J-Grads of Color Hit Harder by Weak Job Market
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
The bottom fell out of the job market for journalism and mass communication graduates in 2001 and 2002, and members of racial and ethnic minorities were particularly hard hit. In addition, growth in the percentage of faculty who are not white is so slow that, at the present rate, it will be 2035 before the faculty is as diverse as today's students, the Freedom Forum reports.
These are some of the key findings of the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication , conducted in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The specific findings and numbers are to be released Thursday at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Miami Beach. The reports to be released at the AEJMC meeting are to appear on the survey Web site Thursday.
Dems, GOP Parry over Racicot's NABJ No-Show
With no keynote speakers this year, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Marc Racicot, his Republican counterpart, were expected to produce the only non-sports news at last week's convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
But though NABJ announced the pair's appearance on July 30, Racicot was a no-show, and the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party appeared with McAuliffe Saturday instead.
Now, McAuliffe has issued a statement accusing the Republicans of being unwilling "to answer the tough questions" before African American audiences, and Racicot countered with a statement that he never agreed to come to NABJ in the first place: "I neither accepted nor cancelled the invitation to attend the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this past weekend."
The Democrats, meanwhile, issued a transcript of McAuliffe's remarks and challenged Racicot "to a debate in the near future anywhere at anytime."
During the NABJ convention business meeting, convention chair Michael Woolfolk of WACH-TV in Columbia, S.C., vice president for broadcast, explained the lack of keynote speakers by saying he wanted to avoid having speakers at night because members complained that speakers made the dinners too long. He said he instead tried to get Bush administration figures to speak during the day about terrorism. But they strung the association along, finally saying no, and by then it was too late to get anyone else, Woolfolk told members. The McAuliffe-Racicot discussion was a late addition.
Rumsfeld Roundtable With Black Journalists Makes News
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met with a black journalists roundtable on Monday and made news with comments on Iraq and Afghanistan. A transcript was expected to be posted on the Defense Department Web site.
The lead from Sonya Ross of the Associated Press was, "Making the case for more aggressive U.S. pursuit of terrorists outside of Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are lingering in nearby countries, hoping for a chance to sneak back in and seize power."
Wrote William Douglas in Newsday, "The Bush administration yesterday laughed off an Iraqi proposal to let members of Congress visit sites where biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are allegedly stashed.
" 'I can't think of anything funnier than a handful of congressmen wandering around [Iraq],' Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday at a roundtable of black journalists. 'Have you seen the size of the country? They'd have to be there for the next 50 years trying to find something. It's a joke.'"
Joe Davidson, editor of Focus magazine of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, is co-convener of the National Journalists Roundtable, along with Kevin Merida, an associate editor at the Washington Post. "NJR was started to provide a forum that would facilitate access between African American journalists and top national and international decision makers. It was designed to encourage black journalists to cover national and foreign beats and to support those already involved in that coverage," Davidson told Journal-isms. For that reason, Davidson said he was disappointed that only nine journalists attended, "only about half of those who said they would attend. That was fine for those there, but it didn't send a good message re: the interest among black journalists to take advantage of an opportunity to question the defense secretary during a time of war."
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is often portrayed as ignoring what the news media say, but in a Washington Post Magazine cover story, Post staffers Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher say that's not necessarily so. They write:
"Thomas has a long memory. He cited an article off the top of his head, written by Ernest Holsendolph, then of the New York Times, published July 3, 1982. Thomas nailed the exact date. He called the article 'the most unfair thing ever written about me' and urged that it be looked up. The story, 982 words, ran on Page 5 of the Times's main news section and begins this way:
"Clarence Thomas says that, as a youngster growing up in the Deep South in the 1960s and 1970s, he benefited from scholarships and other special programs provided for minorities.
"But now, in his new role as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the 34-year-old Mr. Thomas says he is opposed to aggressive "affirmative action" plans for minorities because they often place young people in programs beyond their abilities, especially in schools.
"The piece quotes Thomas extensively, but also quotes several critics. By most standards, it was a routine story. Which raises the question: Why would a public figure be so wounded by such everyday journalism? Thomas did not specify--the only certainty is that two decades later this single article is still etched in his mind."
Holsendolph, now a business staff member at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes about personal technology, education, digital issues and general business subjects, told Journal-isms he was surprised that Thomas "should be simmering over that article 20 years later. . . It must have hit a nerve at the time, a nerve that may still be bare," he said.
"I was on the EEOC beat at the time, and was very curious about this new guy sent over by the Reagan administration to "shut down" the commission, so we talked at length about him and the work of the agency. I was struck by the irony, that a bright but poor brother should rise to the heights with public and private help and then be so adamant in his opposition to affirmative action policies across the board. And so I expressed that point. Also I quote expert critics to respond to his arguments against an activist EEOC. I am not sure which of those two aspects of the story irritated most, but we can guess."
Holsendolph added, "I have no personal animosity toward Thomas. In fact I have requested interviews with him over the years, as recently as this year --- I wanted to write about him and Georgia, since we are both sons of the Peach State. The requests, of course, were all denied, in form letters. That most likely means they never rose to his personal attention but were turned down routinely as all others were. My guess is if he had rejected the request from me personally, it would have been like @$%&%##@**!!! no! Or words to that effect."
The Asian American Journalists Association opens its 15th annual national convention in Dallas today. You can follow the convention in the student newspaper, AAJA Voices, which today features stories on Asian immigrants to Texas and on media convergence, specifically Belo Interactive's Dallas-based group of Web sites. The operation encompasses the sites of six Belo-owned area media outlets, including DallasNews.com, the online edition of The Dallas Morning News; GuideLive.com, an online local entertainment guide; and WFAA.com, the Web site of broadcast station WFAA-Channel 8.
"Across the country, many metro columnists are polite or parochial or tend toward soft-feature blandness. Some newspapers seem to dole out the slots on demographic grounds -- fielding a white man, a woman and a minority -- who play to their constituencies. Few register on the outrage meter," writes Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post.
"Unlike op-ed pundits, who often deliver opinions from Olympian heights, metro columnists are supposed to be out in the streets, more reporters than pontificators. But as journalists have become more firmly entrenched in the upper middle class -- writing books, sending their kids to private school, moving from market to market -- many readers have come to view them as out of touch with the community."
Sam Fulwood of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland is quoted as saying, "Race is the big bugaboo of my column. My picture's there and a lot of people are predisposed to think they know all about me after they see my picture. . .
"If you're writing for urban readers, you're going to be writing for blacks and Hispanics," Fulwood added. If he were to invent the local equivalent of Slats Grobnik, Royko's fictional, beer-drinking Everyman, "it would have to be some sort of yuppie who lives in the suburbs. The Plain Dealer and most newspapers are aimed at that reader."
Columnist Eugene Kane, who as president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association hosted the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Milwaukee, is also a member of the William Monroe Trotter Group of African American columnists. The group met in Kane's hotel suite during the convention and, Kane writes, "What was immediately clear, no matter what the market, was that if you're a black columnist writing about issues of concern to the black community, some people will always accuse you of stirring up trouble.
"We serve all readers who live in increasingly diverse cities by thinking and writing 'black,' even if some don't want to hear it," he concludes.
NABJ Speaker Says Audience Booed, Jeered Him
The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of Los Angeles, little known outside of conservative circles, was chosen to debate pop academic Michael Eric Dyson at the National Association of Black Journalists' convention last week. The subject was reparations, but those who attended said Peterson was clearly out of his depth, spent time talking instead about morality, and even insulted one of NABJ's founding members and former presidents, Vernon Jarrett, calling him a "foolish old man."
But it is Peterson who is complaining. He issued this news release Tuesday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2002
Contact: Ermias Alemayehu
JOURNALISTS ATTACK BLACK LEADER
Rev. Peterson Says: "They Screamed, Booed, And Jeered At Me"
Los Angeles - Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Founder and President of BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, today released a statement about his treatment at the National Association Of Black Journalists' (NABJ) 27th Annual Convention & Career Fair. Rev. Peterson was invited by NABJ President Condace Pressley to debate "The Case For / Against Reparations for African Americans," with Michael Eric Dyson, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania, last Friday, August 2, 2002, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"The debate was poorly organized and unfairly administered from the start. The other panelist Dyson was thirty minutes late, and still was allowed to make both the opening and closing remarks," said Rev. Peterson. "Dyson blamed whites for the high incarceration rate of black males and for a host of other problems in the black community; he received a thunderous applause from the 250 to 300 black so-called 'journalists' in the room," said Rev. Peterson.
"I opened my remarks by stating that black Americans don't need reparations, what they need are two-parent households with good fathers leading them. And yes, they should get educated, but that will not repair the moral and physical damage that has taken place over the last forty years. Immediately, the crowd erupted with boos and laughter. During the question and answer period, Dyson, one of the heads of the NABJ, and others in the audience called me ignorant and accused me of being 'the white man's boy,'" added Rev. Peterson.
"Last Friday's events validated my long-held suspicions that even the most educated blacks hate whites with a passion. You would think that these 'professionals' would be satisfied with their progress in this country, instead in their blind anger they can only think about an undeserved big payback," concluded Rev. Peterson.
Spreading the Word on Improving Black Men's Health
A panel discussion on "How Diet Affects Black Men's Health," sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and featuring a free "healthy breakfast" buffet, proved to be one of the highlights of the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
In the St. Petersberg Times, Monique Fields wrote about Todd Beamon, a producer for the Baltimore Sun's SunSpot.Net, describing how he was shocked into changing his diet at age 40 after polyps were discovered on his colon.
Rob Golub of the Journal Times in Racine, Wis., quoted Gregory L. Moore, editor of The Denver Post, the only journalist on the panel, telling the group, "see this as an opportunity for columns. Educate people about the disparity. "I think that's the kind of journalism we should be doing."
And in the Kansas City Star, Steve Penn mentioned panelist Reed Tuckson, a senior vice president at UnitedHealth Group, and a former public health commissioner of Washington, D.C.: "Tuckson asked the audience to turn to the obituary pages of their respective newspapers. 'When you read the obits, think about how many premature funerals and autopsies happen because of the diseases you've already heard about,' Tuckson said."
The NABJ Monitor, the student newspaper at the NABJ convention, included a story about this column on Saturday. But due to a page mixup, the story made it to the online edition only. You can view it if you have PDF software.
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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