Tag: New York Times

New Study Shows News Outlets Skew Towards Negative Portrayals of Black Families, Contrary to Government Data

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

via blavity.com

According to the Washington Post, a recent Color of Change and Family Story study found that the news media has had a significant hand in negatively skewing the perceptions of black families.

The study’s researchers reviewed over 800 local and national news pieces published or aired between January 2015 and December 2016, sampling major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC as well as major print publications such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The study — conducted by  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis L. Dixon — found that national news outlets were more likely to show black families as broken and dysfunctional while white families were depicted as possessing social stability.

These images are not only distorted, but contradict government data.

Dixon found that black families represented 59 percent of poor people portrayed in media, but actually only make up of 27 percent of Americans living in poverty. In contrast, white families only make up 17 percent of the poor representated in media, but make up 66 percent in reality. As far as criminal depictions go, black criminals represented 37 percent of the media’s criminals while only 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges are black in real life. White criminals represented 28 percent the criminals portrayed in the media, but make up 77 percent of real life’s crime suspects.

The report argues that constant depictions of black people living in poor, welfare-dependent and broken homes due to absentee fathers has created a negative image of black families in general.

“This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” said Dixon.

Further, these depictions can affect black families on a systematic level. Dixon noted that the images can spark political rhetoric and the powerful buying into these narratives are what causes Congress to “gut social safety net programs,” bosses to implement harsher work and drug testing requirements and general disdain for welfare programs.

The study also notes that during the Great Depression, white families suffering from poverty were presented in the media as having run into “hard luck,” and that there were campaigns to “help them through tough times.”

However, over time, the media and political leaders have “worked to pathologize black families in the American imagination to justify slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, widespread economic inequity and urban disinvestment — as well as to gain and maintain political and social power,” argues Nicole Rodgers, founder of Family Story.

And this effort has borne terrible fruit, according to Color of Change’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, who said, “There are dire consequences for black people when these outlandish archetypes rule the day: abusive treatment by police, less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges.”

Overall, the report concluded that in order to make real change in the news industry, stricter sourcing requirements will have to be implemented, journalists must be encouraged to provide social and historical context and the editorial standards process should include people of color.

Source: https://blavity.com/color-change-study-news-outlets-promote-false-negative-portrayals-black-families-reality

Simmons College Renames College of Media, Arts and Humanities in Memory of Journalist and Alumna Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill (photo via Getty Images)

via jbhe.com

Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, announced that it will rename its College of Media, Arts and Humanities after Gwen Ifill, the noted journalist and Simmons College alumna who died in 2016.

Ifill was born in Jamaica, New York, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Simmons College and worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald-American, the Baltimore Evening Sun, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Her first job in television was for NBC News. She then joined the Public Broadcasting System in 1999 and served as co-anchor of NewsHour and moderator of Washington Week. Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates and a primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Ifill was the author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama (Doubleday, 2009).

In announcing the honor, Simmons College President Helen Drinan stated, “For over 100 years, our mission at Simmons has been to prepare our students to lead meaningful lives and build successful careers. Gwen’s example stands tall in that mission. The kind of unimpeded curiosity Gwen brought to her work, coupled with her warmth, integrity and commitment to truth-telling, is something all of our students aspire to – no matter what field of study they pursue. We are extraordinarily proud of her and so pleased to formalize her legacy at Simmons this way.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2017/11/simmons-college-in-boston-names-a-college-in-honor-of-journalist-and-alumna-gwen-ifill/

Lydia Polgreen Named New Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

New Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Lydia Polgreen has been named as the next editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, following founder Arianna Huffington, who was the first. Polgreen, a New York Times associate masthead editor and editorial director of NYT Global, said that it was a hard decision to leave the New York Times but that she felt the editor-in-chief position was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“I feel like we’re living in a moment right now where media has to fundamentally rethink its position vis-a-vis power,” she said. “I think that the election of Donald Trump and the basic difficulty that the media had in anticipating it tells us something really profound about the echo chamber in which we live, the ways in which journalism has failed to reach beyond its own inner limits.”

She also praised the Huffington Post for having “potential and the possibility of really meeting this populist moment that we’re living in and meeting people where they actually are.”

“The DNA of The Huffington Post is fundamentally progressive, but I think that has a really capacious meaning and comes to include so many of the things that motivated not just the people who were rah rah Bernie or who voted for Hillary Clinton, but also many, many people in the United States who voted for Trump, who have fundamental concerns about the way the country is moving and the future,” she said.

To read full article, go to: Black woman named editor-in-chief of Huffington Post | theGrio

The New York Times Magazine Features Claudia Rankine Article “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence”

Serena Williams cover
Serena Williams (CHRISTOPHER GRIFFITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief

Award-winning poet, playwright and professor Claudia Rankine has authored a cover article for the New York Times Magazine on tennis great Serena Williams.  “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence” was digitally published yesterday, a week before the start of the U.S. Open and Williams’ opportunity to not only achieve a Grand Slam (winning all four major tennis tournaments in one calendar year) but also tie Steffi Graf‘s record of most Grand Slam titles won in the modern era (22) by a female.

It seems with this article the New York Times is accomplishing two things – finally hiring a black female writer to write about a prominent black female (remember the Shonda Rhimes “Angry Black Woman” debacle authored by Alessandra Stanley last September?) and attempting to make up for the poorly-received article written in July of this year by Ben Rothberg that was considered to be “body shaming” of muscular female athletes and Serena Williams specifically.

But whatever the intentions, we are happy for the existence of Rankine’s piece, the thoughtful analysis of racism, black excellence, and Serena’s career that it makes, and mostly, because we are rooting HARD for Serena to take the title and make even more history.  Check out an excerpt from the article below:

“The Meaning of Serena Williams” by Claudia Rankine

There is a belief among some African-Americans that to defeat racism, they have to work harder, be smarter, be better. Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is. But of course, once recognized, black excellence is then supposed to perform with good manners and forgiveness in the face of any racist slights or attacks. Black excellence is not supposed to be emotional as it pulls itself together to win after questionable calls. And in winning, it’s not supposed to swagger, to leap and pump its fist, to state boldly, in the words of Kanye West, ‘‘That’s what it is, black excellence, baby.’’

Imagine you have won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, with only four losses in your 25 appearances in the finals. Imagine that you’ve achieved two ‘‘Serena Slams’’ (four consecutive Slams in a row), the first more than 10 years ago and the second this year. A win at this year’s U.S. Open would be your fifth and your first calendar-year Grand Slam — a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988, when you were just 6 years old. This win would also break your tie for the most U.S. Open titles in the Open era, surpassing the legendary Chris Evert, who herself has called you ‘‘a phenomenon that once every hundred years comes around.’’ Imagine that you’re the player John McEnroe recently described as ‘‘the greatest player, I think, that ever lived.’’ Imagine that, despite all this, there were so many bad calls against you, you were given as one reason video replay needed to be used on the courts. Imagine that you have to contend with critiques of your body that perpetuate racist notions that black women are hypermasculine and unattractive. Imagine being asked to comment at a news conference before a tournament because the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, has described you and your sister as ‘‘brothers’’ who are ‘‘scary’’ to look at. Imagine.

The word ‘‘win’’ finds its roots in both joy and grace. Serena’s grace comes because she won’t be forced into stillness; she won’t accept those racist projections onto her body without speaking back; she won’t go gently into the white light of victory. Her excellence doesn’t mask the struggle it takes to achieve each win. For black people, there is an unspoken script that demands the humble absorption of racist assaults, no matter the scale, because whites need to believe that it’s no big deal. But Serena refuses to keep to that script. Somehow, along the way, she made a decision to be excellent while still being Serena. She would feel what she feels in front of everyone, in response to anyone. At Wimbledon this year, for example, in a match against the home favorite Heather Watson, Serena, interrupted during play by the deafening support of Watson, wagged her index finger at the crowd and said, ‘‘Don’t try me.’’ She will tell an audience or an official that they are disrespectful or unjust, whether she says, simply, ‘‘No, no, no’’ or something much more forceful, as happened at the U.S. Open in 2009, when she told the lineswoman, ‘‘I swear to God I am [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat.’’ And in doing so, we actually see her. She shows us her joy, her humor and, yes, her rage. She gives us the whole range of what it is to be human, and there are those who can’t bear it, who can’t tolerate the humanity of an ordinary extraordinary person.

In the essay ‘‘Everybody’s Protest Novel,’’ James Baldwin wrote, ‘‘our humanity is our burden, our life; we need not battle for it; we need only to do what is infinitely more difficult — that is, accept it.’’ To accept the self, its humanity, is to discard the white racist gaze. Serena has freed herself from it. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be emotional or hurt by challenges to her humanity. It doesn’t mean she won’t battle for the right to be excellent. There is nothing wrong with Serena, but surely there is something wrong with the expectation that she be ‘‘good’’ while she is achieving greatness. Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.

To read the rest of Rankine’s feature on Williams, click nytimes.com.

The New York Times Apologizes to Shonda Rhimes

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 11.54.48 AM

In the words of Omar from The Wire“you come at the king, you best not miss.” The New York Times came for the queen, that would be the one and only Shonda Rhimes, and they missed royally and now they must pay – which in this day and age means publicly apologize.

Let us recall the chain of events shall we? Alessandra Stanley wrote an article in The New York Times where she called Rhimes an “angry Black woman” in the opening sentence. Rhimes called Stanley out on Twitter, not only for the mislabel, but for also having her facts all the way wrong. Times readers then demanded an apology from the newspaper and called the article racist. So, then came an apology. Only, it took the form of the typical ‘I’m sorry, not sorry’.

The New York Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan first issued a broad apology and said she would investigate the matter further.

Sullivan then amended the statement and provided information she received about the article from culture editor, Danielle Mattoon.

Early Monday afternoon, I spoke to the culture editor, Danielle Mattoon. She told me that arts and culture editors are well aware of the response to the piece, and she offered words of regret, as well as an explanation and a resolution for the future. “There was never any intent to offend anyone and I deeply regret that it did,” Ms. Mattoon said. “Alessandra used a rhetorical device to begin her essay, and because the piece was so largely positive, we as editors weren’t sensitive enough to the language being used.” Ms. Mattoon called the article “a serious piece of criticism,” adding, “I do think there were interesting and important ideas raised that are being swamped” by the protests. She told me that multiple editors — at least three — read the article in advance but that none of them raised any objections or questioned the elements of the article that have been criticized. “This is a signal to me that we have to constantly remind ourselves as editors of our blind spots, what we don’t know, and of how readers may react.”

So what we have here is Mattoon essentially saying: well we tried and we didn’t know it would get a negative reaction because nobody told us and we clearly don’t have any common sense on race issues and there are no people of color in the newsroom who could have helped us out with this and don’t blame us because there’s still good stuff in the article.

Stanley didn’t do much better with her apology. She wrote:

In the review, I referenced a painful and insidious stereotype solely in order to praise Ms. Rhimes and her shows for traveling so far from it. If making that connection between the two offended people, I feel bad about that. But I think that a full reading allows for a different takeaway than the loudest critics took.

A full reading? Does Stanley think that people only read the first sentence calling Rhimes an “Angry Black Woman,” got so angered they could read no further, but still complained anyway? Yeah, ok. The article was tone-deaf and so is the apology.

At least Sullivan noted:

I still plan to talk to Mr. (Dean) Baquet (executive editor) about the article, its editing, and about diversity in the newsroom, particularly among culture critics. The Times has a number of high-ranked editors and prominent writers who are people of color, but it’s troubling that among 20 critics, not one is black and only one is a person of color.

Well it seems we have gotten to the core of the issue, there aren’t any Black critics who could have checked this whole thing so it wouldn’t have to get this far. But instead, Rhimes and African-American readers and viewers had to take matters into their own hands just to receive a sorry apology. Hopefully, the next step will be to truly diversify the newsroom which will hopefully lead to more content and context within published stories.

article Diana Veiga via clutchmagonline.com

Dean Baquet Becomes NY Times’ First African American Executive Editor

 

dean-baquet-300x208Dean Baquet, managing editor of the New York Times and former top editor at the Los Angeles Times, was named Executive Editor on Wednesday after Jill Abramson stepped down from the New York newspaper’s top editorial job.  Baquet, 57, becomes the first African American in the job.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a  generation ago,” he said in a New York Times account of the development, “one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day.”

Baquet’s ascension was big news for black journalists, whose ranks have been buffeted by newspaper staff contractions and indifference to diversity concerns.

“He has reached a height many can only dream about,” messaged Don Hudson, the executive editor of the Decatur (Ala.) Daily who tracks the number of black top editors for the National Association of Black Journalists. “He’s an inspiration to all of us editor types out here in the trenches. I know I’m proud of him.”

Hudson added, “It’s a good day. God is good. First a president and now the top journalist.”

Get the rest of this story at Journal-isms.

Princeton University Offers Free Summer Journalism Program for High School Juniors, Deadline to Apply Feb. 21

Members of the Summer Journalism Program pose for a photo at the entrance to The New York Times, one of several news organizations they visited during a visit to New York City. The students also visited CNN as well as Newsweek and The Daily Beast as part of the broad exposure they received on various forms of journalism. (Photo by Brian Rokus)
Members of the Summer Journalism Program pose for a photo at the entrance to The New York Times, one of several news organizations they visited during a visit to New York City. The students also visited CNN as well as Newsweek and The Daily Beast as part of the broad exposure they received on various forms of journalism. (Photo by Brian Rokus)

An all-expenses-paid program for high school student journalists from low-income backgrounds will take place for 10 days next summer on the campus of Princeton University. The program is entering its 13th year; since 2002, approximately 250 students from high schools across the country have participated. The program’s goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism.

Classes at the program are taught by reporters and editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, Time, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Sports Illustrated, CNN and NPR, among other media outlets. Students meet with numerous Princeton professors, as well as Princeton’s president and dean of admissions. They report an investigative story, cover a professional sports event, produce a TV segment, and publish their own newspaper. And they receive guidance on the college admissions process not only during the 10 days of the program, but also during the fall of their senior year of high school.

Students selected for the program will have all their costs, including the cost of travel to and from Princeton, paid for by the program, which will run from August 1-11, 2014.  The application process will take place in two rounds. The first round of the application should be filled out online here: https://fs4.formsite.com/pusjp/form1/secure_index.html.  This part of the application must be completed by 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, February 21, 2014.

Continue reading “Princeton University Offers Free Summer Journalism Program for High School Juniors, Deadline to Apply Feb. 21”

South Africa Crowns Its First Black “Idol”

Idols SA first launched in 2002, and eight seasons later, the South African television show, based on the popular British show Pop Idol (the inspiration for the U.S.’ American Idol), finally crowned its first black winner.

Khaya Mthethwa (pronounced KYE-yam-TET-wa), 25, went home with the top honors and a prize package of 1 million South African rand ($114,000 in U.S. dollars) and a recording contract with Universal Music South Africa. Continue reading “South Africa Crowns Its First Black “Idol””

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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