KCABJ Newsletter for August 2008

KCABJ Media Awards

Dozens of entries have been received for the 17th Annual KCABJ Media Awards. Newspaper and radio entries have gone to the judges for evaluation.

KCABJ in the last couple of years had received entries from Kansas City area television stations. But this year none of the stations submitted material.

People who have entered have been notified that their material has been received. They also were made aware of when the awards program will take place.

It will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at The Kansas City Star Press Pavilion. The five graduates of the 2008 KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy also will be honored at the program for their work.

KCABJ Secretary Greg Moore told KCABJ members at the August meeting that he wanted to put together another candidates’ forum tied to the presidential election in November. It would take place after the Democratic and Republican conventions.

KCABJ again would partner with the black students at the University of MissouriKansas City. Donna Wolfe, host of the “Urban Connections” show on KKFI-FM, said at the KCABJ meeting she would explore the possibility of the forum being broadcast on the community radio station.

In other news during the meeting, KCABJ member Anita Parran said the AARP would sponsor with the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus two public gatherings at the Screenland Theater downtown. One would be the Aug. 28 telecast of Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The other is Sen. John McCain’s acceptance speech on Sept. 4 at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

KCABJ President Kia Breaux told members that she was traveling to Kansas State University to review the efforts of students on campus starting an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. If it checks out, Kia said, she plans to write a letter of recommendation for K-State group. The students have set up a Web site at http://www.jmc.ksu.edu/dmc.

UNITY: Journalists of Color

Several KCABJ members attended the UNITY convention in Chicago in August. They included Kia Breaux, Lewis Diuguid, Greg Moore, Damon Smith, Steve Penn, Jenee’ Osterheldt and Stan Austin. They were met by several former KCABJ members and officers, including Terence Harris, April McClellan, Rickeena Richards, Kathy Times and Greg Fields.

The attendance and revenue from the convention was way below expectations. Staff reductions at media companies dominated attendees’ concerns. Layoffs continue to plague the news industry as advertising dollars evaporate.

Diversity remains a concern for journalists of color, which was emphasized by UNITY convention-goers and during many of the sessions. But minority journalists also have been affected by job reductions.

Also during the gathering, several sessions focused on whether a UNITY convention was even necessary. UNITY conventions have taken place every four years since 1994. They have been a gathering of black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalism associations.

Flickerings of Diversity

The number of women and minorities working for broadcast companies increased, according to the latest RTNDA/Hofstra University Annual Survey.

Women hold 28.3 percent of the news directors jobs, minorities are in 15.5 percent of the positions. Each is at a record level.

Overall, 23.6 percent of TV news jobs are held by people of color. That is second behind the peak reached in 2001. Minority numbers in radio also were up to 11.8 percent after years of decline.

But a Media Matters for America report in July found a continued lack of gender and racial/ethnic diversity of guests on major prime-time cable news programs. The “Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime Time Cable News” study found that 67 percent of the guests on cable programs were men and 84 percent were white.

MSNBC had the greatest gender imbalance with 70 percent of the guests being male. CNN and FOX featured 65 percent male guests.

FOX News ranked as the whitest network with 88 percent white guests. CNN and MSNBC were close with 83 percent white guests.

“Though white men make up 32 percent of the population, they made up 57 percent of the guests on prime-time cable during this period,” the report said. “The host of every single prime-time cable show is white, and all but two are men.”

The study examined CNN, FOX News and MSNBC during the month of May 2008 with 1,699 guest appearances in all. “The report’s findings demonstrate that whatever effort the networks have made to increase the diversity of their guests has borne little fruit, at least in prime time,” the study noted.

Jobs and More

The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., is seeking prep writers. For more information write to Leroy Chapman Jr. at lchapman@thestate.com.

The Daily Press in Newport News, Va., has two reporter openings. For more information write to Kathy Times at kytimes@aol.com.

KSHB-NBC-TV, Channel 41 is seeking a producer and an executive producer. For more information write to Tracy Wakeman at wakeman@nbcactionnews.com.

The American Press Institute is offering a seminar on audience development. It will take place Nov. 10-12 in Reston, Va. For more information check out http://www.americanpressinstitute.org.

The Montgomery Advertiser has an opening for a page designer/copy editor. For more information write to Wanda Lloyd at wlloyd@montgomeryadvertiser.com.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists is seeking post-Hurricane Katrina columns for a book the organization plans to publish. For more information write to Suzette Standring at suzmar@comcast.net.

The 2008 Society of Professional Journalists will have its convention on Sept. 4-7 in Atlanta at the Hyatt Regency. For more information write to Alyson Ahrns at aahrns@spj.org.

KC People

KCABJ’s membership increased to 23 with the additions of Steve Penn and Damon Smith.

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