Loop 21 Runs Excerpts From Shawn Williams SPJ Address

TheLoop21.com published excerpts from my March 23rd address to the Society of Professional Journalists. The title they posted was Don’t Let Character Assassination Kill The Real Story.

I thought their choice of title was superb. Especially in light of the fact that when I wrote the speech, the latest attacks on Martin’s character had not reached the level we’re now seeing.

T.J. Holmes leaving CNN for BET

CNN journalist T.J. Holmes who recently announced he was departing the network at the end of the year has found a new home.  According to the BET website, Holmes has signed a “multi-platform talent agreement.”

From the BET Website:

“We are simply ecstatic to have T.J. Holmes coming to our fold. He’s been an outstanding news anchor and we look forward to working with him in a variety of new ways on BET,” said Stephen G. Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials at BET Networks. “It’s now upon us to develop vehicles that capture his intelligence, curiosity about the world, warmth, humor and compassion. It’s a challenge that we are happy to have.”

T.J. Holmes is a talented guy and this is a great move for a network that has slowly but surely built up trust with the community.  The competition from T.V. One has been good for BET.  I look forward to following T.J. and wish him much success.

Theo Johnson at Chocolate Secrets with his copy of Blogging While Black.

“Blogging While Black” Virtual Tour Starts With SMU’s The Daily Campus

For the next two weeks I’ll pop up on various sites across the web participating in interviews for Blogging While Black.  It’s part of a two week virtual tour to go along with the December/January tour dates I mentioned a few weeks ago.  Here are some highlights of today’s interview with SMU’s student newspaper The Daily Campus conducted by Brooks Igo.

Q: You talk extensively about the advantages of being in the blogosphere from 2007-08. Were there any disadvantages bloggers had compared to other news sources?

A: It was a great time to get into the blogosphere. There were 30 credentialed bloggers for the 2004 Presidential Election; they were cutting edge early adapters. But we were still early. We had an advantage because we were still early adapters. If there was a disadvantage, because it was so early, people didn’t look at blogging as a credible source still. People were saying, “These are just bloggers.”

Q: Why do you think there was such a fall off in the black blogosphere after President Obama’s election?

A: The technology. One of the only places you could go online to hear about these stories were these blogs. Facebook was just starting to come off of college campuses and people my age were just beginning to get on Facebook. Conversations we were having on blogs began to happen on Facebook and Twitter. You didn’t have to go to blogs, you could see these stories on your friend’s Facebook wall.

Q: Can we expect a return?

A: There has to be an evolution. Some of the folks I met back then were recently featured on CNN’s “Black in America” special. People are trying to reinvent advocacy. This might come in the form of app development, making more inroads in mainstream media, or creating alternative forms of media. Everything is going to look different and I think it is important that African-Americans find a place in this social media/technology mash-up.

Q: What was it about the Paris, Texas and Jena 6 story that set the black blogosphere on fire?

A: It was timing. One of the headlines was “14 year-old gets 7 years in jail for pushing down a hall monitor.” When you see that or hear that it just sounds wrong. Even when people dug deeper, there was still something very wrong. This was not a new feeling for African-Americans, but the blogosphere was a new outlet for African-Americans to share their voice. Those cases were like cases that happened before, but there just wasn’t a place where people from around the world could get together and seek justice.

Check out the rest of Brooks’ interview at The Daily Campus.

Renee Hartley at Chocolate Secrets with her copy of Blogging While Black. Renee is featured in Chapter 2 as well as in Chapter 9 as a "Breakthrough Blogger."

ESPN should lead reporting on Penn State child abuse allegations

I understand that yesterday was football Sunday.  And today most of the talk is about Magic Johnson and the 20 year anniversary of him telling the world he had HIV.  But so far, the “World Wide Leader In Sports” is following, not leading reporting on sex abuse allegations against former Penn State football assistant coach.

ESPN doesn’t shy away from off the field stuff. They’re good about, gathering up “experts” and lawyers to address issues that occur outside the lines.  Tiger Woods’ car wreck was a round the clock ordeal.  Barry Bonds steroids allegations where big news for them.

There are lots of questions that need to be answered about who knew what and ESPN has never been afraid to throw out their opinions.  I’m shocked that on the Monday live SportsCenter, Penn State is following Eli/Aaron talk, Tebow talk and Ravens/Steelers.

Jeremy Schapp is in Happy Valley covering Penn State as he should be. The story is at the top of the headlines tab but not one of the 5 “Top Stories” that rotates with images. Overall, ESPN is giving the story back page treatment so far.

NABJ: Major News Outlets Reject Black Talent in Prime Time

The Wire (NABJ)

In reaction to an ostensible trend in cable news to pass over African American talent for prime time programming, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) continued discussions this week with several civil rights organizations to address the matter and direct a definite course of action.

“We appreciate the support of like-minded organizations stepping up to affect change as black journalists are ignored and in turn, black communities get shortchanged in the coverage of important issues,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “We are dedicated to getting this issue resolved.”

Less than two weeks ago, Times released a letter to NABJ’s membership and supporters expressing her disappointment with CNN regarding yet another missed opportunity to diversify its nighttime lineup. The NAACP also released a statement that criticized the network’s stance. The forthcoming departure of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as host of two short-lived prime time shows for the network opened up a void that was ultimately filled by former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett – a move seen by some as more than coincidental.

“I don’t understand any major network’s rationale for not being as inclusive as possible,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “This lack of representation has been brought to the major networks’ attention repeatedly over the years. It is time for them to walk the walk of diversity at all levels, including prime time talent positions.”

Currently, there are no African American anchors hosting prime time news hours for any major cable network. While MSNBC is reportedly on the verge of offering civil rights activist Al Sharpton his own prime time slot, there are no black journalists who can tout a similar promotion.

NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster also conveyed his frustration with CNN and other major news outlets for their apparent unresponsiveness.

“Our presence in the prime time slot makes a big difference in terms of shaping public opinion of each issue,” said Foster. “The suggestion that black journalists can’t do it just doesn’t cut the mustard. [Cable Networks] know the talent is there, they just don’t believe in them.”

Prominent civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have all pledged their support for a drastic course of action should this matter continue to be overlooked.

“We have a machine here poised to do a lot of things,” said Foster, speaking of the potential for these various groups to mobilize. “We are deeply serious about this.”

3 Reasons why Paul Ryan Absolutely Will Not Run For President in 2012

By Shawn Williams

Everyday there’s a new Republican rumored as a potential Presidential candidate and today it’s Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. This post will be short, because there is really only one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan will not seek the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Still I went with three so indulge me.

1. The Garfield Effect

The only sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives to be elected President was James A. Garfield in 1880. Only two other sitting members (Henry Clay, 1824 and John Anderson, 1980) have run in general elections. Anderson ran as an independent. (Source: Office of the Clerk – U.S. House)

Even then, Garfield was U.S. Senator Elect from Ohio. It’s hard enough for Senators to move from Congress to the White House. Before President Obama was elected in 2008, John F. Kennedy and Warren G. Harding were the only sitting U.S. Senators elected President. Had Republicans nominated a viable governor in 2008, President Obama would have been in trouble.

2. America hates losers

One of the reason so many Republican star candidates won’t run in 2012 is because Presidential losers have a hard time coming back. There are very few Richard Nixon’s in the bunch, who lose a U.S. Presidential election and come back to be elected down the road. There aren’t even that many John McCain’s who lose out on their party’s nomination (2000) only to win in later years (2008). President Obama presents a stiff enough challenge that 2016 looks like a much better year for Republicans hopefuls.

3. The Ryan Budget

If Paul Ryan were to become a candidate for President, his budget would be under even more scrutiny than it already is. He seems to be a smart guy and I’m sure he’s got thought on any number of issues. But the public would only hear about the budget, and any talk of foreign policy, energy policy or any policy besides budget policy would get lost.

With all that said, I wouldn’t expect a Ryan for President announcement any time soon.

Jury Trial Set in Michael Baisden’s Fight to Stop Copyright Infringement

The Wire

michael-baisdenA trial date has been set in a lawsuit filed by best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio and TV personality Michael Baisden.

Documents filed in the lawsuit allege that Defendants I’m Ready Productions, Inc., Image Entertainment, Inc., ALW Entertainment, Inc., Je’Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry conspired to tour a stage-play without Baisden’s permission and sold DVD’s based on Baisden’s best-selling novels, The Maintenance Man and Men Cry in the Dark, in violation of the Federal copyright laws.

The lawsuit also alleges that I’m Ready Productions and Image Entertainment made millions of dollars using Baisden’s name, likeness and popularity to sell the DVD’s by implying that he was involved in, or endorsed, the distribution.  Baisden did not authorize the sale of the DVD’s.

“This is my day in court in my fight to recover my intellectual property rights and prevent these Defendants from continuing to infringe upon my copyrighted novels,” said Michael Baisden.  “These novels are like my children.  They reflect years of hard work in writing them and promoting them to the level where they became best sellers.  In the end, I hope I can also send a message to other copyright holders that they have a right to take a stand and fight those who are trying to steal their copyrighted works.”

In the lawsuit, Baisden seeks an injunction to prevent the Defendants from any further use of the copyrighted works The Maintenance Man and Men Cry in the Dark. Baisden is also seeking an award of actual damages, enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees for having to institute a lawsuit to stop Defendants’ infringement.  He is represented by noted entertainment lawyers Daryl K. Washington and Aubrey “Nick” Pittman.

Trial is set to begin on February 14, 2011, in Houston, Texas, in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas – Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Court Room 9-B.

DGA to Fox News: Time to Add Disclaimer after $1 million GOP Donation

Dallas South Newswire

Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, contacted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes today to demand that his news division add a formal disclaimer during segments about the 2010 election to inform viewers that Fox’s parent company provided an unprecedented $1 million contribution to defeat Democratic governors in 2010.

The letter goes on to state: “For the first time in history, your organization is openly and proudly supporting the defeat of Democratic governors with an unprecedented political contribution of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In fact, your company provided the single largest corporate contribution to our opposition…. As you are well aware, the stakes could not be higher in the 37 gubernatorial races this election cycle.”

Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Ailes,

For the first time in history, your organization is openly and proudly supporting the defeat of Democratic governors with an unprecedented political contribution of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In fact, your company provided the single largest corporate contribution to our opposition.

In the interest of some fairness and balance, I request that you add a formal disclaimer to your news coverage any time any of your programs cover governors or gubernatorial races between now and Election Day. I suggest that the disclaimer say: “News Corp., parent company of Fox News, provided $1 million to defeat Democratic governors in November.” If you do not add a disclaimer, I request that you and your staff members on the “fair and balanced” side of the network demand that the contribution be returned.

As you are well aware, the stakes could not be higher in the 37 gubernatorial races this election cycle. Your corporation and your allies know well that these races have grave and substantial implications for Congressional redistricting. In fact, your allies in the GOP hope to change our election map for decades by electing governors who will redraw 30 seats into Republican territory.

I look forward to hearing from you – or any of your programs – at your earliest convenience.



Nathan Daschle

P.S. Many news outlets have covered this controversy, but your own news programs have been strangely silent. I am available to appear on any of your programs to discuss the case for Democratic governors – particularly why our governors best for business growth. Despite my efforts to immediately reach out to your news programs, more than a dozen requests were ignored.

Cc: Bret Baier
Carl Cameron
Gretchen Carlson
Neil Cavuto
Steve Doocy
Trace Gallagher
Major Garrett
Sean Hannity
Bill Hemmer
Brian Kilmeade
Megyn Kelly
Martha MacCallum
Bill O’Reilly
Jon Scott
Shepard Smith
Greta Van Susteren
Chris Wallace

Shirley Sherrod to Address National Association of Black Journalists at Convention San Diego

From the Dallas South Newswire

Newsmaker Shirley Sherrod is set to appear before thousands of journalists on Thursday, July 29 at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif.

Sherrod has made headlines over the past two weeks for her forced resignation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after conservativeblogger Andrew Breitbart posted video excerpts of Sherrod’s address at a March 2010
NAACP event on his website. The NAACP initially condemned her remarks and U.S. government officials called on her to resign. Upon review of the unedited video incontext, the NAACP, White House officials, and Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, apologized soon after and Sherrod was offered a new position. Sherrod has not yet decided if she will accept the job offer.

Sherrod will have a candid conversation with a panel of journalists during a newsmaker plenary, “Context and Consequences: A Conversation with Shirley Sherrod.” The discussion will focus on the reporting and coverage of this incident and the role that race still plays in a runaway media culture.

NABJ also extended Breitbart <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Breitbart>an invitation to this session. He initially accepted, but later declined.

*EVENT: *Context and Consequences: A Conversation with Shirley Sherrod and the National Association of Black Journalists**

*TIME: 8:00 a.m. PST July 29- Newsmaker Plenary***

*LOCATION: Manchester Grand Hyatt, Room TBA*

NABJ names Soledad O’Brien Journalist of the Year

DSN Newswire

The National Association of Black Journalists named CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Journalist of the Year at its spring Board of Directors meeting. O’Brien will join other top honorees at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala, on July 31 in San Diego, during NABJ’s 35th Annual Convention and Career Fair, the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country.

O’Brien is the impetus of CNN’s acclaimed “In America” franchise, which began with CNN’s “Black In America” in 2008, a groundbreaking documentary, which took an in-depth look at the challenges confronting blacks in America. In 2009 CNN followed up with “Black In America 2,” a project which didn’t just seek to highlight challenges, but also acknowledged the efforts by those in the community to come up with proven solutions to the most pressing issues facing the black community. “Black In America 2” was the highest-rated cable news documentary of 2009, sparking conversations and town hall gatherings across the country to further examine the intersection of race, class and gender, subjects that can be challenging for the media to explore.
“Soledad’s work in the ‘Black in America’ series offered extraordinary and gripping stories of successful community leaders who are improving the lives of African-Americans,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “This was an example of great reporting, and through her work and platform she shared the stories in our communities that often go untold. She is truly worthy of NABJ’s Journalist of the Year honor.”

O’Brien crisscrossed the U.S. and included reporting from Ghana and South Africa as she uncovered the people and programs at the forefront of change – people inspiring volunteerism, programs that are improving access to quality healthcare and education, and leaders working to address financial disparities and develop strong families.

“Soledad is a solid journalist with a long list of accomplishments,” said Bob Butler, NABJ Vice-President of Broadcast. “Her reporting is always done with great thought and perspective. We are proud to have her in the NABJ family.”

O’Brien is currently an anchor and special correspondent for CNN. She joined the network in July 2003 as the co-anchor of the network’s flagship morning program, “American Morning,” and distinguished herself by reporting from the scene on the transformational stories that broke on her watch, including Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

During CNN’s Katrina coverage, O’Brien’s reports on the storm’s impact included an in-depth interview with former FEMA chief Michael Brown. She also covers political news as part of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television.”  Earlier, O’Brien spent 12 years at NBC News where she anchored Weekend Today, and was one of the original anchors of MSNBC.
The Salute to Excellence Awards Gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2009.

NABJ’s 35th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place July 28- August 1 in San Diego, Calif.