisa Snowden-McCray has proposed partnering with an African American weekly in the city, another rarity.

The Baltimore Beat is looking to replace the City Paper, which published its last issue on November 1, after a 40-year run,” Brennen Jensen reported Wednesday for citylab.com. “The hardly-missing-a-beat arrival of the Beat means that Baltimore experienced but two weeks without an alt-weekly of some kind, dating back to when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Baltimore Colts were in the playoffs. . . .”

Snowden-McCray is an Annapolis, Md., native “who cut her teeth as a freelancer for the Baltimore Afro-American.

“She wrote for television news, websites, and trade publications before spending two years as a City Paper reporter and food editor; most recently, she joined the editorial board at the Baltimore Sun, a post she left to take the Beat gig,” Jensen wrote. “ ‘I always talk about the lack of diversity in journalism and especially in Baltimore, which is a majority-black city,’ she says. ‘So this is really like an opportunity to put my words into action. It was important for me to be a black woman in this position.’ . . .”

Jensen also wrote, “While Beat aims to better cover black Baltimore, it’s worth noting that the Afro-American, a 125-year-old weekly, is still in the game. Such legacy black papers are also being battered in the marketplace; the combined circulation of the Afro’s Baltimore and Washington editions [barely] breaks 10,000. ‘I don’t see us in competition with them,’ Snowden-McCray says. “I respect their work a lot and if there’s a way we can partner up or share information, I see no problem with it.’ . . .”

Jake Oliver, publisher of the Afro-American, did not respond to a request for comment.

Brett Talley (Credit: Matt McClain/Washington Post)

Brett Talley (Credit: Matt McClain/Washington Post)

In Trump’s First Year, Much to Worry About

You are not worried enough,” Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote Tuesday in his Miami Herald column.

“Granted, that may seem a nonsensical claim. Assuming you don’t belong to the tinfoil hat brigades who consider Donald Trump the greatest thing to hit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since Abraham Lincoln left for the theater, you’ve spent the last year worrying as much as you know how.

“There has certainly been no shortage of things to worry about: white supremacy, Russian interference and nuclear war, to name a few. Not to mention that a credibly accused child molester may soon join the United States Senate as a Republican — the party of ‘family values.’ Of course, the self-confessed sexual predator in the Oval Office thinks the accused child molester should step aside, news that gave irony a stroke and left satire unemployed.

“So yes, chances are, you’re worried plenty. But you’re probably not worried about Brett Talley. Indeed, you’ve probably never heard of him.

“If Trump has his way, though, Talley, 36, will soon be a federal judge. His qualifications for that honorable — and lifetime — position? They’re pretty well nonexistent. . . .”

Veteran Native Journalist Won’t Romanticize Banks

Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash

Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash

Veteran Native American journalist Tim Giago is taking to task younger critics not happy that he wrote critically about the American Indian Movement, co-founded by Dennis Banks. Banks helped lead the 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee and died Oct. 19 at 80.

Throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s I had the privilege of covering many of the stories most of you have only read about,” Giago, 83, wrote Monday for indianz.com. “Some of my harshest critics were still kicking turds out of their cradles while I and other Indian reporters were doing our jobs. . . .”

Giago wrote last week that in 1975, “Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, who had a romantic affair with Dennis Banks, was taken hostage in Denver, driven to the outskirts of Wanblee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, raped and murdered by two members of the American Indian Movement. Both AIM members are now serving life sentences for her murder. Theda Clark, an Oglala Lakota, was fingered as the ringleader in her abduction. Aquash had been accused of being an informer for the FBI by AIM leaders.

“As I wrote many years ago if AIM had followed the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi and protested peacefully and without violence, they would have had the entire Indian nation behind them. But when they resorted to acts of violence they lost many of their would-be followers. In the end many AIM leaders like Vernon Bellecourt became my friends and in their own way all of them tried to do what they thought was best for Indian Country. As Vernon said, ‘Tim, we’re working for the same cause, we’re just coming from different directions.’ My reply, ‘Then quit firebombing my newspaper.’

“There is still a lot of injustice in Indian Country and the American Indian Movement can still be a leader in the fight for justice. We are too few in numbers and not politically relevant enough to believe that we can bring about positive change through violent means.

“But I advise you younger folks to learn the true history of AIM. There was a lot of good, but there was also a lot of bad that came out of the movement. Knowing which to follow and which to believe is now extremely important. As history has taught us; violence begets violence!

“Gandhi and King changed history through peaceful means and we should follow suit. May the spirit of Dennis Banks find peace.”

Oscar Isaac is Guatemalan and Cuban-American/ (Credit: Al Dia)

Oscar Isaac is Guatemalan and Cuban-American. (Credit: Al Día, Philadelphia)

’20 Latino and Hispanic Men Sexier than People’s’

People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ for 2017 is country music star and The Voice judge Blake Shelton,” Mónica Marie Zorrilla wrote Thursday for Al Día in Philadelphia.

“This decision was not met well. . . .”

Zorrilla also wrote, “People Magazine has only honored two Black celebrities since [its] first coverboy in 1985 (Mel Gibson), Denzel Washington and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. As the quality of People’s White (non-Hispanic or non-Latino) awardees drops, perhaps it is time for People Magazine, like the rest of Hollywood, to rev up its commitment to diversify and to amplify their archaic Eurocentric notion of what it means to be ‘sexy’, and . . . what it means to ‘do good’.

“A face that challenges the bland beauty standards championed by the entertainment and advertising [industries] would increase our nation’s appreciation of multiculturalism.

“In 2017, what we need now more than ever is [fewer] Blake Sheltons, and more exemplary minority and foreign talent gracing front pages to show that much of our country’s strength lies in the inner and exterior beauty of our heterogeneous population, and that our longstanding tradition of embracing and learning from ‘the other’ should be celebrated.

“The label of ‘sexy’ is superficial, yes, but the impact of acknowledging influential people from different backgrounds by displaying them on the covers of mainstream publications is monumental. . . .”

The online article featured a slideshow of “20 Latino and Hispanic Men Sexier than People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive.’ ”


(Credit: Committee to Protect Journalists)

Amanpour: Defend, Not Destroy First Amendment

Journalists from Cameroon, Mexico, Thailand, and Yemen were honored Wednesday night at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards for courageous work amid risks such as imprisonment, threats, and exile,” the press freedom group reported Thursday.

“The families of two recently murdered former International Press Freedom Awardees — Pavel Sheremet of Ukraine, and Javier Valdez Cárdenas of Mexico — also attended the event. The crowd of nearly 1,000 stood to honor the two journalists and their loved ones following a video tribute to their work and to CPJ’s efforts to combat impunity.

“ ‘All of us in this room lose sleep over the safety of those who work for us, or with us, in difficult and dangerous places,’ said David Rhodes, president of CBS News and chair of the awards dinner. ‘Like all of the news organizations here tonight, we support journalists willing to take risks on behalf of their readers, listeners, and viewers — and their right and need to be informed.’

“The evening’s host, chief international correspondent for CNN and CPJ board member Christiane Amanpour, also reminded guests of the importance of American leadership on press freedom, saying, ‘We need the U.S. to be a beacon — a defender, not a destroyer, of First Amendment values everywhere. The brave journalists we honor tonight certainly think so. They have paid dearly, some with their lives or liberty, to report the news.’ . . .”

A newsroom in 1954

A newsroom in 1954.  (Credit: Alison Bethel McKenzie/Twitter)

75 Years of African Investigative Reporting

Her first stories on the 1994 Rwandan genocide weren’t published,” Colin McClelland reported Tuesday from Johannesburg for the Associated Press. “Her editor couldn’t believe them. No one could.

“A church filled with 1,300 bodies yet far from the killings in the capital, Kigali, reported by other news outlets? A mass grave with 500 dead and a few survivors crawling out?

“Yet Sheila Kawamara-Mishambi, a reporter for the New Vision newspaper in neighboring Uganda, was the first correspondent to expose the nationwide dimensions of the horror. Her work is a highlight of the new book ‘African Muckraking: 75 Years of Investigative Journalism from Africa.’

“ ‘She really persuaded her editor to send her back into Rwanda with a photographer,’ Anya Schiffrin, the Columbia University professor who edited the collection, said in an interview.

‘What was so interesting about researching this book was finding so many stories of investigative journalism from Africa.’

“The book, an offshoot of Schiffrin’s 2014 work ‘Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism From Around the World,’ also explores persecuted albinos in Tanzania, the slain anti-corruption sleuth Carlos Cardoso in Mozambique and the death squads of apartheid-era South Africa.

“The new book’s release ties in with the 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference this week in Johannesburg. . . .”

Schiffrin said by email from Johannesburg that the book was published in South Africa and has no American publisher, but that U.S. readers may obtain the Kindle edition.

Short Takes

Errin Haines Whack

Errin Haines Whack

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