Archive for category journalism
Are you ready for Unity Lite? Some thoughts on the Hispanic withdrawal and the future of the minority journalism group once known for its unity; (UPDATING with “Post-Racial” Unity)
I’m not sure if there is a point to Unity if two of the biggest groups have decided to abandon whatever sense of unity might exist among minority journalists.
When the black journalists left the group and weren’t at the convention last year I was dismayed. But I thought maybe Unity could still survive, especially if there was even a remote possibility of NABJ returning.
Now that the Hispanic journalists of NAHJ have pulled out, I think it’s really over.
Here was NAHJ President Hugo Balta’s message on its website this week:
“As I’ve repeatedly stated NAHJ is open to working with UNITY and look forward to discussing proposals that meet our mutual [associations'] mission.
“We wish UNITY good luck in their future endeavors.”
Sound like the kiss-off speech you get when you’re fired or laid off?
(Haven’t experienced that ever? Then you’re really a protected minority).
If two of the biggest groups aren’t represented, we have a different kind of “Unity” that is no longer unified, diverse, nor even necessary.
A group that includes AAJA, the Asian American journalists group, and the two smallest minority journalism groups from the LGBT and Native American communities, represents an organization with diminished numbers, resources, and power.
We should have figured something like this would happen when the tag line was changed last year from “Journalists of Color” to “Journalists for Diversity.” Diversity? Or some reasonable facsimile?
Diversity without the two biggest minority groups in the organization is just a joke.
It’s also disheartening, though not surprising, to see business and financial reasons come up as the wedge that divides the different groups over the common goal of diversity.
Of course, joining a bigger group makes perfect sense to the minority of minority journalism groups representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, and Native Americans.
But how can Unity make sense for everyone else?
What kind of formula would lure back NABJ, NAHJ?
What kind of arrangement is needed to keep even AAJA members interested?
The current president Paul Cheung has just sent an e-mail to AAJA members, saying that since July the remaining alliance members are working to restructure Unity to make it “more nimble, flexible, and financially sound.” Furthermore, it says AAJA has taken a leadership role in coming up with solutions.
I’ll be open to whatever the remaining Unity reps come up with. But if it doesn’t compel NABJ or NAHJ to re-join, then it may not be good enough.
The group certainly shouldn’t be called Unity.
I’ve been to every Unity convention and believe in the mission of bringing the power of all the organizations together to make our case for diversity together.
But what good is a new and nimble Unity without the blacks and Hispanics?
Do we really need Unity Lite?
(Clarification: NAHJ as of August had 1,279 members and was the second largest Unity partner. AAJA was the largest with 1,597 members in August. NABJ withdrew from Unity in 2011. It has nearly 3,000 members, according to Richard Prince’s Journalisms/Maynard Institute website).
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ADDENDUM: (10/24/13, 11:24 am PDT)
Without the blacks and Hispanics, you essentially have a GAAJANA (Gay Asian American Journalists Association/Native Americans). It would be a different organization, just not “Unity.” And probably not worth it to organizations to take time from their own specific concerns. Too bad the formal idea has already been built and established, but there’s no will to do what’s right for all. No one uses the good of the people argument here.
A “Unity” without all the groups is really like a Congress without 50 states. But Congress has its problems with gridlock and “doing the right thing.” Why did we expect anything different with our journalism organizations?
UPDATE (10/24/13 11:43 am PDT )
Disappointment but willingness to let go from a significant early member of Unity, who compared the situation to marriage, essentially saying sometimes it doesn’t work out and you move on. That’s a sign that the old Unity is really gone forever. Anything from here on will be brand new and be very different.
Initially, I called it Unity Lite. But it’s really a kind of “Post-Racial” Unity.
So here’s an idea:Why don’t we just try to diversify existing mainstream groups like SPJ, RTNDA, and the like instead of creating a brand new Unity?
CBS’ Julie Chen’s the “Talk” about her eyes at the EYE; But candor on race has come pretty late for the TV star
Here’s my initial reaction to the Julie Chen reveal of how she dealt with racism in TV News that I posted on my “Emil Guillermo Media” Facebook site– https://www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media :
I think the bottom line is it’s still a self-serving reveal for Chen, especially since she appears to have only done it to fill out a show theme on “secrets” for her program, “The Talk.”
Wouldn’t it have been better–and more credible–if she had come out boldly after the “Big Brother” debacle this season? Yes, BB is also Chen’s show, but the presence of a specific contestant who spouted anti-Asian comments throughout the show, would have given Chen a real opportunity to come out more naturally about how she dealt with anti-Asian racism in the past.
So instead of seeing Julie Chen as Rosa Parks, I’m wondering, what’s up Julie Chen?
Here’s someone who knows how hard it is as a minority to get ahead in TV news. She recalls the blatant racism she experienced in Ohio. And frankly, she must know that some version of that conversation can be heard in newsrooms even today.
And yet, prior to this, Julie Chen has not been known in broadcast circles as a pioneering diversity advocate.
This is after years of success as Chen represents the best example of hair and makeup, and now plastic surgery. She has quite a career as one who has married a network president and has an ubiquitous presence in daytime, primetime, and bedtime.
But maybe this is the start of a brand new Julie. Perhaps someone has told her about that old phrase of the jazz great Ramsey Lewis, “When you take the elevator up, don’t forget to send it back down.”
I’m attending the Asian American Journalists Association convention in New York…but it’s actually more likely I will be stopped and frisked than bump into Connie Chung
I wasn’t stopped nor frisked in NYC. Nor did I see Connie. I did see a lot of young Asian American journalists, which is good, but it seemed much of the meeting was driven by new media, tech, and gadgetry. Journalism? Well, there was some discussion of that, but for the most part it was secondary, because journalism is being transformed by the digital world. The conference almost presumes the 5w’s part. The digital stuff was much bigger at this conference than I ever expected. Which is great, because most of the attendees weren’t around when newsrooms used typewriters.
One other thing. Much has been made about the media criticism discussion at the conference. I skipped it because as much as AAJA wants to be a media watchdog, at best the group is ineffective because there are limits to what journalism associations can do. It can advocate diversity in hiring and coverage. And that’s it. It can criticize, but it doesn’t want to be seen as an advocate nor as a hard “civil rights” organization. That makes AAJA more of a ”soft” civil rights org because it does preach diversity. But it truly leaves its fangs at the door. How can you be tough on big corporate news organizations when you depend on those same news organization for support? The convention was in New York, and it just seemed to lack the kind of spark you’d expect from a convention in the media capital. Media companies were pretty minimal in their involvement. Sign of the times, I’m afraid.
So roll it all up, and you have a nice careerist organization that H.R. departments love because it helps show media organizations are interested in the public good. But when the industry is shrinking and careers are curtailed or shorten, a careerist organization isn’t left with much to crow about these days. And when it crows about racist coverage, what’s it’s solution? It’s not a union. It’s a journalism organization. Aside checking for grammar and proper use of AP style, what’s left? Advocating for minority jobs? What jobs?
In the end, it was a nice gathering for some of us who still believe there’s a reason for AAJA.
Would have been nice to see one plenary session where everyone could come together and discuss the broad themes that should be concerning minority journalists and communities they cover. That would have been a place to discuss and reinforce the values of the organization.
Right now, the organization seems like it’s just trying to survive. Just like many newsrooms in the country.
Washington Post sold for $250 million to Amazon’s Bezos–probably with free 2-day shipping and zero taxes….(UPDATED 8-6)
If you are a journalist, the idea of the Post being sold is stunning. The New York Times just ran a piece on Sunday about the “next edition,” talking about how Katharine Weymouth would follow in Kay Graham’s footsteps, so the expectation was that the family would keep control and do what it’s always done–produce the best all-around newspaper in the nation.
But I suppose the business pressures were just too high.
Still, $250 million is just depressing in terms of what it says about the value of newspapers.
$250 million is what a baseball team pays for a couple of starting pitchers. Maybe an outfielder.
That’s for perspective.
To keep it to just newspapers, in 1993, the New York Times bought the Boston Globe of $1.1 billion.
Last week, the Times sold the Boston Globe for $70 million. Slate reports that with the pensions involved the actual price is around -$40 million. That’s minus $40 million!
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos may be the best possible buyer for the Post. As an internet baron, he’s well positioned for any upside in newspapers’ digital future. How can he not succeed fabulously?
Not only has he purchased a massive content machine for all his Kindles, as the Post’s owner, Bezos’ starts at the top, poised to go higher. In an instant, he becomes the industry leader in a new age of journalism.
UPDATE:8/6/13 8:31 a.m.PDT
But is it a “golden age”?
As I thought about Post being bought, I first was shocked by the amount. $250 million? As I said, this is what a star athlete makes. The Giant’s Barry Zito and a player to be named later come to mind. That’s not exactly Woodward and Bernstein.
I tweeted something about old Posties like Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, who now do their thing on TV, and what the Post could have fetched when they were there. And then it dawned on me that indeed, newspapers are becoming like sports teams, the play things of billionaires.
So, of course, the Red Sox John Henry buys the Boston Globe. And Amazon’s Bezos, of course, buys the Post. And for just $250 million? And they threw in some local shoppers? That’s not full retail, is it?
So now the question is if the Post, and the public, got the right billionaire.
From reading Bezos’ memo to the staff (posted by Poynter), it’s hard to tell. I thought it was straight forward.
But I didn’t become more skeptical until I saw this from Robert McChesney, the co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America and author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, both published this year. He is professor of communications at the University of Illinois.