TJ Holmes: I’m a Free Agent

T.J. Holmes Says He’s
 Officially a Free Agent

Black Entertainment Television finally acknowledged Thursday that 
it will not bring back T.J. Holmes’ “Don’t Sleep!” [video] late night news/talk show, eight months 
after its initial launch. Holmes told Journal-isms on Friday, “I’m a 
completely free agent.”

Holmes left his job as a CNN weekend anchor in December 2011 for
 BET, which developed a half-hour late-night show for him that 
targeted African American viewers but was intended to have more in
 common with Jon Stewart than with traditional

the show, which aired Monday through Thursday, failed to draw a
 significant audience,” R. Thomas Umstead wrote 
Thursday for Multichannel News. “After generating a series-high 1 
million viewers for its Oct. 9 episode, the series averaged less than 
400,000 viewers before being revamped into a weekly, one-hour format
on Nov. 14. The last new episode of the series aired Dec. 19.”

However, BET refused to say it was canceling the show, even as it 
turned its attention toward the reality show “The Real Husbands of Hollywood.”

Holmes told Journal-isms by telephone, “I will never, ever regret
 thinking that my heart was in the right place,” a young black man 
taking his skills “to do something that was not being done for our 
community,” that is, providing a daily news show geared toward 
African Americans. “You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I 
should have asked, things that should have been cleared up,” but 
reaching the black community in that way was “an opportunity I would 
love to have” again, Holmes said.

Umstead wrote, “In a statement, BET said Don’t Sleep
 ‘delivered smart social commentary on 
significant issues important to African Americans with the nation’s 
most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a 
resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African 
American community.’”

Boston Suspects Darkened for Magazine Cover

This is how brofiling actually works in real 
life,” Hari Stephen Kumar wrote Thursday for his 
”brofiling” blog. “The Week Magazine ran with this image as their 
cover sketch.

“Just so it is said, clearly and unambiguously: the Tsarnaev 
brothers are white guys. They are white. The FBI’s own wanted poster 
for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lists his race as ‘white’, but
 you would never know it from the cover image on The Week.

“Hold up the cover to someone else, and ask them how many white 
people they can see on the cover. Chances are they will identify 
Gabby Giffords on the top left and the image of the 
Boston policemen (all white men) on the top right, but how about 
those two guys in the center? Nope, not a chance that anyone would say
 these caricatures look white.

“Why? Because in addition to being white they are also ‘Muslim’,
 which is the current dehumanizing ‘Other’ label that whiteness has 
constructed as a sanctioned target for violence in US popular 

“This is how white privilege works in media representations and
 everyday life: when the criminal suspects are demonstrably white men, 
seize upon any aspect of difference and magnify it such that they 
become Othered, non-white, and menacing. If it is too hard to do so,
 simply dismiss them as aberrations and isolated cases of insanity.
 This is also how white culture, specifically the process of whiteness
 in conjunction with white privilege, portrays several non-white 
identities, including those that are now considered white but at one 
time were decidedly not so. . . .”

The Week magazine did not respond to a request for comment.

The episode is reminiscent of Time magazine’s darkening of O.J. Simpson’s face
 during his 1994 murder trial to make him appear more menacing.

The well-respected weekly calls itself “A comprehensive, balanced 
distillation of national and international news, opinions and ideas.”
 Its subscriber base is just a fraction of Time’s 3.2 million: It had a 
total paid and verified circulation of 561,459 for the six month s
ending Dec. 21, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Up to 5 Senior Blacks 
Leaving USA Today, Gannett

As many as five senior black journalists at USA Today and Gannett
News Service are taking a buyout, depleting the top ranks of
journalists of color at “the nation’s newspaper.”

Three of the five confirmed their departure: Geri Coleman
 Tucker, deputy managing editor; Robert
 Robinson, deputy managing editor/copy editors; and reporter 
Larry Bivins of Gannett News Service.

“Early retirements were offered to USA TODAY employees who were at 
least 55 years old and had 15 years of service. They were offered two
 weeks pay for each year of service — with a cap of one year of pay,”
USA Today spokeswoman Heidi Zimmerman told 
Journal-isms by email Friday. She would not disclose the number 
taking the buyout.

“Yes, it’s true,” Bivins messaged Journal-isms. “After 36 years in 
the business, starting at The Cleveland Call Post, a black 
weekly, I’m hanging it up. At least for a while. The timing is good 
for me . . . I’ll be 64 in November, giving me just two more years
 before full Social Security eligibility. I’ll get a paycheck for 
almost a year. I’m not quite sure what I want to do. I imagine I’ll be
 open to freelance possibilities. But for a couple of months, at least,
 I plan on doing nothing but playing tennis every day. And clear my 

“May 15 would have been my 20th anniversary with Gannett, all in
 Washington. I started in 1993 as an urban affairs/race relations 
reporter for The Detroit News, then moved over to Gannett News Service 
in 1998. I was a regional reporter, spent time as a regional editor, 
then went back to reporting when the bureau downsized in 2009 — I had 
just returned to work after a six-week disability for a hip
 replacement. . . .”

Tucker said she was “embarking on a great faith journey.” She said
 she had spent 23 years at USA Today, “30 at Gannett all total because
 I was also a regional managing editor at Gannett News Service.” Tucker 
has been deputy managing editor/Money at USA Today and managing
 editor/Midwest for Gannett News Service from 1986 to 1993.

She added, “I’m looking for exciting, new opportunities.”

Robinson, deputy managing editor/Sports before a reorganization,
 messaged, “After 39 years at Gannett, the last 30½ with USA TODAY, I
 decided to take the early retirement package. I have had 39 wonderful
 years in the business, including being a founding member of the USA 
TODAY staff, and felt the timing was right to take a step back. . . . 
As for what’s next, I have no immediate plans other than to take a
 month or so to just enjoy the family, visit my aging mother in Florida 
and then look for my next employment opportunity — or whatever God 
has in store for me.”

Could Fact-Checkers Have Saved 
Howard Kurtz?

The saga of media writer Howard Kurtz, who “parted 
ways” with Newsweek and the Daily Beast after an embarrassing error 
this week, was part of the buzz Thursday night at the American 
Magazine Awards in New York. Jim Nelson,
 editor-in-chief of GQ, accepted one of the honors.

“Howard Kurtz, who wrongly accused
 NBA player Jason Collins of not mentioning his
 earlier engagement to a woman when he came out this week, could
 have been saved from his mistake by magazine factcheckers, GQ 
Editor-in-Chief suggested when his magazine won in the reporting
 category,” Nat Ives reported for Ad Age.

For the most part, reconstructions of Kurtz’s fall have not
 addressed the role of the website in failing to catch his errors.

Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck wrote Thursday night for Politico, “At the height of his influence, Howard Kurtz was
 widely regarded as the most influential media reporter and critic in 
the country. But in recent years, erroneous reporting and careless 
errors reduced him to fodder for the media reporters and critics who
 followed in his footsteps.

“No single event has dealt such a crushing blow to Kurtz’s 
reputation as Thursday’s decision to ‘part ways’ — after a serious
 mistake in a story about gay basketball player Jason Collins — with 
The Daily Beast, where he has served as columnist and Washington 
bureau chief since leaving a long, illustrious career with The 
Washington Post in 2010. . . .”

They added, “sources at the Daily Beast and CNN, who spoke to 
POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said there were several
 reasons for the breakup: For one thing, Kurtz had a string of
 high-profile mistakes on his record and that had become a source of
 embarrassment for The Daily Beast. For another, he commanded a hefty 
paycheck, despite turning out fewer scoops than in the past. . .

“But perhaps the main factor that led Kurtz out the door, several
 sources said, was the same quality that had fueled his rise in the 
first place decades ago: a hyperactive work ethic that ended up
 dividing his attentions and ultimately proved unsustainable. . .

Andrew Kirk, a spokesman for the Daily Beast, did
 not respond to a question about whether Kurtz’s work went through copy
 editors. The fateful entry about Collins was described as a “blog
 post,” which at many publications means it is posted without 

Meanwhile, CNN has decided not to remove Kurtz as host of his
  Sunday morning media show. “There has been no 
status change with Howard Kurtz, he remains the host of ‘Reliable
Sources’. He will address this issue on the program this
 weekend,” a CNN spokeswoman told inquiring journalists.

Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown tweeted
 Thursday that Kurtz and the Daily Beast had “parted company … we
 wish him well.”

A statement from Brown highlighted moves the website
 is taking to bolster its coverage of Washington, including with
 new columnists such as Jon Favreau, 
Joshua [DuBois] and Stuart
 Stevens,” Ryan Nakashima reported for the 
Associated Press.

DuBois, an African American, left his position as faith adviser for
 President Obama in February.

Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: Howard
 Kurtz Had Larger Daily Download Role Than Other Advisory Board

Matt K. Lewis, the Week: Let’s all stop taking swings at Howard Kurtz

Media Were Silent on
Gay Player Who Came Out in ’70s

few months back, the Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon
 Ayanbadejo, an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, told
 USA Today that he thought the first player in the three major
 sports to out himself would be a baseball player: ‘The religious
 roots are a lot deeper in basketball and football. With that being 
said, I think baseball players are more open-minded,’ ” Allen
 Barra reported Friday for the Atlantic.

“What Ayanbadejo didn’t know was that one baseball player already
 had. This week’s coming out by NBA player Jason
 Collins is momentous, but the Jackie
Robinson of gay rights was Glenn Burke, who
 played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s from 1976 to 1979.
 He tried to change sports culture three decades ago — but back then,
 unlike now, sports culture wasn’t ready for a change.

“Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers 
front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also 
talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking
 their heads and telling him they couldn’t write that in their papers. 
Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk 
him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his 
autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the 
ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it 
wasn’t so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into 
getting ‘married,’ was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, 
whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 
1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son’s

“Burke, who also died of AIDS-related causes in 1995, came out to 
the world outside baseball in a 1982 article for Inside Sports and 
even followed it up shortly after with an appearance on The Today 
Show with Bryant Gumbel. But his story was 
greeted by the rest of the news media and the baseball establishment, 
including Burke’s former teammates and baseball commissioner
 Bowie Kuhn, with silence. Even his superb
 autobiography, Out at Home, which published the year he died, 
failed to stir open conversation about homosexuality in sports. 
Practically no one in the sports-writing community would acknowledge
 that Burke was gay or report stories that followed up on his
 admission. . . .”

“Out: the Glenn Burke Story,” a documentary featuring
 Burke, debuted in November 2010 in a San Francisco theater,
 accompanied by a television broadcast the same night on Comcast
SportsNet Bay Area.

Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: Silence of opponents illustrates growing acceptance of LGBT rights 

Leonardo Blair, Christian Post: ESPN’s Chris Broussard: ‘Though I’m Getting a Lot of Hate, God Is Being Glorified’

Donna Brazile, CNN: But can the dude play?

Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Is Jason Collins the Jackie Robinson of 2013?

Mike Fleming Jr., Deadline Hollywood: Will Gay Hoopster Revelation Drive Home Jamie Lee Curtis-Produced Pic About First Openly Gay Baseball Player?

Justice B. Hill, BET: Why We Should Respect Chris Broussard’s Opinion

Reginald Johnson, Metuchen Edison Area Branch NAACP, letter, | Courier News | Home News Tribune: Tough being gay in sports? Ask Glenn Burke

Saeed Jones, BuzzFeed: Yes, It Matters That Jason Collins Is Black And Gay

John Koblin, Deadspin: Why ESPN’s Chris Broussard Came Out As A Bigot

Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle: Film examines struggle of gay athlete Glenn Burke (2010)

Chris Murray blog: I”s Time to End Homophobia and Anti-Gay Bigotry in the African-American Community

Jeff Poor, Daily Caller: MoveOn petition urges ESPN to suspend Chris Broussard

Armstrong Williams, the Shadow League: Jason Collins And The Plague Of Identity Politics

Phillip B. Wilson, Indianapolis Star: Colts notes: Players would accept a gay teammate

Denver Post Joins Papers
 Dropping “Illegal Immigrant”

During the past decade I have had several 
conversations with groups and individuals that eventually landed on 
use of the term illegal immigrant to describe those who have 
unlawfully come to the United States,” Greg 
Moore, editor of the Denver Post, told readers Thursday.

“I have heard all kinds of arguments. I always tensed up when
 someone argued illegal immigrant was the same as racial epithets used 
to describe blacks and Jews. I still believe those comparisons are
 wrongheaded. But other examples stayed with me. I remember once being 
told that a young girl cried upon seeing a relative described as an 
illegal immigrant.

“Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term 
’illegal immigrant’ when describing a person in the country 
unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. 
The word ‘illegal’ will not be applied to a person, only an action. .
. .”

The Denver Post entry on “illegal immigration” now reads:

“Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or
 criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use 
illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, 
but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or
 entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

“Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien,
 an illegal, illegals, undocumented aliens or undocumented workers.
 Use the unmodified word immigrant only for people who have entered the 
U.S. lawfully.

“Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without 

“If possible, specify how someone entered the country illegally and
 from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What

“People who were brought into the country as children should not be 
described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a 
temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for 
Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with
 details on the program lower in the story.”

Hugo Balta, National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Applauds the Denver Post for Its Decision to Drop the I Word

Kevin Bogardus and Russell Berman, African Globe: Caribbean and African Immigrants Getting Blocked in New Immigration Bill

Joel Campbell, Columbia Journalism Review: Four Corners coverage: immigration reform (April 29)

Charles D. Ellison, Uptown: How Black Folks Are Shut Out of the Immigration Debate (April 29)

María Hinojosa with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, “Latino USA,” NPR: Where Is Mexico on U.S. Immigration Reform? (podcast)

Maria Hinojosa, “Latino USA,” NPR: Lost Women (podcast)

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