By Julius Kane
In 1827 a group of black businessmen were fed up with the negative depictions of African-Americans in their local newspapers, so they decided to start their own. A few months later America’s first, ‘race’ newspaper was born. At the helm were two young black men; 28 year old college graduate John Russwurm and 32 year old preacher Samuel Cornish. Freedom’s Journal, as it was called, made certain every article and editorial had a deliberate slant that showed blacks in a positive light with dignity and class. Cornish and Russwurm knew they not only had to report the news but they had to inspire as well. Any news worthy item involving "Africans" was to be included.
The New York Post has revealed that CNN is once again considering bringing in a person of color to one of their night time anchor spots. The move is long overdue, since black and brown people have been subject to the “All-white, all-night” phenomenon, where none of the major cable news networks have granted any of their nightly branded news spots to an African American host. This is nothing short of insulting, given that black people are very good at showing loyalty to those who don’t feel compelled to return the favor.
As John King is being taken to the carpet for his disappointing ratings in the 7 p.m. slot, CNN’s leadership is considering Soledad O’Brien as his replacement. Sure, Soledad isn’t everyone’s first pick, but she’s professional, talented and quite intelligent. She deserves to have a shot. All the while, I’d be remiss not to mention my respected friend Roland Martin, and other talented CNN personalities, like Richelle Carey, Don Lemmon, TJ Holmes, and Tony Harris (who just left for Al Jazeera English).
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action
Another one bites the dust. Tony Harris, arguably the most talented black correspondent with CNN, has left for Al Jazeera English. The Al Jazeera network reports on news in the Middle East and serves a large audience, mostly in that region of the world. Harris spent six years with CNN before announcing his departure.
Harris is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, with experience on HBO and Entertainment Tonight. Right before starting his first day at the new job, Harris said this:
“I’m really pleased to have joined. Having an interest in news from around the world, I was attracted by AJE’s global focus and look forward to being involved in stories from all points of the globe. It’s a very exciting time to be coming on board.”
My quick thoughts:
Juan Williams, the Fox News commentator who was disgraced in a highly public firing by NPR last year, has decided to go at his old bosses after NPR went through a public humiliation of it’s own. In a recent interview, Williams referred to NPR as an "all-white organization" that showed "the worst of white condescension" in the way they fired him last year. This was after NPR executive Ron Schiller was caught on a hidden camera referring to the Tea Party movement as racist.
"I think when it comes to NPR’s decision to, without any reason, throw me out the door, I think that for them, especially for some of the people who created NPR, it’s an all-white operation," Williams said. He also said that he felt that they favored white female journalists over black and Hispanic ones.
Sorry Juan, but what NPR did to you was not condescending. Condescending is when Fox News uses you as it’s personal "Negro Stamp of Approval" for some of the most racist, vile and insulting commentary in news media today. I personally stopped appearing on Fox News in 2007 after the network decided that race-baiting was a great way to get ratings. The Obama presidency was just around the corner, and Fox News would take the lead in giving a platform to the racial ignorance that still exists in our country.
Shomari Stone is a reporter out of Seattle that you probably haven’t heard of until now. But after his heroic actions this week, you will have respect for the man who showed courage when others would have walked the other way. Stone was out filming a segment, when he noticed some men fighting. One of the men, a white male, was being beaten badly by a black man, and Stone became concerned.
Going into "Brother mode" (yes, you notice that Stone’s speaking style changed upon noticing that he might have to get a little tough), the reporter ran over to stop the fight. Not only did he help to stop the black man from hurting the white one, he even jumped in to tackle the guy that was on top of the "victim."
Heads were turning this week as CNN announced that it was hiring Mark Whitaker as it’s new Managing Editor. Whitaker, who is African American, once served as the Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News. He took his position at NBC after the sudden death of Tim Russert in 2007. He was also editor at Newsweek from 1998 – 2006.
The Managing Editor position was created when the CNN/US President, Jon Klein, left the network in September of last year. CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton said that Whitaker would be chosen as "an executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide to lead collaboration across all platforms and elevate CNN’s unique journalism and analysis."
"Our aim is to position a strong managing editor, working closely with the head of each CNN network and Web site, to generate reporting and analysis that consistently stands out, sparks conversation and captures the true meaning and relevance of the events in the news," Walton said in a public statement. "Mark is a distinguished journalist and news executive who is experienced in leading large enterprises, and I am pleased that he will help direct our long-term editorial approach and strategy."
Apparently, eight years has been enough for both MSNBC and Keith Olbermann. The network announced Friday that this is the end of Olbermann’s tenure with the network and that he is moving on immediately:
"MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract," according to a statement issued by the network. "The last broadcast of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."
Olbermann addressed his departure from the network on air, starting off with a story about his time with ESPN many years ago: