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Poynter.
  • African journalist not upset university canceled on his visit

    The Poynter Institute Friday hosted a group of African journalists visiting the U.S. for training as part of the State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program.

    The visit, which will continue next week, was originally scheduled to take place at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, which backed out of hosting the journalists due to concerns about spread of the Ebola virus.

    One of the visiting journalists, Bernard Avle, said he wasn’t upset by the university’s decision. I asked Avle, who’s director of news programming at Ghanian radio outlet CITI, about his reaction to the sudden change of plans and his observations of U.S. media’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak.

    Avle, director of news programming at at CITI, a broadcast outlet in Ghana.

    Avle, director of news programming at at CITI, a broadcast outlet in Ghana.

    Poynter: Coming from Ghana, what have you noticed about the perception of the epidemic here?

    Avle: I got an email from a student — this was like a week before we came here — saying that USF St. Pete had canceled because of parents’ fears that there was Ebola, and they weren’t really sure if we’d pass that onto their wards.

    I was a bit surprised — but then again, coming to the U.S. and watching U.S. media, I understood where the apprehension came from. I think the media is a very powerful tool for information and misinformation — and regrettably, I think, on this particular point — there’s been a lot of hysterical reporting, for whatever reason.

    I think there’s a lot of ignorance of Ebola, of public health issues, and that has contributed to the public concern. So I have no problems with the parents who requested USF St. Pete to cancel. Because if I were a parent and I saw the reports I did on TV, I would be very concerned for my ward.

    Poynter: What advice would you give to United States media organizations that are trying to cover this thing compassionately and accurately?

    Avle: I can’t pretend to give advice. What I can say is they know their audience better than I do. And so the interest of your audience can sometimes drive the way you cover a story, because news must be contextualized.

    So the concern for people is whether Africans are bringing Ebola to the U.S, so that tends to become the angle from which you frame the story. Having said that, you need to get more information about what happens on the ground so that you can give your listeners, your readers, your viewers the information. I’m not going to advise anybody on how to cover Ebola, but I’ll just say there’s a lot you can learn from journalists who are closer to the situation.

    Poynter: How is your news organization covering the epidemic?

    Avle: We are physically close (to an Ebola-affected country, Liberia). There has been research done that says Ghana is susceptible to getting Ebola because we seem to be the center for West Africa — lots of movement in and out. But the government has put into place — I wouldn’t say extremely stringent — but reasonably stringent checks for people coming into the country.

    There’s an Ebola isolation center, there’s videos of what to do if you see somebody with Ebola. Everybody’s weighing in to try to inform people better. So on my show, for example, we had a whole hashtag we used for many weeks called “#EbolaFacts.” And people were sort of following along and getting more information.

    Poynter: Given the mediums that you work with primarily, radio and online, what are some other things you do?

    Avle: We do video, for example, if you interview health officials, talk through how you simulate an Ebola case if somebody presents with Ebola. We have videos we put online that are quite educative. We do interviews and make the audio available on soundcloud, people listen. We translate into the local language — our show is in English, by the way. And then you have phone-ins. People send messages.

    We have a WhatsApp number, people send lots of information to us. In my country, people like to report things to the media before it even gets to the police. So if somebody sees something odd, they’d be more likely to send the information to a radio station then they would a police station. And there are historical reasons for that. So we almost become this conduit between the public and the government.

    Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    Read more
  • Why the Toronto Star unpublished an article about race

    On Thursday, the Toronto Star published an article by Natasha Grzincic called “5 other labels for people of colour er… non-whites uh… racialized people.” Later that day, it took the article down.

    The article, still available at partner sites like this one, notes that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has settled on the term “racialized” to describe people instead of using what it calls “more outdated and inaccurate terms” like “racial minority” or “non-white.”

    The Star doesn’t have a style on using the term “racialized,” Public Editor Kathy English says in an email. Its style guide currently says to use the term “visible minority” rather than “nonwhite.” (The Star urges journalists to not refer to “colour or ethnicity unless it is relevant to the story.”)

    Grzincic’s article looks at how “visible minority” and other terms are deployed. For example:

    Ethnic minorities

    Like “visible minority,” there’s the problem with “minority,” which could have a subordinate meaning. Same goes for “marginalized groups.”

    Non-white

    Non-preferred, because it defines people by what they are not. Used by StatCan to define visible minorities.

    English says her office began to receive complaints that the article “made light of a sensitive, serious subject” not long after it was published. English said she discussed the article with Star Managing Editor Jane Davenport, who she said had not seen the piece before it went up.

    Davenport thought the story should come down, so the Star doinked it and appended a note “In line with the Star’s transparency goals,” English said.

    “Davenport’s view of the piece – which I agree with — is that a discussion of how visible minorities should be ‘labeled’ is inappropriate material for a listicle,” she writes. She continues:

    The piece was flippant and commented on instead of reporting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s arguments. The writer of the piece is not a columnist with latitude to make such comment.

    The Star is trying to find other outlets that published the piece and inform them it has removed it, English said. Further, “The newsroom is also looking further into the circumstances of the article being published.”

    Read more
  • This weekend, one last get-together at the Minneapolis Star Tribune
    The cover of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's homecoming publication. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    The cover of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s homecoming publication. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    On Saturday, Nov. 1, current and former employees of the Minneapolis Star Tribune can walk through most of the building that has been the home of the newspaper since 1920.

    By next summer, the Star Tribune will be in a new space, and the building at 425 Portland Ave. will be gone, or close to it.

    “There’s certainly some nostalgia,” said Steve Yaeger, the Star Tribune’s vice president of marketing and public relations, in a phone interview. “I would say overall — this is not the PR spin — we really are more excited about getting to the new place. Our building is very old and it was built for a very different news organization than what we have.”

    There are people who work there today, though, who’ve spent their whole careers in that building, Yaeger said. Many are attached to the space, and not just people who work there now, but people who once did.

    So on Saturday, the Star Tribune is having a homecoming. So far, about 700 people have RSVP’d, but Yaeger expects around 1,000.

    “Some people will want to hug the building,” Yaeger said, “some people will just want to see the press operators they used to work the same shift with.”

    A postcard from the Star-Tribune in 1950. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    A postcard from the Star Tribune in 1950. This image is courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    People can walk through three of the four floors of the building — to see where the presses and the mailroom once were. They’ll see images along the way of how the building has changed. In one hallway, there’s a 30-foot-long timeline that shows things that have happened at 425 Portland Ave. There’s food, of course, and speeches and the chance to catch up with old friends.

    “It’s not just about the building,” Yaeger said. “It’s about the interactions in this building. A building is just a building in the end.”

    The Star Tribune no longer owns that building, they’ve leased it through June 30 of next year, when they’ll be out for good and the building will come down as part of a redevelopment plan.

    “The challenge for all of us, as we move, is to remain places of character,” Yaeger said. “We don’t want it to be bland. If it’s bland, we’ve lost something.”

    Here are some other newsrooms that no longer live in their original buildings. I know there’s a lot to add here, and I will try and update this, so please send me suggestions at khare@poynter.org or @kristenhare.

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

    starjournal

    Built: 1920

    Sold: 2013. The building will be torn down in 2015. Some demolition has begun.

    Now: The Star Tribune still operates out of the building, which it is currently leasing. They’ll move to 650 Third Ave. S by the end of June 2015 at the latest.

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

    Boston Herald

    Nice shot from the old @bostonherald and future #inkblock site as local artist Cyrille Conan paints his mural. #thinkink #boston #southend #sky #city #news

    A photo posted by Ink Block Boston (@inkblockboston) on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:23am PST

    Built: 1957

    Sold: 1998, then leased back. It was torn down in 2013. Herald photographer John Wilcox photographed a ceremony with Ink Block, which took over the space.

    Now: Condos.

    Miami Herald

    The Miami Herald building is seen Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Miami.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    The Miami Herald building is seen Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    Built: 1963

    Sold: 2011, moved in 2013

    Now: Demolition started this year. In May, Selima Hussain wrote “9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Old Miami Herald Building,” for WLRN.

    7. The materials used to build it

    1HP boasted mahogany paneling, two kinds of granite (gray on the facade, red-veined on certain interior walls) chattahoochee rock and yellow ceramic tiles, according to Ibby Vores, Miami Herald human resources manager.

    “It was impressive… there was all of this lifted space and a terrazzo floor, marble on the walls,” she says. “At the time it was built, it was an icon of the future.”

    In April of last year, Erik Bojnansky wrote “Farewell, My Lovely Miami Herald,” for the Biscayne Times.

    Now: Demolition has been slow and is still happening. The new development is supposed to include a hotel and casino.

    Work continues on the former headquarters of the Miami Herald building on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Miami.  Demolition on the south wing of the former headquarters began last Monday.  Genting, a Malaysian casino company, purchased the waterfront property in May, 2011, for $236 million, and plans to build a condo and hotel resort on the 14-acre site. The Miami Herald moved to Doral, Fla., in 2013. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

    Work continues on the former headquarters of the Miami Herald building on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Miami. Demolition on the south wing of the former headquarters began last Monday. Genting, a Malaysian casino company, purchased the waterfront property in May, 2011, for $236 million, and plans to build a condo and hotel resort on the 14-acre site. The Miami Herald moved to Doral, Fla., in 2013. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

    The Philadelphia Inquirer

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

    Built: 1924

    Sold: 2011

    Now: It’s supposed to be redeveloped into a casino, but that hasn’t happened yet.

    Photographer Will Steacy successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $26,000 from a $15,000 goal. Steacy spent five years photographing the Inquirer newsroom and is now writing a book with the help of the Kickstarter funds.

    There’s also a Facebook page with images from the Inquirer’s last days in the building.

    Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

    Director Richard Brooks, center, discusses a scene with actors John Saxon, left, and Ryan O'Neal, right, on the set of the motion picture "The Fever," in the city room of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, on December 11, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)

    Director Richard Brooks, center, discusses a scene with actors John Saxon, left, and Ryan O’Neal, right, on the set of the motion picture “The Fever,” in the city room of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, on December 11, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)

    Built: 1913

    Closed: 1989

    Now: You can film movies on sets there.

    Follow @kristenhare
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    Here are more buildings and moves I heard about today. I’m just listing them for now but will add more.

    – Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
    Kalamazoo Gazette
    Grand Rapids Press
    Ann Arbor News
    Muskegon Chronicle
    Indianapolis Star
    Oregonian
    Seattle Times
    Seattle P-I
    Times-Picayune
    New York Daily News
    The New York Times
    The (Syracuse) Post-Standard
    The Marion Star
    The Daily Oklahoman
    Fort Worth Star-Telegram
    Santa Cruz Sentinel

    Read more

Saundra Smokes

The Post-Standard

Herald-Journal

Herald American

"I see through the eyes of a Christian, an African-American, a woman, a journalist, an aunt, a daughter. Someone who feels at ease with all kinds of people. I try to bring that varied perspective to my columns," says Saundra Smokes.

"Sandy," as she is known to friends and colleagues, became the first person of color in the history of the Syracuse Newspapers to sit on the Herald-Journal's editorial board in 1985. She also is the first person of color to write a full-time opinion column for the newspapers.

She has won numerous honors and awards as her career climbed from reporter to local columnist, to the editorial board, to syndicated columnist, and then back to The Post Standard as an editorial writer, copy editor, and editorial board member.

Upon her return to the editorial board in 2003, she initiated the series, "Taxpayers Held Hostage," which won a first place community service award from the New York State Publishers Association. Sandy also received awards for commentary (editorials and columns) in 1993 and 1994 from the Associated Press.

A Syracuse native, Sandy started writing while in elementary school and continued with soap operas about her middle-school classmates. After graduation, she attended the University of Buffalo. In 1978, she joined the Herald-Journal as a "copy kid," an employee who does all sorts of odd jobs in the newsroom. Soon, however, she began writing feature stories. She was promoted to reporter covering city and county news, and later, she became a copy editor.

In November 1992, a column on the outcome of the first trial of Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King, was picked up by newspapers nationwide. The following year, Sandy began writing a regular opinion column for the Syracuse Newspapers.

Seven months after she began writing the local column, United Features Syndicate selected Sandy to write a column they would syndicate across the United States. Twenty-two newspapers picked up her work each week for eight years. In 2003, she returned to The Post-Standard to write editorials and work on the copy desk.

Her awards include the 1998 Urban League Harriet Tubman Award, the Ann Felton Memorial Award and Community Service Award from the Syracuse Chapter of the NAACP, Citizen of the Year from Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Syracuse University, the Great Leader Award from the Onondaga County Political Women?s Caucus, the Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award from Delta Sigma Theta fraternity at SU, and the Pit Bull Award from the Greater Syracuse Communications Group. She also received the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Stands Award.

Sandy also writes plays, including "A Tribute to Motown" and "In Our Own Backyard," and a video drama, "Daddy's Home," which won a Cable Ace award. --Joseph A. Porcello

 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 August 2012 20:44 )
 
    "Their constant yelping about a free press means, with a few honorable exceptions, freedom to peddle scandal, crime, sex, sensationalism, hate, innuendo and the political and financial uses of propaganda. A newspaper is a business out to make money through advertising revenue. That is predicated on the circulation and you know what circulation depends on."
--Raymond Chandler

Wall of Distinction


Richard Long

Herald-Journal

Herald American

Skaneateles Press

Richard Long's career has spanned the world and embraced such endeavors as reporter, columnist, author, playwright, documentary filmmaker, director and producer.
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