Nearly One in Four College Journalism Programs Flunks on Diversity
Friday, November 1, 2002
Nearly One in Four College J-Programs Flunks on Diversity
Nearly one in four college journalism programs seeking accreditation fails the diversity criterion, according to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Susanne Shaw, executive director of the council and journalism professor at the University of Kansas, said the diversity bar — known as Standard 12 — was the standard where college journalism programs were most often out of compliance. But, she told a meeting of the Black College Communication Association in Orlando, Fla., no school has been denied accreditation because of it.
That standard requires a demonstrated commitment "to increased diversity and inclusivity in their student populations and faculties and to the creation of a learning environment that exposes students to a broad spectrum of voices and views."
On Standard 12 compliance, "is it where we want to be?" asked Shaw. "Not necessarily, but we're making progress." Are we producing enough people who want to teach? "Are there enough to go around? We're better today than we were in 1985," when the standard was established, she said.
From 1995 to 2002, the council conducted 121 accreditation reviews. Site teams found the school out of compliance with Standard 12 in 29 of those reviews.
During the same period, teams found non-compliance on Standard 9 (Scholarship, Research, Creative and Professional Activities) at 19 schools; on Standard 8 (Equipment/Facilities) at 13 schools; and Standard 4 (Student Records/Advising) at 9 schools. At the other end of the spectrum, no school was cited on Standard 7 (Internships/Work Experience), and just one was cited for Standard 5 (Instruction/Evaluation), the council told Journal-isms.
To help schools comply on diversity, the council received a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to put together a "best practices" book, which is being edited by Beverly Kees, formerly of the Freedom Forum.
Journalism 101: Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The latest issue of U.S. News & World Report features photos of the two sniper suspects on the cover with the single word "MONSTERS" across the top. Subheads are "Why They Did It." "How They Got Caught."
So how did it happen that the New York Times ran two radically different news accounts of the same antiwar demonstration in Washington within four days?
Editors have refused to comment on the turn of events, Editor & Publisher reports, but on Wednesday, Kathy Park, manager of public relations for the New York Times Co., e-mailed the following statement to E&P: "We were attentive to complaints from a fair number of readers that the number of demonstrations around the country and the number of participants in Washington warranted further coverage. We also looked at what news agencies and other publications had reported, and we felt that there was more we ought to say."
Mark N. Trahant relinquishes his position today as CEO of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, returning to his role of board chairman and passing the operational leadership mantle to Dori J. Maynard. Maynard will assume the title of president and CEO and direct the day-to-day operation of the Institute.
Trahant said he is working on a book on the Salmon River and looking for a job at the same time. "I just want to get back into the practice of craft," he said.
He said the changeover was planned as expected, and he took the job with a two-year limit.
Lisa Chung, columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been elected national vice president for print of the Asian American Journalists Association.
A total of 367 ballots were received, representing a turnout of 37 percent of current, full members. Chung won with 194 votes to 161 for Neal Justin, a TV critic and editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The special mail election was called to fill the position to be vacated on Jan. 1 by Mae Cheng of Newsday, who was elected AAJA president.
Chung's most recent contribution was co-chairing AAJA's 2001 National Convention in San Francisco. Along with co-chair Matt Dunn, she received the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Award for putting on a successful convention in spite of difficult economic conditions. Chung was also executive director for AAJA from 1993 to 1996.
Chicago Tribune reader representative Don Wycliff, in a column called "Great Leaps of Utter Nonsense," brings to light the bankrupt reasoning of Daniel Pipes, columnist for the New York Post and Jerusalem Post, who wrote:
"It came as no surprise to learn that the lead suspect as the Washington, D.C.-area sniper is John Allen Muhammad, an African American who converted to Islam about 17 years ago. Nor did it surprise, that seven years ago he provided security for Louis Farrakhan's `Million Man March.' Even less does it amaze that he reportedly sympathized with the Sept. 11 attacks carried out by militant Islamic elements."
And why was what so many others found remarkable "no surprise" to Pipes?
Because, he said, "it fits into a well-established tradition of American blacks who convert to Islam turning against their country."
"Look at me — do I look like a monster?" said Grover Scanlan, a black student at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha who said he once lived on welfare.
Scanlan was one of more than 200 students and others who attended a two-hour campus forum responding to a column in the Observer student newspaper that sought to blame aspects of the lifestyles of some African Americans for the Sept. 29 mob beating and death of Charlie Young Jr., the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
Young and his alleged attackers — most of whom were juveniles — were all black.
Columnist Dan Hubert linked the incident to black Milwaukeeans living on welfare, having children out of wedlock and even dressing in certain types of clothing.
At the forum, Hubert apologized for offending some readers, but he also sounded a defiant note, insisting that his commentary was intended to speak out on behalf of the beating victim.
"If you want to be mad at someone, don't be mad at me," Hubert said. "be mad at the monsters who beat Charlie Young's brains out."
Some faculty members at UW-Waukesha brought their entire classes to the forum for a real-life lesson in culture, politics and freedom of the press.
Mary Edwards, adviser to the African-American Union, a student group that sponsored the forum, said the newspaper column was "a wake-up call" for those who thought no racial tensions exist on campus. Of the 2,100 students on campus, African Americans and other people of color make up 7 percent, or about 150 students.
Some 30 to 40 students at Marquette University gathered for a two-hour meeting to voice their frustration with the student newspaper's coverage of the Charles Young Jr. beating and other newspaper issues, the student paper, the Marquette Tribune, reported.
Black students said they were offended by the story's headline, which contained the word "savage," allegedly a reference to the tribal ancestry of Africans, and by the story's opening sentence, which contained a reference to black children eating fried chicken, a common racial stereotype. Editors at the Tribune defended the newspaper's printing of the material. "I feel that we cover all groups on campus fairly," Tribune Editor in Chief Adam S. Kirby said. "We promise fairness and sound judgment. The article was not meant as a slight against them. We strive to be fair, and that's the bottom line with the newspaper."
"You have to go through this to train the editors for the real world," said Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane, who is also president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association and was at the meeting. "That way they'll learn how people will react when they publish controversial issues in the real world."
2 Editors Win First Diversity Leadership Awards
Don Flores, editor and executive vice president of the El Paso Times in Texas, and Jim Strauss, executive editor of the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune, are recipients of the first Robert G. McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership.
They were honored for their outstanding leadership in newsroom diversity during a ceremony at the Associated Press Managing Editors association convention Oct. 24.
The awards are given by APME and the American Society of Newspaper Editors in partnership with the Freedom Forum, which provides the funding. APME President Caesar Andrews and Charles L. Overby, chairman and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, spoke at the awards ceremony. Each honoree received $2,500.
The awards, which recognize leadership in news content and recruiting, developing and retaining journalists of color, are named for the former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and diversity champion. McGruder died of cancer in April.
When Flores became editor of the El Paso Times in 1993, 43 percent of the newsroom staff was journalists of color. Journalists of color now make up 57 percent of the newsroom staff. The percentage of news managers who are people of color now is 58 percent — more than double the level in 1993.
Strauss was recognized in the under-50,000 circulation category.
Strauss has developed a minority apprenticeship program, hires students of color for internships and has promoted minority interns into full-time jobs. His newspaper presents an annual scholarship to a Native American student attending the University of Montana.
Belafonte Lost With Media Pundits
Harry Belafonte's criticism of Secretary of State Colin Powell as a "house slave," made public on Oct. 8, united news media commentators as disparate as the National Review and African American author Earl Ofari Hutchinson, but Belafonte refused to back down on remarks that were easily taken out of context and more challenging to put into perspective.
One who did attempt some context was Steven Holmes of The New York Times, who in Sunday's Week in Review section made an effort to tie together Belfonte's remarks, the "Barbershop" movie controversy and notions of what black folks ought to say in public.
Part of his piece said:
"Some, like the scholar Shelby Steele, argue that a major goal of the civil rights movement was to get a racist America to treat black people as individuals. To stifle free speech by suggesting that people who stray from the orthodoxy are insufficiently black is to betray the efforts of that movement. 'The idea of individual freedom resonated with Negro freedom — a freedom not for the group but for the individuals who made up the group,' Mr. Steele wrote in a recent article in Harper's.
"But others argue that the country did not simply evolve spontaneously into one that allows more freedom of expression to blacks. The nation was pushed there by collective action, and without sustained collective action — which might require some care in what black people say and where they say it — things could fall apart.
" 'You might say that asking "Is someone black enough?" is a kind of rude question,' said Roger W. Wilkins, a history professor at George Mason University. 'But you do ask yourself the question of when a black person gets into a position of power whether he or she is sensitive to those issues you think a black person in a position of power ought to be sensitive to. Otherwise, what is the point of integration? You don't want to integrate just to make the class picture look better.'"
An article in the Baltimore Sun said that "if there is a plantation here, it's the one Belafonte is on: where all blacks are supposed to act, think and vote a certain way."
A Boston Herald editorial said Belafonte is "still trapped in another time and place ..." and it is "a little sickening that he cannot realize that all black Americans are free to make up their minds."
The Chicago Sun-Times called for Belafonte to apologize, and Bill O'Reilly, of Fox News Network's "The O'Reilly Factor," called Belafonte "despicable."
A study partly funded by the Family Friendly Programming Forum that queried parents of 5- to 17-year-olds has found that 90 percent of parents surveyed agree with the statement, "When it comes to bad language and adult themes, it seems like TV programs are getting worse every year."
Sixty-five percent of the parents surveyed believe themes that are inappropriate for children often air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m, while 82 percent say they have seen a TV program in the past year that did impart a good message to their child, Electronic Media reports.
The survey of 1,607 parents was conducted for State Farm Insurance Companies, with additional support from the Family Friendly Programming Forum, a group of 40 major national advertisers.
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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