Friday, February 24, 2012

Guidelines offered to those covering Jeremy Lin to avoid racial stereotypes

Lin (AP photo)
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) has issued guidelines to help journalists avoid racial stereotypes and other unfortunate references when reporting on Jeremy Lin.

Last week, ESPN suspended an anchor and fired a website headline writer for using the phrase “chink in the armor” when describing the Palo Alto native’s performance in one game.

The AAJA wants journalists to think about the phrases they use and ask themselves if they would use the same terms to describe an athlete who is Caucasian, African American, Latino or Native American?

“Danger Points” in the AAJA’s guidelines include:
    “CHINK” — Pejorative; do not use in a context involving an Asian person on someone who is Asian American. Extreme care is needed if using the well-trod phrase “chink in the armor”; be mindful that the context does not involve Asia, Asians or Asian Americans. ... 
    DRIVING — This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to “an Asian who knows how to drive.” 
    EYE SHAPE — This is irrelevant. Do not make such references if discussing Lin’s vision. 
    FOOD — Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.
    MARTIAL ARTS — You’re writing about a basketball player. Don’t conflate his skills with judo, karate, tae kwon do, etc. Do not refer to Lin as “Grasshopper” or similar names associated with martial-arts stereotypes. 
    “ME LOVE YOU LIN TIME” — Avoid. This is a lazy pun on the athlete’s name and alludes to the broken English of a Hollywood caricature from the 1980s.
The AAJA also asks journalists to “use caution when discussing Lin’s physical characteristics, particularly those that feminize/emasculate the Asian male (Cinderella-story angles should not place Lin in a dress). Discussion of genetic differences in athletic ability among races should be avoided. In referring to Lin’s height or vision, be mindful of the context and avoid invoking stereotypes about Asians.”

Pleas sealed in HP spying case

A father-and-son private detective team, charged in a scheme by HP executives to spy on reporters, have entered pleas in federal court in San Jose — but a judge has sealed their pleas.

That’s according to CNET’s Michelle Meyers, one of the few reporters still covering the HP “pretexting” scandal which came to light in September 2006.

Meyers said it is unclear why U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen of San Jose agreed to keep secret the pleas of Matthew and Joseph DePante of Florida, who were 32 and 64 respectively when they arraigned last November.

They’re charged with conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud by using the SSNs of reporters to gain access to their cellphone bills in a process called “pretexting.” Pretexting occurs when you assume the identity of another person in order to obtain that person's personal information. HP used the cellphone bills to discover who was leaking confidential boardroom information to the media.

A former employee of the DePantes, Bryan Wagner, admitted to taking part in the spying campaign and pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and conspiracy in 2007 in a plea bargain in which he agreed to testify against higher-ups in the case.

(If you’re following this story, the case number for the DePantes is CR-11-00821 and the Wagner case number is CR-07-00016.)

SFGate drops climate researcher in scandal

SFGate has dropped an unpaid blog by prominent climate researcher Peter Gleick after he admitted to fraudulently obtaining documents from global warming skeptics who challenged his work.

Gleick, head of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, admitted on Monday that he posed as someone else to obtain internal memos from the Heartland Institute, a think tank that argues that global warming is not caused by human activity.

SFGate executive producer Alana Nguyen said the Chronicle-owned website had discontinued Gleick's unpaid blog because it was part of a feature reserved for local "luminaries."

"We decide who is a luminary," she told Reuters. "That kind of admission is something that affects your reputation in the community, and we strive to have people with a good reputation in the community."

Any journalist who obtained information in the way Gleick did would be fired from a traditional newsroom, the Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride told Reuters. She said reporters should not use information from the memos that Gleick obtained without taking pains to verify it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Press Club objects to arrests of reporters

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club is adding its voice to those who have objected to the arrests of journalists at a Jan. 28 Occupy Oakland protest. The following is a letter the Press Club's president, Marshall Wilson, has sent on behalf of the club's board of directors.
    Bernie Lunzer President 
    The Newspaper Guild-CWA 
      To The Newspaper Guild-CWA, 
      The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club Board of Directors offers our support in the stand taken by the coalition of media groups against the treatment of journalists by Oakland police during Occupy Oakland protests, and during the Jan. 28 protest in particular, in which a number of credentialed journalists were detained and some arrested. 
      The Press Club believes such treatment of journalists is unacceptable and alarming. 
      Please let us know if there is a capacity in which you would like our assistance. We thank you for taking such a quick and united stand on behalf of local news media. 
      We have provided coverage of your stance on our blog.
      Marshall Wilson 
      President, Board of Directors 

    Two entirely different views of newspapers

    John Paton, who replaced Dean Singleton as head of MediaNews Group (owner of most of the dailies in the Bay Area), says the print business model is broken, can’t be fixed and it’s time to put the digital people in charge of his newspapers. Here’s a link to a speech he gave in Canada on Feb. 16. He intends to move away from print and embrace the digital world with greater usage of Facebook and Twitter. His papers are creating community “media labs” where anyone can sit down in front of a computer and write a blog.

    On the other extreme is the profitable and growing Boston Courant, whose publisher says his paper is successful because it doesn’t have a website. Publisher David Jacobs realized years ago that a website would cost him more business than it would add, so he never launched one. Here’s a profile of the Courant by Harvard’s Nieman Lab.

    Jacobs is quoted as saying:
      I see all of the other newspapers hemorrhaging. I am amazed that some publisher of a daily newspaper online — maybe not a regional one, like The Boston Globe and — but some non-regional daily newspaper has not said, ‘Hey, we’re hemorrhaging money because of the web. Our print advertising is going down. We’re going to stop our website. We have the sort of news that no one can get anywhere else. If they want to get it, they’re going to have to read our newspaper, and our print advertisers are going to love us.’… What do you have to lose?
    Nieman reports that the Courant’s circulation is at 40,000 and rising, the newsroom just moved into a swanky downtown office building, and the paper is about to add two new full-time reporters to reach more of Boston.

    Belva Davis announces retirement

    Belva Davis, the first black female TV journalist on the West Coast and a Bay Area TV fixture for almost half a century, has announced that she will retire in November. She has been host of KQED's "This Week in Northern California" for 19 years and her last program will air Nov. 9, according to Chuck Barney of the Contra Costa Times. She plans to lead KQED's coverage of the fall election before stepping down. She previously worked at KPIX and KRON. Davis has won eight local Emmys. Last year she published a memoir, "Never in My Wildest Dreams, a Black Woman's Life in Journalism."

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Pac-12 Network opening studio in San Francisco

    The Pac-12 Conference today started construction on a 70,000-square-foot studio and office complex at 370 Third St. in San Francisco that will be operating by August.

    Pac-12 Enterprises, the media arm of the 12-team collegiate sports conference, will operate a national network out of the building, transmitting six regional feeds and multiple digital streams.

    BCN reports:
      Former San Francisco 49ers and University of Southern California football star Ronnie Lott and current Seattle Seahawk and former University of California star Marshawn Lynch were among the athletes who took power drills to a wall at the new facility.
      Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott called the groundbreaking "a seminal moment for the conference."
      Surrounded by famous athletes, San Francisco's mayor bragged that he had a different type of speed, helping to expedite the city's bureaucratic process.
      The groundbreaking came just two months after the announcement that a lease was signed for the office space, which Lee said showed "I may be the shortest guy here, but I move pretty fast too."
      Along with the TV channels, the conference is creating the Pac-12 Digital Network, a website portal that will feature hundreds of live Pac-12 athletic events and other original programming from all 12 college campuses.
      Cal women's swimming coach Teri McKeever said, "With this network ... we're going to attract new fans to many sports they'll be exposed to for the first time."

    February 2012 Press Club board minutes

    Feb. 8, 2012, San Mateo Daily Journal offices

    PRESENT: Darryl Compton, Ed Remitz, Melissa McRobbie, Marshall Wilson, Antonia Ehlers, Jon Mays. Absent: Kristy Blackburn, Dave Price, Laura Dudnick, Peter Cleaveland.

    The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m. by Marshall. Because we had six people, we did not have a quorum. Nothing was approved, although there was ample discussion about various topics.

    MINUTES: Were not approved.

    FINANCE AND MEMBERSHIPS: Darryl reported we are setting up systems for the journalism awards. A new feature this year will be a “buy now” button. In addition, we are looking into a feature that would enable the High School Journalism Awards entries to be submitted online this year.

    GREATER BAY AREA JOURNALISM AWARDS: Antonia reported that Manny Fernandez from the New York Times is moving his schedule to try to be our guest speaker. We will know by this weekend.

    If, for some reason, Manny is unable to attend, a back-up choice to consider is Greg Vistica, author and former investigative journalist. He was a correspondent for Newsweek, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a staff writer for The Washington Post, a staff producer for "60 Minutes II" and a military affairs writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Senator Bob Kerrey’s role in a Vietnam massacre. In addition, he won a George Polk award for breaking the Tailhook scandal, which led to historic reforms in the military.

    NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC PRESS ASSOCIATION/JOURNALISM EDUCATION ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE: The board discussed sponsoring San Mateo High students for this contest. The general consensus was to open it up to other schools and possibly creating a grant fund. It might or might not be based on financial need. We also discussed partnering with possible donors for journalism class equipment.

    OCCUPY OAKLAND: Board members agreed that a letter is sufficient support of Occupy Oakland/Guild Support.

    The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

    Respectfully submitted, Antonia Ehlers, Secretary

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Plan ahead in case you're arrested

    Editors and producers should plan ahead for the day when police will arrest one of their reporters while covering a story. That’s one of the suggestions offered by the Poynter Institute in this how-to article. On Jan. 28, Oakland police arrested six reporters covering an Occupy protest. It didn’t matter to police that the reporters had credentials. Poynter interviewed Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who offered these suggestions:
      • Newsrooms should develop a protocol for handling an arrest beforehand. 
      • Have an editor or producer standing by when reporters are covering stories that could lead to their arrest. 
      • This sounds like a no-brainer, but reporters should wear their press credentials and company identification badge while working. 
      • Stay calm during an arrest and keep reporting. Fighting an officer is a losing battle. 
      • Reporters should ask for a supervisor or PIO when they get to the jail to explain that they are working journalists.
    The Poynter article also offers tips to freelancers.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    CIR, Bay Citizen may merge

    The Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting have signed a formal letter of intent to merge the two nonprofit news organizations. Under terms of a memorandum of understanding approved by both boards, management of The Bay Citizen will be handed over to the existing leadership of the Berkeley-based CIR within 30 days. Phil Bronstein, the chairman of CIR’s board of directors, will become the executive chairman of the combined companies. Former Chronicle Managing Editor Robert Rosenthal would remain the CIR's executive director, and head up editorial operations at the combined organization. Here's Bay Citizen's coverage of its merger, the Chronicle's take on it, and Chris Rauber's story from the SF Business Times.

    Chron's pay wall mostly disappears

    Rachel Swan, writing for East Bay Express, says the Chronicle has quietly abandoned the pay wall it set up two years ago when it was struggling to stop losses of $50 million a year. After the wall went up, enterprise stories, restaurant reviews, Willie Brown's column, art coverage and other exclusive material was kept away from freeloading online eyes for two days. A "print-only" logo was placed above the headlines of such stories, indicating they were only available in print or online to paying subscribers including iPad readers. Swan quotes a couple of analysts who speculate on why the Chron has essentially dropped its paywall, and quotes Managing Editor Stephen Proctor as saying the strategy to embargo certain stories from the free online edition is still alive, though used less often.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Bill would ban release of 911 tapes to media

    The ability of the media to get 911 tapes is under attack again, the LA Times and other media outlets report. Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona, says the recent release of a frantic call made by Demi Moore’s friends before the actress was rushed to the hospital shows the need to give callers privacy. Torres says such calls should be kept private the way medical records are. Torres, however, is a former 911 operator. And keeping 911 tapes private would prevent the public from hearing emergency operators who make serious errors in the handling of calls. Earlier attempts to make 911 calls secret have failed in the Legislature.

    Suit seeks captioning on website news videos

    A federal magistrate has refused to dismiss a suit by deaf Californians who want CNN to add closed captions to its video clips on its website, the Chronicle reported today. The suit accuses CNN and its owner, Time Warner, of violating state disability laws by denying full access to more than 100,000 Californians who are functionally deaf. CNN provides closed captions on television, as required by federal law, but doesn’t caption the brief video segments on its website. Magistrate Laurel Beeler of Oakland, in siding with the plaintiffs, said the lawsuit only alleges discrimination in the way CNN delivers news online and isn’t an attack on free speech.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Hussey out as editor of the Examiner

    Deirdre Hussey is no longer editor of The Examiner as a new owner makes changes at the free daily.

    "Her institutional knowledge will be missed, but I think a fresh start and some fresh ideas in the Editor-in-Chief chair will be good," Examiner President and Publisher Todd Vogt told the SF Weekly. "Everyone is personally sorry to see her go, but professionally, everyone agrees a change is welcomed," he said.

    Vogt said that after speaking to Hussey on Wednesday, the two decided to part ways effective immediately and she received “a nice severance,” according to the SF Weekly.

    The Examiner hasn’t named Hussey’s replacement. In fact, the staff box in today’s (Feb. 3) edition still lists her as editor-in-chief.

    Hussey was promoted to editor-in-chief in July 2010, succeeding Jim Pimentel. Hussey joined the Examiner in 2002 and and was north San Mateo County editor, city editor and assistant managing editor before being appointed managing editor in 2007.

    The Bay Citizen in merger talks

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that The Bay Citizen, the two-year-old nonprofit news organization, is in merger talks with the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. The Journal attributed its report to Bay Citizen staffers and others familiar with the discussions. Those sources said the talks are in the early stages and could fall apart. CIR executive director Robert Rosenthal is quoted as saying that it is unclear where the conversations will lead. In the past few months, Bay Citizen has lost its editor (Jonathan Weber), CEO (Lisa Frazier) and interim editor (Steve Fainaru) to other jobs or projects. And its founder, Warren Helman, died. CIR is headed by Rosenthal, former Chron managing editor, and has as its board chairman ex-Chron editor Phil Bronstein.

    Somali pirates kidnap ex-SF Weekly critic

    The SF Weekly’s former theater critic, Michael Scott Moore, was captured by Somali pirates on Saturday, according to the LA Times and KTLA Los Angeles. Moore went to Somalia to do research for a book about the pirates. He was on his way to the airport when 15 men in SUVs kidnapped him, believing that he was a spy, the Times said. The pirates are demanding a ransom and will not negotiate until it is paid, KTLA said.

    Former SF Weekly editor John Mecklin said on his blog that he hopes journalists contact their State Department connections to urge them to work for Moore’s release. (The blog posting was mentioned in an SF Weekly story about Moore’s abduction, but it appears to have been taken down from Mecklin’s blog). Photo credit: KTLA.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Guild objects to arrest of reporters

    The Guild has sent the letter below to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan to object to the arrests of six journalists during Saturday's Occupy Protests. The Guild is not alone in protesting these arrests. It has been joined by NABET, which represents TV and radio workers, and the Society for Professional Journalists. All parties want a meeting with Mayor Quan. Here is the text of the letter:
      Dear Mayor Quan and Chief Jordan: 
      We write to object, once again, to unacceptable interference with journalists covering Occupy Oakland protests and resulting law enforcement. 
      On Saturday, at least six credentialed journalists were detained and/ or arrested while covering Occupy Oakland protests. They included representatives of the San Francisco Chronicle, KGO radio news, the Guardian (U.K.), East Bay Express, Mother Jones magazine, and the SF Bay Guardian. Despite repeatedly identifying themselves as members of the media, two were jailed.
      Some wore official Oakland Police Department press credentials; others were carrying credentials from the San Francisco Police Department or from their assigning publications or broadcast outlets, a customary practice among working journalists. 
      Although several journalists were released quickly on the scene, others were held for long periods of time, making it impossible for them to do their jobs. Numerous reports from the scene document officers ignoring reporters presenting their press credentials and admonishing them for not following orders to disperse. 
      This despite the OPD's own guidelines, which stated, "Even after a dispersal order has been given, clearly identified media shall be permitted to carry out their professional duties in any area where arrests are being made unless their presence would unduly interfere with the enforcement action." 
      Earlier this fall, many of us individually and collectively contacted the city to ask for a response to reports that plainly credentialed journalists had been detained and in some cases jailed covering Occupy protests. In another incident, police grabbed at a camera belonging to an Oakland Tribune photojournalist, breaking off the flash and throwing it to the ground.
      Freedom of the press is key to our democracy and must be vigorously defended. Arrests of journalists and other police interference with reporters and photographers cannot be tolerated. 
      We therefore request a meeting with city and police department leaders to discuss the immediate formation of a training and monitoring program to ensure that police no longer detain, harass, or otherwise block journalists from doing their jobs by reporting breaking news in the city of Oakland. 
      If you have questions about this request, please let us know. 
      Bernie Lunzer President The Newspaper Guild-CWA 202-434-7175 
      Jim Joyce President The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) 
      Liz Enochs President Northern California chapter Society of Professional Journalists 
      Kevin Wilson President NABET-CWA Local 51 San Francisco 
      Carl Hall Executive officer Pacific Media Workers Guild San Francisco 
      Rebecca Rosen Lum Chair, Guild Freelancers unit Pacific Media Workers Guild San Francisco

    Singleton inducted into Texas hall of fame

    Texas has a newspaper Hall of Fame! And ex-MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton has been inducted into it. The Associated Press, which Singleton headed for the past five years, has the details.