Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) President Sarah J. Glover thanked everyone, on behalf of the PABJ Board, for an amazing show of support for the sold out 2012 PABJ 7th Annual Awards Ceremony. The organization’s signature event took place at WHYY TV Studio in Center City on Saturday May 19.
Distinguished 2011 PABJ honorees were: Fatimah Ali, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, WURD 900AM (posthumously); Sarah Hoye, Journalist of the Year – Online, CNN; Jericka Duncan, Journalist of the Year – Broadcast, CBS3; Phillip Dixon, Trailblazer Award, formerly of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Howard University; and Todd Bernstein, Community Service Award, Global Citizen/MLK Day of Service. A very special highlight of the evening was the
presentation of videos shared by each recipient which provided an in-depth look at their professional achievements as well as their personal interest.
This year’s PABJ scholarship winners are: Derrick Q. Lewis, a journalism major at Temple University and aspiring broadcast journalist, and Brianna Taylor, a senior at Absegami High School in Galloway Township, N.J., who plans to study journalism at Hampton University in the fall. Both will receive scholarships to further their education.
Elmer Smith, renowned and retired columnist from The Philadelphia Daily News, served as master of ceremonies. Smith said, “The remarks by Marc Lamont Hill, this year’s special guest speaker and host of the nationally syndicated television show “Our World With Black Enterprise,” were a call to young journalists.
For me, the tribute to Fatima Ali was most moving. She was a respected journalist who I worked with at The Philadelphia Daily News and WHAT-AM Radio,” Smith said. He also noted how Ali’s family acknowledged how her late husband and broadcast journalist, Brahin Ahmaddiya, had helped her break into the field of journalism.
Ali’s (formerly Susan Hughes) sudden death at age 56 in January was a shocking loss. I spoke with her mother, Mrs. Mary Hughes who accepted the award on her daughter’s behalf. She helps you understand the source of Fatima’s tremendous fortitude. Mrs. Hughes stressed, “As my daughter grew as a journalist, she also grew as a person. I am so proud that she will not only be remembered as an exceptional journalist but also as an outspoken activist for women and the homeless.” Hughes also credited the PABJ for opening the doors for Fatima and other aspiring, young black journalists, mentoring, and providing professional development.
Among the hosts of relatives attending the ceremony to pay tribute to Fatimah were: her father, Dr. Deurward Hughes and his wife Terri Kriedman who traveled from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; one of her two sisters Diane Webster from northern New Jersey and her eldest daughter, Arielle Hughes.
Duncan joined CBS3 and the CW Philly’s Eyewitness team in 2010 as a general assignment reporter. She quickly became one of the city’s most recognizable reporters and has covered news ranging from Hurricane Irene to exclusive interviews for the story about three mentally challenged adults held captive in a basement. Before coming to Philadelphia, Duncan was a reporter for WIVB-TV, the CBS station in Buffalo, where she had been on air since 2007. Previously, she was an anchor/reporter for WETM, the NBC station in Elmira, N.Y.
Duncan grew up in newsrooms shadowing her father, Ronnie Duncan, a popular sports anchor in Huntsville, Ala. She received a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for
Best Spot News Coverage in 2007 and a local Emmy Award in the Best Morning Show category for winter-storm coverage in 2008.
Hoye joined CNN in 2010 as an all-platform journalist based in Philadelphia, covering regional assignments and breaking news. She has reported on several prominent national stories, most recently, the Penn State scandal, the disabled adults held captive in a basement, Philadelphia’s violent teen mobs and the Catholic priest sex scandal. She was among CNN’s first team on the ground during the Gulf oil spill, which earned the company the prestigious 2011 Peabody Award.
In 2008, Hoye was named Emerging Journalist of The Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She previously worked at the Tampa Tribune/WFLA News Channel 8, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Dixon is an award-winning journalist, editor and educator who has made his mark in the industry for more than three decades. He held top leadership positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer as a reporter, assistant city editor, city editor, deputy suburban editor and its first Black managing editor. He was on the team of Inquirer reporters that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for coverage of the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. He was an instructor in the first Acel Moore High School Journalism Project. Dixon also worked at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. In 2002, he joined the faculty at Howard University as chairman of the journalism department. He retired in 2011.
Bernstein, president of Global Citizen, has dedicated his career to public service. He has had a tremendously positive on the entire community. Bernstein is founder the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King of Day of Service, which mobilized more than 109,000 people this year to participate in community volunteer programs. The MLK Day of Service involves a broad spectrum of projects, including cleaning up neighborhoods, sprucing up schools and empowering young people. Bernstein also founded MLK365, which transformed the King Day of Service into a year-round civic engagement initiative. This program provides volunteer opportunities, educational programs and community partnerships across the region. He has also adopted a project to restore historic Eden Cemetery, the oldest Black public cemetery in the United States, to its former prominence. In January, Bernstein was honored at the White House by President Obama as a “Champion of Change” for his outstanding community service.
Among other distinguished journalists attending the awards ceremony were National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Gregory H. Lee Jr.; Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and history maker, Acel Moore and his wife; and outstanding broadcast journalist and columnist, Linda Wright Moore.
Proceeds from the awards banquet support PABJ’s scholarship program and its year-round
community activities. For more information, visit www.pabj.org.
Cuts at Philly papers will hurt coverage, says Black journalists association
Tara Miller, John N. Mitchell and Sarah Glover. All talented African-American reporters and photographers — and now all gone from the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer — thanks to frightening layoffs that, according to the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, will effect newsroom diversity and the bottom line of Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of both newspapers.
Glover, the long-time, award winning photographer, first with the Inquirer then with the Daily News, released a statement on her Facebook page about her departure and the climate she and the others worked in.
“Tuesday afternoon, I was told by my supervisor that I was being laid off and that I should talk to Human Resources; one of the newsroom editors said the same thing to me,” read Glover’s statement. “I spoke to the Guild on Tuesday after those brief meetings and they told me my position was vulnerable for layoff. On Wednesday afternoon The Guild confirmed that I was going to be laid off. It was suggested to me that I apply for the buyout by the Wednesday deadline so I could receive a better package… with my years of service the difference between a layoff and a buyout was $10,000 and an additional month of healthcare.
“I submitted the paperwork for the buyout on Wednesday afternoon,” Glover’s statement continued. “I received an email that my voluntary separation was accepted Wednesday.”
Glover’s acceptance of the forced buyout — which this is generally considered — is a mighty blow to an already fractured newsroom; for the sitting president of the PABJ to be ousted in such a manner shows how much diversity isn’t valued in either newsroom.
“This is a sad day for Blacks in journalism; as you know, the PABJ is the founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, and these are all friends of mine who no longer have jobs,” said PABJ Vice President for Print Chris Murray, who also serves as adjunct professor of journalism at Temple University. “The sad reality is that we have to start considering diversity when it comes down to making these cuts.”
PMN plans on eliminating 45 positions this month, on the heels of the 20 positions cut last year. This coming soon after a New York Times’ report stating that PMN is trying to sell the papers — which would give the paper multiple owners over the past few years; the same report says both papers may only be worth $70 million — after being sold for a whopping $515 million just six years ago.
But to lose Glover, Mitchell and Miller is particularly damaging.
“Sarah knows more about multi-media journalism than anyone I know, and Mitchell is an outstanding professional, a guy just starting to get his shot,” Murray said. “It’s really an appalling situation all the way around. You’d think they would be indispensable.”
But if PMN is truly conscious of its bottom line, it would look to create diversity, not cut it.
“A city like Philadelphia, with a minority-majority, its in [the owners’] best interest to consider diversity, no matter how difficult this economic transition may be,” Murray said, noting the PABJ will do all it can to support its comrades and help them find work elsewhere. “They have to consider the community [journalists] work in. In the future, minorities will become the majority, and they have to realize it’s really economically in their best interests to have a diverse staff.
“They want people to read the paper, and they want to create an audience to read the paper, when it’s right here,” Murray continued. “It breaks my heart to see this happen to Black press; we’re always the last one hired and the first one fired.”
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), of which Glover is a former secretary, sounded off as well.
“The journalism industry as a whole has suffered tremendous losses during this time in transition,” NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. said in a statement. “Newsrooms suffer greatly when they lose individuals who have the journalistic impact of Sarah Glover. We view her departure from the Daily News as another unsettling attack on diversity. She is a leader in the newsroom and the community. She was among the first photojournalists at the Daily News to develop and hone video skills that she also taught others. Her departure sends a disturbing message.
“As I stated in my President's column in January: Diversity is a mindset and a business imperative,” Lee added. “It is NABJ's job to change the mentalities of media executives who are not attuned to the economic and moral value of newsrooms that reflect their communities."
The union representing journalists at Philadelphia's two largest newspapers might challenge the latest round of newsroom cuts, which coincide with the company's possible sale.
PMN plans to cut 45 positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com this month. The newsrooms lost 20 jobs last year.
Meanwhile, New York creditors that took over the company in a bankruptcy auction are seeking to sell Philadelphia Media Network after 18 months.
It was reported that Bill Ross, executive director of the local Newspaper Guild, is seeking more information on company finances to see if the job cuts are necessary. The union might otherwise challenge the 19 union layoffs, he said.
"They're now saying it's economic, most likely I would request for them to prove it's economic," Ross said on Friday.
Tight spirals and touch passes weren’t the only things tossed around on Super Bowl Sunday. CNN’s popular news anchor Roland Martin allegedly threw around a number of homophobic tweets last weekend, which led to CNN suspending the charismatic host.
“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offense,” read a statement from CNN, in outlining its move to censure Martin. “Language that demeans in inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not to be tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”
It remains unclear when, or if, CNN will bring Martin back.
According to several news outlets, Martin made numerous tweets that could be taken as promoting anti-gay violence. In one tweet, Martin allegedly advocates beating any man who enjoyed the David Beckham underwear commercial, and in another, he champions a similarly styled beating for a New England Patriot player who wore an all pink suit.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spokesman Rich Ferraro also released a statement condemning Martin’s tweets, while applauding CNN for its action.
“CNN took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community,” Ferraro said. “We look forward to hearing from CNN and Roland Martin to discuss how we can work together as allies and achieve our common goal of reducing anti-LGBT violence, as well as the language that contributes to it.”
For his part, Martin has received and accepted GLAAD’s request for a meeting of the minds, and exchanged tweets with GLAAD, thanking it for the invite and confirming his attendance.
Even the National Association of Black Journalists – usually a staunch defender of one of its own – issued a measured statement in response to the CNN – Roland Martin Twitter affair.
“This is a teachable moment for all journalists. We are reminded that what we communicate in print and broadcast – and now through social media – has considerable power,” said NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr., through a statement released by the organization. “NABJ does not support any commentary in any medium that is insensitive or offensive.
“Mr. Martin is one of our most committed members,” the statement continued. “In lieu of his presence on CNN, until this matter is resolved, we encourage the network to continue to present a diverse offering of voices in its programming.”
While some may see Martin’s words as off-the-cuff comments that weren’t meant to offend, other claim that these types of comments, if left unchecked, that can lead to deadly, hate-fueled confrontations.
In the report, “Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Infected Communities in the United States, 2010,” the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that LGBT-based violence increased by 14 percent from 2009-2010, the latest year of available data. It also showed that hate violence murders are the second highest they’ve been in ten years. So little wonder then that some draw a correlation between hate speech and hate acts.
“I happen to be a big fan of Roland Martin, but I do believe, in terms of prejudicial remarks, that the rules apply and need to be equally enforced,” said Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin. “In this case, I applaud CNN for standing up against prejudicial remarks.”
The Philadelphia-based Equity Forum is a non-profit whose mission is to advance the civil rights of the LGBT community through education, and for Lazin, the first thing that needs to be taught is how damaging and effective words can be.
“What we are seeing here is, whether you’re talking about women, African-Americans or Jews, there’s a certain moment in time when society accepts and incorporates prejudice, until it gets to a certain tipping point,” Lazin said. “And you know you’ve reached that tipping point when society no longer tolerates that type of language.
“When that occurs, particularly with public figures, whether that opinion truly expresses the feelings of that person become irrelevant.”
Lazin feels the explosion of social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook has led to a slight increase in the volume of hate speech floating about, but believes things are starting to turn around, thanks to education and stiffer prosecutions for those committing hate crimes.
“In particular, I think things are starting to turn,” Lazin said. “I think people are connecting speech and the violence that has occurred in gay youth, and it’s important that people have a better understanding of that,” Lazin said. “In Nazi Germany, when a certain speech is allowed, we saw what the ultimate results were. We saw the same things with African-Americans, when disparaging language led to lynchings.
“We see the same things in terms of homophobic speech.”
There has recently been a good deal of discussion about the diversity in the cable news world. Last week, Black journalist and pundit Roland Martin was named "Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists — mere days before he departs CNN on April 6.
His departure coincides with that of fellow CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien, who also left the cable news channel's "Starting Point" last week after being with the show for more than a year.
Martin said that he was "thankful and humbled'' by the award from the NABJ.
"I hope this honor serves as a lesson to any young or veteran journalist that Black media platforms are just as essential and important to us today as they have always been," he said.
In a video that aired on the Huffington Post, Martin acknowledged his impending departure from CNN, saying, "Before CNN, TV One offered me a TV platform for my commentaries, as well my own show.
After CNN, TV One and Tom Joyner, are still there. It pleases me greatly to be at a place where our voices and images are the norm, and not the exception." Martin hosts TV One's "Washington Watch," and is an analyst for "The Tom Joyner Morning Show."
NABJ President Gregory Lee, Jr. praised Martin for his "well-rounded coverage of the African-American community," and continued to question new CNN President Jeff Zucker's commitment to diversity.
When asked why he was leaving, Martin tweeted earlier this month, "New boss wants his own peeps." Zucker, who made the decision to take Martin and O’Brien off the air, reportedly recently met with NABJ to discuss the network's commitment to African American journalists.
Martin said on Thursday that executives who were uncomfortable with hiring Black people as hosts had held back his rise at the network.
"You have largely white male executives who are not necessarily enamored with the idea of having strong, confident minorities who say, 'I can do this,'" he said on HuffPostLive. "We deliver, but we never get the big piece, the larger salary, to be able to get from here to there."
O'Brien, who is Black and Latina, told viewers, "Up next for me, I'm going to continue to focus on the 25 girls that we serve — we send girls to college with my foundation.
Continue focus too on good journalism, examining the critical issues that our country faces from jobs to poverty and focusing on the people who have stories to tell in this country and often those stories don't get told."
Upon its launch in 1980, CNN became and the first all-news television channel in the United States with Bernard Shaw, 72, now serving as principal anchor until he retired in 2001.
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) have announced a tombstone dedication at the gravesite of Reginald A. Bryant on Saturday, April 27, at Eden Cemetery, 1434 Springfield Rd. in Collingdale. The dedication ceremony begins at 2 p.m. and the public is welcome.
Bryant was a founder of NABJ and PABJ. He was a veteran broadcaster and media consultant as well as a writer, filmmaker and artist.
“Reggie Bryant was visionary,” said NABJ President Greg Lee. “He was one of 44 people who had the courage and foresight to form the National Association of Black Journalists. He left us too soon, but the legacy he had left is everlasting. It is the least that NABJ can do is to contribute to his legacy with this special tombstone.”
Reggie’s intellect was often confrontational, and at the same time, to many, who were not threatened by it, was a challenge and an inspiration, according to NABJ and PABJ founder Acel Moore.
“His greatest significance is that he was an innovative educator,” he said. “I miss him.”
Bryant’s broadcast practice expanded into a groundbreaking television interview program, “Black Perspectives on the News,” a news program on WHYY in Philadelphia that featured prominent newsmakers from 1973 to 1978. The program was seen on 170 stations across the country.
In spring 2011, PABJ members organized a community service project at Eden Cemetery. The chapter arranged for area photographers to donate their time to photograph the historic Eden tombstones and resting place of famous African Americans, such as Octavius Catto and Marian Anderson.
One volunteer stumbled across the unmarked grave of Bryant. That volunteer was Bobbi Booker, Reggie’s former colleague.
The NABJ Convention came to Philadelphia later that year and former PABJ president Sarah Glover asked NABJ to join PABJ in raising money to place a tombstone at Reggie’s resting place. NABJ and PABJ members along with Reggie’s station, WURD 900AM, helped with the fundraising effort. With the family’s blessing, NABJ and PABJ coordinated the purchase, design and installation of the tombstone.
Reggie was an avid reader and believed strongly in the power of education.
The top of the stone is in the shape of a book and has an inscription with one of Reggie’s famous sayings: “It’s not what you know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you know that’s just not so.”
“Reggie Bryant’s legacy as a founder of PABJ and NABJ will be carried on for generations,” said PABJ President Johann Calhoun. “I remember Reggie from his broadcast days at WURD 900AM, where he spoke truth to power. He embodied the meaning of civic journalism – not being afraid to speak out against the powers that ran Philadelphia and this nation for the little man struggling in the streets.”
During his long career, Bryant interviewed five U.S. presidents, 52 Pulitzer Prize winning authors and had been commended by hundreds of organizations for his community service.
Bryant’s mentee, colleague and friend I. Robin “Bobbi” Booker said, “Reggie Bryant was a multimedia master, who, via the medium of radio, conducted daily lessons on ‘The Art of Pro-and-Conversation.’ I miss him everyday…143~”
Other journalists shared similar sentiments.
“It is fitting NABJ and PABJ announce Reggie’s tombstone dedication today on the third anniversary of his death,” Glover said. “He’s sorely missed on Philadelphia’s airwaves. Reggie stood for justice and spoke his mind. His spirit lives on and it’s humbling to celebrate his legacy together.”
Bryant was a legend in journalism and talk radio, according to WURD President and General Manager Sara Lomax-Reese.
“He was the consummate wordsmith who spent years dazzling us with his wise, well researched interviews,” she said. “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year, we at WURD are guided by his spirit of substantive, passionate, informed dialogue. We are grateful for the path he has paved for us.”
It was considered groundbreaking when National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame member Gwen Ifill moderated the 2008 vice presidential debates. Now, diversity in political debate moderation has taken a step back, as the Commission on Presidential Debates has released its final list of moderators for the upcoming elections, without a minority reporter among them.
Jim Lehrer, executive editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will moderate the first presidential debate; Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent, ABC News, will moderate the vice presidential debate; Candy Crowley, chief political correspondent, CNN, will moderate the town hall-styled second presidential debate, and Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent, CBS News, will moderate the third presidential debate.
“The new formats chosen for this year’s debates are designed to focus big time blocks on major domestic and foreign topics. These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using the expanded time periods to maximum benefit,” said Michael D. McCurry, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, via a statement released on the commission’s website. “We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result.”
While all are top-notch journalists, the lack of diversity in the selections is particularly galling for the NABJ, which released a statement blasting the omission.
“NABJ is disappointed that the journalists chosen to participate in the presidential debates doesn’t reflect what has become the most diverse electorate in U.S. history. While we commend the selection of the first woman moderator in 20 years, we find it unacceptable that no journalists of color will be involved. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which announced the selections this week, blamed the omission on ‘debate arithmetic.’ Frankly, the math doesn’t add up,” read the NABJ’s statement. “There is no absence of qualified journalists of color, or those with experience as debate moderators … by excluding journalists of color, the commission failed to satisfy an important public interest given that racial and ethnic minorities will contribute roughly one quarter of the votes cast on Election Day.”
Sonya Ross, chairwoman of the NABJ’s Political Journalism Task Force, said “the commission had a chance to embrace the racial kaleidoscope that the American electorate is fast becoming, and chose instead to remain blind to it.”
“It is time to end this cyclical charade of treating equally deserving, equally capable journalists of color as if they are invisible, unqualified or both,” Ross said. “I would like to invite the commission, along with leading entities in political media, to join the task force in making a concerted effort to ensure a truly diverse set of presidential debate moderators for 2016.”
Reached by phone on Friday evening, NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. clarified his organization’s position, saying the commission’s picks represent a “step back” for a country that is becoming more diversified with each passing election.
“We commend the commission on making sure the agenda of diversity is included, but to have no journalists of color, to me, is really disregarding a major portion of the country,” Lee said. “For them to ignore that — I know [the commission] stated the journalists represent all of America, but there are some questions they may not hit on as they relate to African Americans.”
Lee believes that Ifill — who has moderated a pair of debates — has the track record and experience that warrants her inclusion – especially over Crowley, who has no experience moderating a national political debate on any level.
“We have the first African-American president going up for re-election, and the demographics are shifting towards the browning of America,” Lee said, adding that he planned to meet with the commission sometime soon. “They have really done an injustice to America in making these selections — one of the moderators was retired, and they called him back.
“It’s really a surprise that Gwen didn’t get a chance to do the job. This is no discount to Crowley and the job she does at CNN, but the fact is, she hasn’t [moderated] yet.”