Eight Men Arrested in Fort Worth on Federal Child Sex Trafficking Charges

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Eight men are in federal custody on charges of sex trafficking of children. They were arrested following an investigation by the Fort Worth Police Department’s VICE Unit. The men went before a federal judge in Fort Worth on Tuesday and were officially charged and remain behind bars.

  • Pierre Lagrone, aka “P” or “Pedro,” 33
  • Robert Roseberry, aka “King Rose,” 29
  • Herman Sanders, aka “Pooh,” 29
  • Reginald Smith, aka “Green Light,” 28
  • Demarcus Davis, aka “Zigg,” 25
  • Kentrell Davis, aka “Zeal,” 24
  • Cederrick Clarkson, aka “Ced” or “Spazz,” 25
  • Terroderick Watts, aka “Silk,” 27

According to an affidavit in March of 2017, the Fort Worth Police Department’s VICE Unit conducted a recovery operation in response to a lead sent from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in reference to a suspected victim of Child Sex Trafficking.

Fort Worth police found a Backpage.com ad containing photographs of a minor female, Jane Doe 1, that advertised commercial sex acts. As a result of the operation, Jane Doe 1 was recovered. Additionally, two other minor females were also found in a closet located in Jane Doe 1’s hotel room at the time she was recovered.

The three females, and others, were victims of a child sex trafficking organization. Investigators say Lagrone, Roseberry, Sanders, Smith, D. Davis, K. Davis, Clarkson and Watts were members of that organization and recruited, advertised and sold several women, both adults and underage for the purpose of sex.

The suspects worked together as an organization by using some of the same underage and adult female victims to engage in sex acts, often working out of the same hotels. They transported female victims for the purpose of commercial sex acts, utilizing and sharing cellphones that were used to post ads for commercial sex on Backpage.com,

They also took pictures of the girls and women either nude or in their underwear and posted them as Backpage.com ads . The defendants were also frequently violent if the females angered them or did not follow their directions.

If convicted, the men face life in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Source: U.S. Justice Department >>U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING IS MODERN DAY SLAVERY

Backpage.com is where many child sex traffickers do their business according to this mother called Nacole. She says her teenage daughter became a sex slave and ended up “in the hands of a very evil man.” He posted her daughter’s photo also on backpage.com.  Listen to this very emotional story.

 

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Vivian Castleberry: trailblazer for women in journalism, dies at 95

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Archive photo: Vivian Castleberry

95-year-old Vivian Castleberry passed away Tuesday morning at her daughter’s home in Georgia. The former newspaper editor will always be remembered as the woman who opened doors for females in journalism starting in the 1950’s.

Journalism was always in her blood. She was determined to have a career at a time when most women stayed home to take care of their families.

Castleberry was a journalist at her high school in East Texas. She went to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where she joined the newspaper. There she started as a writer and eventually moved up to feature editor and then to assistant editor.

From 1956 to 1984, Castleberry held the position of women’s editor for the Dallas Times Herald’s Living section. She was known for being objective and exposing cultural taboos and didn’t let resistance from other editors at the Times Herald stop her.

She was one of the first reporters who wrote about topics like domestic violence, inequality at work, and child abuse. Castleberry also became the first woman elected to the newspaper’s editorial board. She won numerous awards for her work.

The JFK Assassination 

Castleberrry covered many interesting stories during her career.  She was working the day President John F. Kennedy visited Dallas on November 22, 1963. She got first hand information of Kennedy’s assassination from her cousin who was standing next to Abe Zapruder. He was the photographer who took what has become the most important film documentation of Kennedy’s assassination.  Castleberry said her cousin was Zapruder’s assistant but was never interviewed by the Warren Commission which looked into the case.

The many stages of Vivian Castleberry

Castleberry was one of the first women to show that a mother can work and raise her children. She and her husband had five children, and Castleberry kept on working.

She wrote four books: Daughters of Dallas, The Texas Tornado, Sarah the Bridge Builder, and Seeds of Success. In 1984, Castleberry was inducted into the Texas Woman’s Hall of Fame.

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Vivian Castleberry & Anita Marcos, President of Peacemakers. Photo courtesy: Lucy Huffstteter

Castleberry also founded Peacemakers Incorporated. In 1988, she served as Chairwoman of Peacemakers’ First International Women’s Peace Conference, which was attended by over 2,000 women from 57 countries.

In 2010, the University of North Texas established the Castleberry Peace Institute. Today it offers cutting-edge research and educational programs on the causes of war and peace.

Vivian Castleberry will always be known as a true Texas Trailblazer.

More sources on Vivian Castleberry

The Portal to Texas History: Oral History Interview with Vivian Castleberry

Castleberry Peace Institute

The Senior Voice

CalBuzz “Oswald’s been Shot”

Dallas Morning News:  Vivian Castleberry

Peacemakers, Inc.

Jimmy Kimmel calls out Republican Senators after the Las Vegas massacre

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Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Once again it takes Jimmy Kimmel to make us sit back and think about gun violence, the politics behind gun control and the senseless murders of innocent people.

Kimmel has become the voice of reason on late night talk shows. A few weeks ago taking on Republican lawmakers on a health care bill that he believed was not good for Americans. It appeared his influence had an impact. The Graham-Cassidy bill died when Republicans decided not to vote on it because they they didn’t have enough committed votes.

Monday night Kimmel opened his monologue choking back tears as he reminded us about the deaths, injured and wounded left behind in Las Vegas by one gunman.

Here is a transcript of Kimmel’s powerful and emotional message:

“No way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings”

As you know, at least 59 people are dead, hundreds of people are wounded in what they’re saying is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history coming about a year and a half after the previous deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in Orlando when 49 people lost their lives. And of course we pray for the victims and for their families and friends and we wonder why, even though there’s probably no way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who are at a concert, having fun and listening to music. Jason Aldean was on stage, Luke Combs who was here with us tonight, he played the show, too. And obviously no one could have ever expected that something terrible would happen, but it did.

“…we have children without parents and fathers without sons…”

A very sick person smuggled 17 guns into his hotel room and smashed out the windows, started firing indiscriminately from the 32nd floor into a crowd of 22,000 people across the street. And as a result of that, this morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters. We lost two police officers. We lost a nurse from Tennessee. A special ed teacher from a school here in Manhattan Beach.

It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up, it’s too much to even process. All these devastated families who now have to live with this pain forever, because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a collection of high-powered rifles and use them to shoot people. The guy was an accountant, he has no criminal record. His brother who lives in Florida seems totally shocked, genuinely dumbfounded, he said he saw no sign of any of this. The owner of the store that sold the killer some of the rifles said he passed the government-mandated background check when he was in the store. He wasn’t on any watchlist. He didn’t seem to have been a religious or political extremist. Came out of nowhere.

“Of course there’s something we can do about it”

Because of that, because there weren’t any of the usual signs, I’ve been reading comments from people who say, “This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” But I disagree with that intensely. Because of course there’s something we can do about it, there’s a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t, which is interesting. Because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can about that.

The Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time. And this guy, reportedly he had 10 of them in his room, apparently legally. At least some of them were there legally. Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen. Or better question, why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?

“…we’ll move on to the next thing, and then it will happen again and again”
Five people got shot in Lawrence, Kansas, last night, three of them died, it didn’t even make a blip because it’s just a regular part of our lives now. And you know what will happen, we’ll pray for Las Vegas. Some of us will get motivated, some of us won’t get motivated. The bills will be written, they’ll be watered down, they’ll fail. The NRA will smother it all with money and over time we’ll get distracted. We’ll move on to the next thing and then it will happen again and again.

Last night, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this is not the time… actually it was today, this morning, she said it was not the time for political debate. I don’t know, we have 59 innocent people dead, it wasn’t their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate.

“lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because NRA has their balls in a money clip”

President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning, said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.

“These are the faces of the senators…voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes”

Right now, there are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately from another party, if they buy a gun online or at a gun show. So I want to show you something. These are the faces of the senators who, days after the shooting in Orlando, voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes. These are the 56 senators who didn’t want to do anything about that.

“So with all due respect, your (Senators) thoughts and prayers are insufficient”

Ninety percent of Democrats, I’m not talking about politicians here, I’m talking about people and 77 percent of Republicans support background checks at gun shows. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not this gang! They voted against both of those things. So with all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.

By the way, the House of Representatives is voting on a piece of legislation this week. It’s a bill to legalize the sale of silencers for guns, this is what they’re working on. We have a major problem with gun violence in this country, and I guess they don’t care. If I’m wrong on that, fine, do something about it. Cause I’m sick of it.

“It feels like someone has opened a window into hell”

I want this to be a comedy show. I hate talking about stuff like this. I just want to laugh about things every night, but that it seems to becoming increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell. And what I’m talking about tonight isn’t about gun control, it’s about common sense. Common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert. Common sense says you don’t let those who suffer from mental illness buy guns.

In June of last year, the NRA fought to make sure people on the no-fly list can buy guns. They aren’t allowed to get on a plane; they’re allowed to own a very dangerous gun. Who thinks that makes sense?! Them, I guess, the people who voted with the NRA. Maybe I’m nuts, but I would like to think we could put politics aside and agree that no American citizen needs an M-16 or 10 of them. And maybe that way, we don’t do this again. And that seems very reasonable to me.

You know, in 1980 we had a big fire at the MGM in Las Vegas. It was horrible, 85 people died, you could see the fire. I was 13 years old, I’ll never forget it. A man jumped out the window, it was a terrible thing to see. Then a few months later there was another fire at the Hilton and five people died. So you know what they did? They changed the laws. They made major changes to the fire safety codes and it hasn’t happened again. Why would we approach this differently? It’s a public safety issue, and something needs to be done already.

“Tell your congress people to do something”

So tell your congress people to do something. It’s not enough to send your love and prayers. We do, we send our love and support and whatever else is needed to Las Vegas, and to the families from all over the country and Canada who had the worst night of their lives last night.

Vegas is a funny town, it’s easy to forget people live there, but they do. Lots of good people. These people showed in droves today to donate blood, because it’s the only thing they could do, and so they did it. But there is more that we could do, and we need to do it.

“Don’t forget them”

Thank God for the police in Las Vegas, who risked their lives trying to locate the man with the gun. Thank God for the doctors and nurses and firefighters and paramedics who rose to the occasion, as they always seem to do when we need them to. And the concertgoers themselves who helped each other, who threw their bodies on top of each other, who drove their private cars full of people who were bleeding to the hospital. Don’t forget them.

“…don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico…”

And don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico, either. Just because they’re not the lead story today, they still need help. And if you want to help either one a good way to do that is to give to the American Red Cross … and we send all our love to our family and friends in Las Vegas and everyone affected by this terrible event.

I’m sorry for getting emotional, I’m not great with this kind of thing. But I just think it’s important, you know?

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Google tools provide updated information to locate earthquake victims and property destroyed in Mexico

 

Google has created a map that shows where the destroyed and heavily damaged buildings are located in Mexico City after Tuesday’s earthquake. It is constantly being updated.

 

Google has also created a locator site. Visitors can share who they are looking for or information they may have about a victim or survivor of the earthquake.

Google Locator

Google-localizer

 

 

How journalists should cover Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15

Hispanic_Heritage

Courtesy: Mansfield ISD

Hispanic Heritage Month starts today, September 15 and runs until October 15. It celebrates Hispanics in the U.S. It recognizes not only the Latino culture and history but also our contributions.

Background

Congress started Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, and it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration coincides with the national independence days of several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrate on September 15. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Belize on Sept. 21.

Topics to cover on Hispanic Heritage Month

OK for the record, Hispanic Heritage Month IS NOT about margaritas and tacos. Don’t be cliché.

Hispanic Heritage Month is about shining a light on good people and projects that profile the Latino community. Do more than one story. Produce a series of profiles or stories that run every other day or week. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hispanic entrepreneurs
  • Studies being done on the Latino c ommunity by a local university or hospital.
  • Hispanic philanthropists
  • Latino community projects that are aimed helping children, immigrants and the community as a whole.
  • The rise of bilingual schools and immersion schools. Who is learning Spanish as adults and children and why?
  • The story behind the leader: profile Latino community, church and political leaders. What in their background made them the person they are today?
  • Latino artists
  • Hispanic educators
  • The economy and Hispanic spending power
  • Political power and the Latino vote

Turn to resources to give you ideas

If the suggestions I have given you still don’t spark an idea for a few stories for Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some resources that can help:

Huffington Post Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month – Library of resources and topics

Facts about U.S. Latinos about Hispanic Heritage Month

Fun facts about Hispanic Heritage Month

Remember as Latinos we want to see our stories all year long. Recognize this important month but don’t stop telling our stories when Hispanic Heritage Month is over.

Apply today for Journalism fellowships in Science, Travel, Environment, and Genetics

Here are three fellowships that can help you pursue a project that you feel needs to be published. The University of Virginia is offering a$7,500 fellowship for stories that look into genetics and behavior.

Travel to three different countries and write global issues. The Fulbright-National Geographic fellowship could be your ticket to the world.

If your goal is to research a science or environmental story, the Alice Patterson Fellowship may have the funds you need to get that project done.

GENETIC AND BEHAVIOR JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIPS
Deadline: Sept. 15, 2017

The Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia is offering five $7,500 Genetics and Behavior Journalism Fellowships for early and mid-career journalists. The fellowship supports ambitious, long-form stories on the broad theme of genetics and behavior. The fellowship was established by Eric Turkheimer, Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia, and Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch and Maxwell M. Geffen Professor of Medical and Scientific Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. For more application and more information: Fellowship

THE FULBRIGHT-NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STORYTELLING FELLOWSHIP 
Deadline: October 6, 2017

The Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, a part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to take part in an academic year of overseas travel and storytelling in one, two, or three countries on a globally significant theme. This Fellowship is possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society. Storytellers publish stories on the Fulbright-National Geographic Stories blog.

Application at Fulbright-National Geographic

THE ALICIA PATTERSON FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: October 1, 2017
Area of expertise: Fellow specializing in either science or environmental journalism

The Alicia Patterson Foundation will give support for journalists engaged in rigorous, probing, spirited, independent and skeptical work that will benefit the public. The foundation will support journalism and will foster a community of journalists engaged in truthfully informing the public.
Visit AliciaPatterson.org for more information.

Follow this to link to application

Good luck!

Good tips on what you can take away from the James Comey hearing

Comey_CSpan_500jpg

Screenshot: C-SPAN3

My father taught me at an early age to write down everything: the good, bad and ugly. As I watched James Comey testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I realized the former FBI director was teaching us the importance of documentation on the job. Good notes can never hurt. These are tips I share with everyone I mentor:

  • Keep notes when a manager pulls you in the office for “a talk”. Take notes during the meeting or immediately afterwards. Write down what you talked about, who was present, date and time.
  • Good documentation should include a follow-up email to the manager “Review what we talked about today.” Always follow up with an email.
  • Keep detailed notes on any observation you make at work especially if does not seem right or a coworker is the target: Date, time, witnesses etc.
  • Documentation will come in handy for your annual evaluation. Some managers tend to forget the good but over emphasize the bad.

The rest of the tips at LinkedIn: Take Away 

President Trump will visit Western Wall in Jerusalem, but Prime Minister Netanyahu can’t come along

 

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The Western Wall: Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

When you visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, you can see up close why it is considered the holiest place for prayer by the Jewish people. I was there last week during a journalism fellowship with Fuenta Latina, a nonprofit that educates reporters about Israel today.

Every year, millions of Jews from all over the world visit the wall to pray. Tourists who are non-Jews also visit the wall to pay their respects. Men and women pray in separate sections. 

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Men and women pray separately at the Western Wall/Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Next week when President Donald Trump goes to Israel he will make a stop at the Western Wall. He will be the first U.S. sitting President to do so. Other presidents have visited the sacred wall but as private citizens.

People in Jerusalem I talked to are curious to learn more about the billionaire turn reality star turn U.S. President.  From hotel clerks to taxi drivers they told me they look forward to Trump’s visit to Israel. but wonder if he will create more chaos than peace. 

Trump is already getting bad press in Israel because it appears he has snubbed Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli TV Channel 2 is reporting that Trump’s delegation has not only turned down Netanyahu’s request to go with Trump to the wall but also someone from the delegation insulted Israeli officials claiming the wall was not Israeli Territory.

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Each year a millions of Jews visit the Western Wall/ photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Tuesday National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster at a White House briefing confirmed “No Israeli leaders will join President Trump at the Western Wall.” McMaster would not confirm or deny whether Trump believed the Western Wall was not Israeli territory when asked by reporters.  

The wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.  Israelis seized the Western Wall in the Old City from the Jordanians, along with East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and it is not officially recognized internationally as Israeli territory.

Rebecca Aguilar is an award-winning freelance reporter with 35 years experience. She was part of the May 2017 Fuenta Latina Fellowship to Israel.

 

 

 

 

USA Today takes down tweet comparing United Passenger to Rosa Parks after backlash

The USA Today tweet got my attention. It read “Is United Airlines passenger Dr. Dao an “Asian version of Rosa Parks?”

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As a reporter, I knew they were quoting someone who made that statement.  My relatives who are not journalists thought USA Today was making the comparison between Dr. Dao and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

It appears they were not the only ones, because USA Today immediately faced backlash on Twitter.  One tweet read “Point out the lady or gentleman who gave the thumbs up on this article.” Another tweet posted “Congratulations, this by far, the most ignorant headline of the week.”

Tweet_USAToday1

Tweet_USAToday5

USA TODAY HEADLINE TOLD THE STORY, TWEET WAS UNCLEAR

The USA TODAY headline on its website read “United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing client to Rosa Parks.”  Now that should have been the tweet. 

Tweet_USAToday7

USA Today chose not to use the same headline that was on their website, a decision that does not make sense. It could have been shortened, made the story crystal clear and avoided criticism.

AVOID WHAT MAY APPEAR TO BE CLICK-BAIT TWEETS

Today we want everyone to click into our stories because competition is tough. And I know that writing interesting and sometimes bizarre headlines can attract readers.

Let us not forget that many people make up their minds and quickly over one tweet without ever clicking into the story.  That’s why it is important to be clear and informative in 140 characters.

A reader will give you one chance and you can blow it in one tweet.

USA Today corrected its mistake. As I was writing this blog, I noticed it took down the original tweet and replaced it with a new tweet that makes more sense ” United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing his client to Rosa Parks:”

tweet_USAToday8

As I say over and over “Think before you tweet.”

The United Airlines PR nightmare that could have been avoided

UnitedAirlines

United Airlines has made a lot of mistakes and now it finds itself in a big PR nightmare. The proof ended up on a video that went viral and passengers left in shock.

HOW IT STARTED

United had an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday. Why do airlines oversell flights?

United needed four seats for four employees who were flying on standby. How come they get priority over passengers who already dished out money for a ticket?

United offered up to 800 dollars in travel vouchers to passengers if someone would give up their seat. No takers. Why didn’t the airline offer more money? Everyone has a price.

United decided to randomly pick passengers off the flight when no one gave up their seat. Three passengers were apparently fine with it but one man was not.  He said he was a doctor who insisted he had to go home.  How did the airline randomly pick passengers?

When the man would not leave, the airline called in airport officers who forcibly dragged the man out of his seat. It was a violent scene. The passenger hit his face on an arm rest and started bleeding. Why were the officers rough with him?

While some passengers were recording video on their phones, others were left in shock and in tears. Who is going to help the passengers now dealing with their own trauma?

Audra Bridges caught everything on video.

UNITED’S CEO RELEASES STATEMENT THAT MADE THINGS WORSE

Problems continued when United’s CEO Oscar Munoz came out with a statement that sounded like a pity party for the airline. He called the situation an “upsetting event” for United.  Did he hear the passenger’s outcry as they dragged the man down the aisle? Did he see the passenger’s bloody face? Now that’s upsetting.

The CEO apologized for “having to re-accommodate”  customers.”  Dragging a man in an airplane is the CEO’s version of re-accommodate?

United_Response,

CNN reported Monday that one of the officers has been placed on suspension. Why weren’t all the officers put on leave?

United’s CEO says the matter is being reviewed. Too late, the damage is done.

My advice to CEO Oscar Munoz is get a better PR team and find the doctor, apologize in person and offer him and his family flights for LIFE.

It’s a start.

Sources: New York Times, CNBC,

 

Dallas Mega Marchers show commitment to unity and push for immigration reform

DPD-MegaMarchA

Photo courtesy: DPD

The Dallas Mega March did not draw the 100-thousand people that organizers expected, but the ones who did show up were just as passionate as the ones in 2006. That’s when 500,000 marchers took to the streets of Dallas.

RA_megaMarch1A

Photos by Rebecca Aguilar 

Ashley of Sherman, Texas was at the rally in front of Dallas City Hall with a sign that read “Got White Privilege?” She thought it was important to take her little boy to the Mega March on Sunday, because she said it was history.

Thousands at the rally waved signs, some read “Will trade racists for refugees” and “Keep hope alive.” Dallas police estimated around 32-hundred people marched on Sunday.

I did a Facebook Live while I was there and walked through the crowd. People of different backgrounds, ages, and religions were there to show their support.

Three reasons why you should go the Dallas Mega March 2017

megamarch_2017Who is going to the Dallas Mega March 2017 tomorrow? I’ll be there. I reported on the last Mega March in March 2006. More than 500,000 people showed up to march.

Here are my three reasons why you should be this march:

1) For journalists and student journalists you know it’s a story.
2) If you care about immigration and unity you should be there.
3) If you’ve never experienced being in a march, go and be inspired by people who believe in a cause. Take your kids. My parents took us to marches and protests when we were children. I think those experiences as a child made me the strong, outspoken woman I am today.

The march starts at 2 p.m. in front of the Guadalupe Cathedral at 2215 Ross Avenue. Go early to find parking or take DART and walk over or arrange a ride to drop you off near the cathedral and pick you up at City Hall where the march will end.

If you plan to go wear sneakers and comfortable clothing. March organizers want you to wear red, white and blue t-shirts and bring an American flag. A backpack comes in handy for water, snacks, phone, sun block and a camera if you take one. Keep hydrated but remember finding a bathroom or port-a-potty may be a challenge. Good luck!

Go to the Mega March website for more information and the list of speakers.  Please share.  See you there!

https://www.megamarch2017.com/

“Dropping the Mic” a tell-all book about the toxic side of local TV News

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Photo courtesy: Joangel Concepcion 

Joangel Concepcion had big dreams of living a very successful life as a television reporter after she graduated from Temple University.  Fast forward to today and she is an author with her first book “Dropping the Mic.” 

In the tell-all book, Joangel talks about making sacrifices, dealing with toxic people in and outside of local television newsrooms and the emotional journey along the way.  She is brutally honest about pit stops in TV markets in Brownsville/McAllen, Rochester and Dallas. She has changed the names of some of her former coworkers in the book, because her goal was to share her experiences not to “out” people.

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Joangel in Rochester

“Dropping the Mic” opens your eyes to what life in television news can be if you land in the wrong place or if the newsroom is not the right fit for you. Joangel walked away from journalism after four and a half years into her career. Her experiences are a wake up call that changes are needed inside TV newsrooms around the country or we’ will continue to lose good people.

Full disclosure, I contacted Joangel in 2014 when I learned she took a job at the same television station where I had once worked in Dallas. We immediately became friends and I was honored that she asked me to read a draft of her book. I am mentioned in it.

Joangel is funny, smart and she was a very good reporter. I am saddened that we lost another woman and Latina in TV news.  I hope her book will inspire those getting into the business to keep their eyes wide open and be prepared for a roller coaster ride in television news.

You can pre-order Dropping the Mic from Amazon. It officially comes out on March 31.

 

 

 

 

Jon Stewart to the press: Stop whining, get your groove back and kick him to the curb

There’s nothing like getting a reality check from Jon Stewart. The former host of The Daily Show popped up from under the desk Monday night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

And as usual he didn’t hold back. This time he zeroed in on Donald Trump and the press. Roll the video…

CNN, NY Times, LA Times, Politico and BuzzFeed News blocked from White House Briefing

Donald Trump is abusing his power again.

Trump staff blocked CNN, New York Times, LA Times, BuzzFeed News and Politico from White House briefing today. These news outlets have been breaking big stories involving the President and he doesn’t like it.

According to the New York Times reporters from the Associated Press and Time magazine who were allowed into the briefing but decided not to attend in protest. The off-camera briefing took place in Sean Spicer’s office.

Fox News anchor Brett Baier also gave his opinion on Twitter. He recalled when Obama administration attacked and attempted to ban Fox News from briefings. Guess who stood up for them?

 

Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary talked to CNN about the press being banned  “Press secretaries should meet with all press because it is unwise and counterproductive to do. Your relationship and obligation is to all media.” Fleischer believes the block was not a threat to the First Amendment.

STAND TOGETHER PRESS 

We should be speaking up as journalists and go straight to them on Twitter: Trump, Spicer and Preibus. Also journalism organizations should be very vocal on this issue and stop this from happening again.

We have a job to do, and should not be bullied, intimidated or blocked from getting to the truth.

#NotTheEnemy

Fort Worth Star-Telegram wants to improve trust in journalism and reaches out to readers for help

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The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is doing something every news outlet should be doing today. The newspaper is reaching out to readers via a survey to get their advice and gain their trust again.

“Your participation will help your local journalists and the journalism industry serve you better. With that in mind, would you be willing to meet with one of our journalists for one hour, at a place and time convenient for you, to discuss this further?” – FW Star-Telegram

We’ve all seen the studies that show that the majority of the public does not trust the press and it doesn’t help that President Trump calls us “fake news.” The Star-Telegram is making the right move. Check out the survey.

Today we need to know what readers, viewers, and listeners want and not what we believe they want.

 

 

A fallen soldier comes home and the emotional moment his wife put her hand on his coffin

Lisa West Williams was on a flight home with Shawn Thomas. Passengers were asked to wait as the Green Beret’s flag-draped coffin was taken out of the airplane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Williams caught the rest on video including Thomas’ widow in an emotional moment.

Williams posted the video on her Facebook page “It was an honor to fly home with this PATRIOT! God bless his wife and family. There was not a dry eye around me.”

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Thank you to all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and their families too. You can’t help but cry for this woman and her family.

More on Shawn Thomas death and service to country at Yahoo News.a

Grieving Army Widow Meets Her Husband’s Coffin on Airport Tarmac, Leaving Plane Passengers in Tears 

2017 Journalism Fellowships: Politics, Education, Media, World Issues, Public Service, Environment, and Investigative

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Open a door to a new experience with a journalism fellowship. Free education in most cases. Here is a list of 16 journalism fellowships that give you an experience in everything from politics and media to immigration issues. Check these out and also share them.

Good luck!

American Press Institute Fellowship
Deadline January 16, 2017

The American Press Institute offers a paid summer fellowship for college students or recent graduates to conduct research and publish insights that advance innovation and sustainability in journalism. Application

Jefferson Fellowships
Deadline Jan. 26, 2017

The Jefferson Fellowships offer print and broadcast journalists from the United States, Asia and the Pacific Islands the unique opportunity to gain on-the-ground perspectives and build international networks to enhance their reporting through an intensive one-week education and dialogue seminar at the East-West Center in Honolulu followed by two weeks of study tour travel in the Asia Pacific-U.S. region.>>Application

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Deadline January 27, 2017

This is a reporting fellowship.  O’Brien Fellows will return to their newsrooms after an academic year with a world-class project and a paid Marquette student intern for summer 2017.>>Application

Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovation
Deadline: January 31, 2017

The Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellowship in Journalism Innovation brings individuals to Harvard University to work on a specific course of research or a specific project relating to journalism innovation. The fellowship is a collaboration between the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. For more information > Nieman ‘How to Apply’

The Thomson Reuters Foundation Fellowship
Deadline January 31, 2017

The Thomson Reuters Foundation Fellowship offers an opportunity for experienced journalists wishing to undertake research projects on a variety of subjects. Application

Hearst Journalism Fellowship
Deadline: Friday of the second full week in January (according to website)

The Fellowship is a two-year program focusing on multimedia journalism. It consists of two 12-month rotations at Hearst’s top metro papers. More: Application Instructions

The Spencer Fellowship for Education
Deadline February 1, 2017

The Spencer Fellowship for Education Reporting is open to journalists, educators and education policy researchers who want to develop an ambitious, long-form journalism project to advance the understanding of education. Four fellows will be selected for this highly competitive program, which combines coursework in residence at Columbia Journalism School and Teachers College, and hands-on advising from education writing experts. Application

Joan Shorenstein Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 1, 2017

The mission of the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship Program is to advance research in the field of media, politics and public policy; facilitate a dialogue among journalists, scholars, policymakers and students; provide an opportunity for reflection; and create a vibrant and long-lasting community of scholars and practitioners. Must be a full-time journalist, politician, scholar or policymaker currently active in the field. Application

Knight-Wallace Fellowships
Deadline February 1, 2017

A Knight-Wallace Fellowship recognizes exceptional journalists for their work, leadership and potential with a unique opportunity: an academic year of study, developing new perspectives and networks, and achieving both professional and personal growth at the University of Michigan, one of the world’s finest universities. Application

MetCalf Institute Fellowship for Marine and Environmental Reporting
Deadline February 6, 2017

Journalists from all media who want to improve their skills in environmental reporting can apply for a weeklong workshop in Rhode Island. The Metcalf Institute is accepting applications for the Annual Science Immersion Workshop for journalists. The workshop will take place at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography on June 4 to 9, 2017. Application

Fund for Investigative Journalism
Deadline Feb. 6, 2017

The Fund encourages proposals written for ethnic media and submitted by journalists of color. Grants average $5,000 and cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends Application

Sylvia Rowe Fellowship
Deadline February 8, 2017

Good for Graduate students interested in nutrition and journalism. IFIC Foundation now accepting applications for 2017 Sylvia Rowe Fellowship for Nutrition, Food Safety Communicators. Application

The Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 13, 2017

Working journalists with less than 10 years of professional experience in print or online journalism are eligible to apply for the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program. Applicants propose a one-year writing project on a topic of their choosing, focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In addition, the program awards separate fellowships on the environment, on free enterprise and on law enforcement. Application

Loyola Law School Fellowships for Journalists
Deadline Feb. 15, 2017

Loyola Law School is offering 35 professional journalists fellowships. The challenge of reporting on the legal system without a law degree is daunting. To help support journalists who cover the courts on national, regional or local levels, the Civil Justice Program at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has developed the journalist law program consisting of a four-day intensive seminar on the legal system. Lectures, lodging and most meals are covered by the program. Application 

IRE Freelance Fellowship
Deadline April 3, 2017

Awards of $1,000 or more are available to assist in conducting investigative projects. Application

IRE Diversity Fellowship
Deadline April 23, 2017

These fellowships are aimed at increasing the diversity of IRE’s membership.
Application

Stop using term ‘White Hispanic’ we come in different shades, enough said

Let’s stop the use of the term “White Hispanic” especially if you are a journalist.  We as Hispanics do not use that label. We come in different shades but that’s about it.

On the day of the deadly shooting in Fort Lauderdale, Tariq Nasheed went on Twitter and used the term “White Hispanic” to describe the suspect. The self-proclaimed “Anti-racism strategist” tweeted:

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Yes, I heard the term used during the George Zimmerman case, but again that does not make the term acceptable including in news report or social media posts.

People on Twitter slapped Nasheed with harsh criticism for using that term. He found no problem using “White Hispanic” because the government uses it.

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Nasheed has yet to respond to my tweets. I’m waiting.

Take it from me, as a person who has been a Hispanic for more than 50 years. We don’t use that term and we don’t divide our people. And as veteran journalist, we know better as reporters not to use government terms when telling a story.

Learn from Tariq Nasheed’s mistake.

Hispanics are Hispanics.

2016’s Best National TV Journalists: Jake Tapper, Gretchen Carlson, Tom Llamas, Jim Acosta

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Brave, bold, fearless and fair is how I would describe the four national TV news anchors and correspondents I have chosen as my best for 2016. As journalists we should all want to model after the work done by Jake Tapper, Gretchen Carlson, Tom Llamas and Jim Acosta. In a business that is challenged by fake news and “wannabe news celebrities” these four journalists are the real “truth seekers.”

 

JAKE TAPPER: THE BEST TV NEWS INTERVIEWER, SPIN NOT ALLOWED

If you want to learn how to be a great interviewer, all you have to do is watch Jake Tapper every day on CNN.

He uses solid facts to push for the truth and doesn’t allow anyone to add spin to an answer. Whether he is talking to a politician or someone who happens to be where news is breaking, Jake digs deep and peels off the layers.

Thanks Jake for teaching journalists how to do an interview with determination and class.

 

 

GRETCHEN CARLSON: THE WOMAN WHO EXPOSED SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN TV NEWS 

Gretchen Carlson changed life for women in TV news.

In 2016, she exposed sexual harassment in the newsroom and on the way took down one of the most powerful men in the business AKA Roger Ailes. He had all the power to do what he wanted when he ran Fox News and he did just that. Under his rule, women had to be beautiful, wear body hugging dresses, shorten the hems and show lots of leg when on-air.

 

But when Ailes’ power turned to sexual harassment, Gretchen skillfully planned how to expose him. She filed a lawsuit. Her former co-workers at Fox News, including several women turned on her. Shame on them! Not even current Fox princess, Meygan Kelly had the courage to speak up until she had to especially when it was time to promote her book.

 

Eventually Ailes was shown the door with a 40 million dollar paycheck, and Gretchen settled too. Thank you Gretchen for giving women in news the courage to stand up, speak up in our newsrooms even if it means losing a job. We do matter more!

 

 

TAKING CHARGE ON THE DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN TRAIL:  JIM ACOSTA AND TOM LLAMAS 

Jim Acosta of CNN and Tom Llamas of ABC News lived out of suitcases during the 2016 presidential campaign covering Donald Trump’s every move. They were unstoppable as they pursued the facts even when Trump and his supporters aimed their angry, ugly words and actions at them.

 

To become a good reporter you have to be fearless when seeking the truth.  Well Jim and Tom proved they don’t get angry or even, they just get the job done.

 

 

Jim and Tom are also two of the few Latinos covering the political beat on a national level. They are role models to many Latino/Latina journalists coming up the ranks.

 

Tom and Jim thank you for showing us journalists to push forward when a wall of angry words hit you right in the face from all angles.

 

 

Who will be the best in 2017? Stay tuned.

How TV journalists were played by Trump and failed journalism and the public

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TV journalists meet with Trump

A good journalist does not allow anyone to set the ground rules for an interview or meeting. And we do our best to avoid “off-the-record” conversations.

Our job as reporters is to get the facts and share them with the public. You can’t do that if you agree to go “off-the-record” which means you can’t share anything you talked about during that discussion.

TRUMP HAD HIS WAY WITH TV JOURNALISTS

On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump had his way with some of the best TV journalists and their bosses. They were suckered into a meeting where they became his punching bags.

I watched on a live feed as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett,  NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’s Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos arrived to Trump Tower. According to the New York Post the meeting turned into a Trump tirade. He was finally facing the people he called “scum and liars” on the campaign trail. He took the opportunity on his turf to let them know what he thought of them and according to sources it was ugly.

I am disappointed they agreed to have an “off-the-record” meeting with the President-elect.  What were they thinking? What happened to digging for the truth, standing up for journalism, and not taking his abuse anymore. 

All these high-profile TV news anchors, reporters and managers missed a big opportunity to stand together as journalists and tell Mr. Trump that we won’t be humiliated, berated, intimidated, or bullied for doing our jobs. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe one of the TV anchors or reporters was brave enough to speak up for journalists in that meeting, but I guess we’ll never know since it was “off the record.”

Donald Trump played the media. Here’s hoping those high-profile TV news anchors and reporters don’t get suckered by him again in the future.

MORE ON TV JOURNALISTS AND TRUMP

Here’s a video worth watching.

Washington Post media columnists Erik Wemple and Margaret Sullivan talk about the meeting between the TV journalists and Trump, and how the broadcasters and their bosses should have known better.

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/cd8a7f32-b0da-11e6-bc2d-19b3d759cfe7

Update: President of the Latin Grammy Awards addresses issue of press told not to ask winners any political questions

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Gabriel Abaroa the president and CEO of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences told reporters that presenters, nominees and winners were never discouraged to talk about their political stand at the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday.

But the same didn’t go for the media.

Gaby Natale the creator and host of SuperLatina was covering the event. She posted on Facebook that Grammy organizers told the press not to ask the celebrities any questions about politics.

After the awards, she and other entertainment reporters wanted answers from the president of the Academy.

He said the nominees and presenters always do what they want when they perform, say what they want during their acceptance speeches and that type of  freedom has never changed. Albaroa admitted he was concerned the Latin Grammys would be perceived as political that could have financial ramifications.

Here’s Gaby’s video:

I’ve translated some of Abaroas statements:

(:30) “We try to concentrate on the music and what happened today. And if you believe the Academy should take a position politically over a topic, we’ll think about it, consult about it, and talk about….”

(1:39) “We did not talk with any artist or told them what they should or shouldn’t say during their acceptance (speech). We’ve never done that and never will”

(2:32) “If we establish ourselves as a political platform, we can do it in the country that we live in… but remember we are international. ”

(3:07) “When we are here (press room) we are trying to help them focus on the music and the awards…”

MY OPINION

Whether covering a political race or a red carpet event, as reporters we should never be told how to do our job. Thank you Gaby Natale for speaking up on this issue.

 

 

Media told not to ask questions about politics at Latin Grammy Awards

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Gaby Natale -SuperLatina

Latinos may have been the big voting block in the 2016 Presidential elections but apparently the folks at the Latin Grammy Awards didn’t want the media to ask any questions about politics to the winners or nominees.

SuperLatina Gaby Natale who is covering the Latin Grammy Awards tonight posted the following on Facebook:

EN SHOCK. En la sala de prensa @latingrammy nos pidieron a todos los miembros de medios de comunicación q no hagamos preguntas de politica. Que error buscar silenciar temas que importan tanto #latingrammy
IN SHOCK In the #LatinGrammy press room they have just asked all members of the media NOT to ask questions related to politics. What a mistake to silence the topics that are so important for Latinos right now.

The media should not be silenced. We have the right to ask anyone including celebrities questions about any topic. And guess what? Everyone has an opinion on the recent election of President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s loss.

Here’s hoping someone in the press let the nominees and winners know they have been told not to do their jobs, ask the questions they want about politics. Here’s to hoping the celebrities, entertainers, and Latin Grammy nominees and winners speak out and complain too.

Stand up for the media. We have to do our jobs even at the Latin Grammy Awards. 

Gwen Ifill taught me not to be afraid to ask the tough questions

 

I am shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Gwen Ifill.

As a well-respected journalist, Gwen broke barriers for many women of color including myself.

The picture I share is one of the highlights during my time as a student at Walter Cronkite School in Arizona State University.

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This was in 2013. Gwen was a guest speaker at a school event.

Her topic was on diversity and inclusion in the news. Here’s the event video from that day.

 

Gwen Ifill: “Diversity and Inclusion in the News” from Cronkite School on Vimeo.

 

Before her appearance, Gwen wanted to meet with groups such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). When I heard she was coming, I knew I had to attend.

During the meeting, she answered our questions, talked about her journey, gave us some great tips and about having more diversity in the newsroom.

Gwen was a class act. She was kind enough to take photos with everyone that day. She took her time to talk to all of us about any questions we had.

To me, she was one of the nicest people I have ever met.

LESSONS FROM GWEN

As a woman of color, Gwen taught me not be afraid to ask the tough questions. She was also not afraid to be her unapologetic self in the society where women, especially Black and Latina women, are undermined and ignored in their contributions .

Even with her success, I loved how she was still humble and down to earth. She never forgot her New York roots.

While she may no longer be with us, her spirit lives on through our interventions in creating more stories about us in a medium that still undermines our contributions in journalism.

Stephanie Guzman is a  digital producer at KMTV, the CBS affiliate in Omaha, NE. She’s also a 2015 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communications at Arizona State University, and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. 

Remembering Gwen Ifill, a fair and fearless journalist

I admire good journalists. I admired Gwen Ifill for everything she had accomplished in the world of journalism. I met her once at a journalism conference. She was surrounded by many journalists, all of them fans of hers.  When I heard of her passing on Monday, I remembered three of my favorite Gwen quotes.  Rest in peace Gwen.

 

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Moving forward as a divided country; now what President-elect Donald Trump?

ra_trump We start our day with President-elect Donald Trump. For those who supported him. Congratulations. For those who did not, wipe off those tears and remember your rights as Americans still exist.

But this is now a very divided country. We know that. It will be Trump’s job to figure out a way to bring all Americans together. As people of color there is a fear. Do we regress to what we had in the 1950’s or will Donald Trump figure out a way to unite us?

As women we also have our fears. Do we lose our rights to stand on an equal platform or do men feel a win for Trump means a pass to grope us when they want?  Yes, that’s a valid concern after hearing the Access Hollywood tape.

LET FEAR FUEL YOUR PASSION TO DO THE RIGHT THING 

But now is not the time to allow fear to hold you back. Use that fear to fuel your passion to do what is right for this country. One man, one political party, one election does not take away our voice, our strength, our power as Americans.

It hasn’t been easy for journalists either, but we still have a job to do. Learn from the journalists who covered the Trump campaign. Often they endured verbal attacks from Trump and his supporters but kept pushing forward, seeking the facts. We need to continue asking the tough questions of our President-elect as we have done with past individuals voted into office.

Donald Trump has four years to prove himself  and keep those promises he made to his supporters.  The clock starts now.

Leave the props at home, how handcuffs didn’t work for WFMY-TV

In the world of TV news, producers are always trying to come up with creative ways to keep the audience interested. Someone at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC thought talking about the polls, and having the news anchor hold a pair of handcuffs would be a great idea.

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Screenshot: WFMY-TV 

Well today WFMY-TV continues to feel the backlash of that creative moment that didn’t sit well with Hillary Clinton supporters.

As FTV Live  reported Morgan Hightower was reading a story on the political race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when she grabbed a pair of handcuffs. As she starts talking about Clinton, the viewer suddenly saw a tight shot of those cuffs.

The news anchor Morgan Hightower explained it like this on Facebook.

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Station management also had a response: 

“Last week, our newscast aired a brief story on the deadlock closeness of the Presidential polls in North Carolina using handcuffs as a prop. We commonly use props and visual comparisons in storytelling. In response to a Huffington Post article about our report, it appears social media has separated the words of our story from our pictures and the storytelling intent.

Our story was not about – and made no reference to – any investigation, criminality or possible prosecution of either Presidential candidate. It was a story about the neck and neck closeness of the candidates in current polling – the prop meant to denote the discomfort of these bitter rivals locked side by side in the polls. We should have better explained, more so, used a better prop. We regret the confusion. “

 

DUMP THE PROPS, REPORT THE NEWS

 

Our job is to report the news, not to be actors and actresses with props. In the race to be creative, don’t get lost in doing something that can backfire.

If you’re a producer, anchor or reporter run your idea by several people before you go live. Get feedback from different people.

If I was in that planning meeting I would have said “It’s not going to work. Haven’t you heard Trump supporters chant ‘lock her up?'”

The WFMY segment was an epic fail but the rest of us can learn from it.

Leave the props at home.

 

Who is using what social media in 2016

Social media is part of our lives and for many of us it is part of lives at work. Can you afford not to be on social media?

These 2016 infographics by Global Media Insight  give you an update on who is using what, which platform rules, and how males and females have their favorites. It is smart to be on one or many social media platforms if you run your own business, operate a nonprofit or want to build your personal brand and reputation. Check out these statistics.

FACEBOOK

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TWITTER

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INSTAGRAM

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YOUTUBE

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LINKEDIN

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GOOGLE+

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Now after looking at all the people using social media can you afford not to be on one or all of these platforms?

Visit globalmediainsight.com for more information on other social media networks.

 

A win for journalism, North Dakota judge throws out ‘riot’ charge against Amy Goodman

amygoodmanA win for journalism and freedom of the press today in North Dakota!

A ‘riot’ charge has been dropped against veteran journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! The State’s attorney’s office hit Goodman with that charge on Friday after dropping trespassing charges for her coverage of the thousands of Native American’s protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Today, the North Dakota District judge found no validity in the charge. Goodman said on DemocracyNow.org “This is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline.”

Democracy Now! plans to continue covering the story. Read more at Democracy Now! 

IN MY OPINION

Freedom of the press is alive and well thanks to North Dakota District Judge John Grinsteiner who made the right decision, but State’s Attorney Ladd R Erickson needs to learn you cannot abuse your legal power to silence the media when we seek the truth.

Thanks for your coverage and bravery Amy Goodman.

Stand in support of journalist Amy Goodman who will turn herself in to North Dakota authorities

amygoodmanCovering protests is part of the job for any journalist. And that is what Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was doing over Labor Day weekend. On Monday she will turn herself into authorities in North Dakota where she is wanted on riot charges. Prosecutors dropped the criminal trespassing charge on Friday.

Democracy Now! has been one of the few news outlets that has been covering the protests going on for months by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s more from Goodman on going back to face charges.

As The Nation has reported:

The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is slated to carry barrel after barrel of Bakken crude through sacred sites and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and tribe members fear it could pollute the Missouri River, the source not only of their water but of millions of others’, should the pipe ever rupture.

AMY GOODMAN ON THE FRONTLINES

Again Goodman was doing her job. Now prosecutors in North Dakota are abusing their legal power. These intimidation ploys are their way to silence the media.

I agree with Amy Goodman that actions against her are an attack against the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the public’s right to the truth.

Watch Goodman’s coverage. She identified herself as a journalist and did nothing wrong but follow the protest.

SUPPORT AMY GOODMAN

I stand with Amy Goodman. I hope journalism organizations will show their support. I’m a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Today it is Amy Goodman facing jail time for doing her job in covering a protest. Who will be the next reporter facing charges for covering the news?

Amy, I got your back!

Jesse Watters thought viewers would laugh at his racist Fox News report on Chinatown, now he’s apologizing

Jesse Watters is apologizing tonight on Twitter for a report he thought was clever and funny on Fox News. But it was actually insulting, sick humor, and stereotyped people in the Chinese community.

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Jesse Watters claims he is a “political humorist” but his report in Chinatown in New York City on Monday night had little to do with politics. At one point he asked a merchant selling watches “I like these watches. Are they hot?” What does that have to do with politics?

As a journalist, I support the stand taken by the Asian-American Journalist Association (AAJA). The organization wants an apology from Fox News. Paul Cheung, the president of the organization wrote the following on the organization’s website:

It’s 2016. We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race. Sadly, Fox News proves it has a long way to go in reporting on communities of color in a respectful and fair manner.

Host Bill O’Reilly called the segment “gentle fun.” There was nothing gentle or fun about it. It was rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging.

 

WATTERS SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE TO YOUNG JOURNALISTS

I mentor many young journalists, and speak to dozens of journalism college classes every year. Watters is sending the wrong message to those who want to do TV news. His offensive reports and he has done many, send the message that it is OK to use the airwaves to humiliate and stereotype people of color and hide it all behind the excuse of “humor.”

Watters needs to apologize on the O’Reilly Factor, the same show seen by  millions of viewers when he offended the good people of Chinatown. And shame on the Fox News producers and Bill O’Reilly for allowing this racist report to air on Monday night.

No one is laughing!

Once again, you know there was probably not one Asian-American or Asian in the producer’s circle at Fox News to put up a challenge.

“Fair and balanced?” You decide.

 

Kelly Ripa returns to show says drama ‘started conversation…respect in the workplace’

RipaStrahan

Screenshot: Live! with Kelly and Michael

Live! with Kelly and Michael is the syndicated morning show millions of American’s turn to every morning. But for the past few days viewers have been caught up in the show’s drama.

Last week, Michael Strahan announced on the show that he was leaving to join Good Morning America, but his co-host Kelly Ripa had no idea. She was blindsided.

Obviously upset, Ripa decided not to show up to work until Tuesday morning. Kelly took center stage alone as the audience gave her a standing ovation and a warm welcome. I thought Strahan appeared uncomfortable.

Ripa called the drama a “bizarre time” and added “I needed a few days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company I earned the right.”

She said what happened to her “started a conversation about communication, and consideration and most importantly respect in the workplace.”

I’m sure what happened to her has happened to many of us. We feel Ripa’s pain.

Roll the video…


Bigwigs at ABC and Disney which owns the show have apologized to Ripa. But let’s face it, a blindside is a slap in the face and that sting is hard to forget.

Shame on the bosses who left her out of the loop. Shame on Strahan for not letting Ripa know he was leaving. Ripa helped him get on the show, and that’s the thanks she gets.

Even if Strahan was sworn to secrecy he could told the bosses “I need to tell my co-host and that’s all there is too it.”  He had an opportunity to man up and failed miserably.

Thanks Kelly for speaking up.

 

 

Millennial shames her generation ‘not contributing anything to society’

Alexis Bloomer accuses her generation “The Millennials” of not having any manners, being lazy, fans of obscene music that degrades women, idolizers of people like Kim Kardashian, and self entitled.

Bloomer describes herself as a journalist. I’m not sure if she’s done news but her social media shows off her numerous rodeo show interviews and many modeling photos.

Her message posted on April 22 on Facebook is powerful but not really fair to young people. I’m sure many millennials aren’t going to like it.

Roll the video.

 

Bloomer wrote on her Facebook:

Disclaimer: I know that not all of Millennials are bad, when I posted this I had just watched as a young man stepped in front of a limping elderly man and didn’t hold the door open for him, it made me think…This video was not intended to offend anyone, in fact, it shouldn’t offend anyone unless you’re guilty of doing any of these things. The beauty of Facebook is that you can scroll past something you don’t like. I guarantee MOST of you that liked/shared/commented on this video do not have a problem with anything I said in this video because you don’t do any of these things. Also, I had 3 guys staring in my passenger window making funny faces as I posted this…So I apologize for the distraction (I’m ADD). I hope that when you watch this, you listen to the underlying message and don’t take it as an insult.

Alexis Bloomer it took guts to post what you had to say online.  I think it will make many millennials sit back and think about it. Thanks for sharing your message.

How a Dallas woman pitched an idea and got hired by Mark Cuban

RA_PitchJob400

Is there a job you know you can do but it doesn’t seem to be out there? Maybe you have an idea for a job that you know could fill a void.

Rachel Kuhr had the right idea.

Kuhr recently told the Texas Standard  “I found that jobs that I really like don’t usually exist, so the best way to get the job you want is make it up and see if they hire you.”

The 28-year-old followed her own advice. She pitched an idea to billionaire Mark Cuban and he hired her. Listen to what Kuhr had to say to the Texas Standard.

 

 

 

Now get out there, start pitching and find that “dream job.” Good luck!

MORE ON RACHEL KUHR

Why Rachel Khur is the innovator for Mark Cuban’s Shark Tank startups – Dallas Morning News

 

 

World Water Day: The Water Crisis is Threatening your Life

photo courtesy: Thrive for Water

photo courtesy: Water To Thrive

We can’t survive without water. And while it’s easy for most of us to run to the faucet to fill a glass with water to quench our thirst, that is not the case in many parts of the world.  The United Nations reports that by 2030 we will have a serious water shortage.

We need water to keep us hydrated. Medical experts say we can only go without drinking water for three days before it becomes critical to our health. We also need water to grow crops for our food supply.

We need water to wash our clothes, for bathing and sanitation. Imagine having to ration water or not having access to a toilet because of the lack of running water.

The water crisis is not only happening in poor parts of the world, but also in beautiful states like California, a state hit hard by a drought in 2015.

Some countries are seeing rivers and lakes drying up. Water pollution adds to the problem.  The U.N. is giving us a warning. Watch this video and learn more.

 

 

 

On this World Water Day I share a few videos that bring the problem home. My hope is that these videos will inspire you to do something to help save the water many of us take for granted.  Watch how the water crisis could have been avoided in California.

 

 

Seventy percent of the Earth is covered in water but only one percent is fresh water.  That one percent is the water supply that 7 billion people on this Earth depend on to survive.  Here’s more on the world water crisis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Here is a list of programs and projects aimed at helping save our water supply and keeping it clean. Do your part.

Also call your local state and city officials and find out what kind of water conservation projects are going on in your communities.

Water.org

The Water Project 

Water To Thrive

 

 

 

Double check photos: TV station used wrong photo in story of death of Frank Sinatra Jr.

Slow down and triple check any image or photo you plan to use on a TV newscast, especially in the death of a celebrity.  A mistake can be embarrassing.

Twitter_Sinatra

Frank Sinatra Jr. died on Wednesday. Someone at WDNU-TV in Indiana pulled up a Sinatra photo and used it as an OTS (Over-the-Shoulder) on the 11 p.m. newscast. The photo was not Sinatra Jr. but that of Joe Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live comedian who used to imitated Frank Sinatra Sr.  Oops!

HOW TO AVOID A MISTAKE

  1. Don’t be in a hurry.
  2. You’re not expected to know everyone. It’s OK to admit it and ask for help.
  3. Look for at least three reliable sources for photos.
  4. Check to see if the celebrity or family has a foundation. SinatraFamily.com
  5. If the person was an actor there is probably a photo on  IMBD .  IMBD has photo of Sinatra Jr. 
  6. Check YouTube to see if the singer/entertainer has video. Sinatra Jr. was on YouTube 
  7. Look for a fan forum or website.

We are a team in a newsroom. Everyone from the producer to the anchor should have their eyes open to catch any mistakes before they make air.

 

What was Yelp thinking? Slams former employee on Twitter

 

yelp-blog

 

When I teach social media I remind clients:

  1. Think before you tweet.
  2. A negative post will have ramifications.
  3. One tweet can make you or break you.
  4. Never get into a war of words. Someone will always lose.

Now let’s talk about Yelp, the company that lets people give their opinions on everything from bars to restaurants.

A former employee, Jaymee Senigaglia criticized Yelp because she said the company fired her after she asked for a 3-day unpaid leave to care for her boyfriend who was recovering from a serious biking accident.  In her blog “Yelp Fired A Single Mother Today: Me” Senigaglia talked about the challenges she faced at Yelp as a single mother.

Yelp prides itself on posting the opinions of people who have visited spas and coffee shops. But the company didn’t care much for Senigaglia’s opinion on her blog that went viral. Yelp fought back with a tweet that definitely broke (in my opinion) many Human Resource rules and can probably get them in legal problems.

 

Yelp

 

OK we don’t know all the details on why Yelp terminated Senigaglia.  I would think they can’t talk about it because its a Human Resource issue.  But what was Yelp thinking when it posted the tweet giving many details of Senigaglia’s work record at the company?

I am shocked this tweet was approved by HR. I am hoping someone on Yelp’s social media team tried to stop the madness and went up the food chain and said  “Hey CEO Jeremy Stoppelman do you really want us to post this? It’s very unprofessional. We need to take the high road.”

 

A BUSINESS HAS MORE TO LOSE WHEN IT GETS NASTY ON TWITTER

People on Twitter are not the type to sit back and take it or watch someone like a single mother out of a job get trampled. Yelp hurt its image and business when it decided to get even with Senigaglia. Here are only a few of the tweets in response.

 

YelpFeedback

 

ONE VIDEO STATEMENT CAN MAKE THIS RIGHT

If I was on Yelp’s media relations team I would have the CEO address this issue in a short video right away. It’s never too late to apologize to Senigaglia. I’m not saying apologize for firing her, but apologize for putting her private business out in the Twitter world. That tweet could hurt her future job prospects which means future earnings, and you know this single mom needs a paycheck to raise her child.

Something is going on at Yelp, because this is the second employee who has made her misery public about working at the company. In mid-February,  Talia Jane another Yelp employee also harshly criticized the company in her blog “An Open Letter to My CEO.” That blog went viral too and within hours Yelp fired Talia Jane.

Yelp has chosen not to respond to those who have criticized the company on Twitter. A big no-no in social media. That’s like saying “We’re not listening and we don’t care.” But Yelp should care because each person on Twitter has followers they can influence. And if they are encouraged not to support Yelp those numbers add up. Today no company can afford to lose business.

Here’s hoping Yelp makes this right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Journalism Fellowships: Health, Mental Illness, World Issues, Immigration, Science, and Investigative

RA_FellowshipsFB400

 

Journalism fellowships give you the opportunity to continue growing in journalism and in specific areas of expertise.  This is free education. I have listed 23 journalism fellowships that are offering everything from learning more on health and immigration issues to developing an investigative report. Apply today and expand your mind. Good luck!

 

Sylvia Rowe Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 5

Good for Graduate students interested in nutrition and journalism.IFIC Foundation now accepting applications for 2016 Sylvia Rowe Fellowship for Nutrition, Food Safety Communicators>> Application

 

Neiman Foundation Fellowships
Deadline to apply Jan. 31

Candidates chosen get a paid year at Harvard to explore journalism and world ideas. U.S. fellow applications due last day in January. >>Application

 

The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism
Deadline April 6, 2016

Mental illnesses constitute some of the most serious, unrecognized, and under-reported health problems in the United States and around the world. As part of an international effort to reduce stigma and discrimination, The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism provide stipends to journalists from the United States and Colombia — and previously in Romania, South Africa, and New Zealand — to report on topics related to mental health or mental illnesses.>>Application

 

Institute for Justice and  Journalism Fellowship on Immigration
Deadline Feb. 16

Journalists must propose an enterprise project on immigrant children and families for publication or broadcast. In addition to travel and accomodations, each fellow will receive a US$500 stipend upon completion of the story project.>> Application

 

Arthur F. Burnes Exchange Fellowship
Deadline March 1

Arthur F. Burns Fellowship offers an exchange program that gives media professionals from the United States, Canada and Germany an opportunity to report from and travel in each other’s countries.>> Application

 

Health Journalism Fellowships
Deadline Feb. 19

AHCJ offers several health journalism fellowships for journalists in California, Missouri, Rhode Island, and New York. Also fellowships are being offered to college journalism students and college instructors, and journalists who work in ethnic media, >>Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Residential Fellow
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed for persons inside and outside media industries who want to collaborate with RJI in the pursuit of solutions to a particular journalism problem.>> Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Non-Residential Fellow
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed for entrepreneurial individuals with a strong interest in journalism and issues related to digital communications. Your fellowship can be about something you are interested in pursuing on your own or something that could benefit a current employer.>> More information and application

 

The Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 9, 2016

Working journalists with less than 10 years of professional experience in print or online journalism are eligible to apply for the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program. Applicants propose a one-year writing project on a topic of their choosing, focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In addition, the program awards separate fellowships on the environment, on free enterprise and on law enforcement.>>Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Institutional Fellows
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed to unlock some of the thoughtful, meaningful ideas inside newsrooms, ad departments, boardrooms, break rooms, etc., that for various reasons can’t get any traction. RJI will collaborate with a leader at a company or institution who will identify an employee who can develop an idea or lead a team that could do it. The employee will be named an RJI Fellow but will continue working at his or her job.>> More information and application

 

Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme
Deadline March 1

The Journalists Fellowship Programme was first established in 1980 by the United Nations General Assembly with the aim of exposing junior and mid-level journalists from developing countries to the work of the Organization>>Application

 

Spotlight Investigative Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 29 

Investigative project proposals from experienced journalists with substantive bodies of published or produced work that have appeared in major print, broadcast, radio, or online outlets. Story leads must have a U.S. domestic focus and be of public interest. >>Application

 

UNITY 2016 Fellowship
Deadline Jan.31

UNITY Journalists for Diversity is proud to announce that it will sponsor a student fellowship for the summer of 2016. For the third consecutive year, a college student dedicated to both journalism and diversity will have the opportunity to attend four different minority media conventions in four cities. The hosts will be the Asian-American Journalists Association – AAJA (Las Vegas), the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association – NLGJA (Miami), the Native American Journalists Organization – NAJA (New Orleans), The National Association of Hispanic Journalists – NAHJ and the National Association of Black Journalists – NABJ (combined convention – Washington DC). Travel and hotel accommodations will be covered.>>Application

 

Knight Science Journalism Program
Deadline Feb. 29, 2016

The Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program supports a global community of dedicated and thoughtful journalists specializing in science, health, technology and environmental reporting. The program is designed to recognize journalists who demonstrate a high level of professional excellence and accomplishment as well as a long-term commitment to their craft. Journalists from all countries compete on an equal basis and are encouraged to apply. >>Application

 

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MLB) Logan Science/Health/Environmental Fellowships
Deadline March 1, 2016

The Logan Science Journalism Program at the MBL, founded in 1986, offers professional science journalists, writers, editors, and broadcast journalists a chance to forget about story deadlines and immerse themselves in the process of basic biomedical and environmental research. Room, board, lab fees, and U.S. travel are covered for accepted fellows.>>Application

 

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

This is a reporting fellowship.  O’Brien Fellows will return to their newsrooms after an academic year with a world-class project and a paid Marquette student intern for summer 2016.>>Application

 

Jefferson Fellowships
Deadline Jan. 29, 2016

The Jefferson Fellowships offer print and broadcast journalists from the United States, Asia and the Pacific Islands the unique opportunity to gain on-the-ground perspectives and build international networks to enhance their reporting through an intensive one-week education and dialogue seminar at the East-West Center in Honolulu followed by two weeks of study tour travel in the Asia Pacific-U.S. region.>>Application

 

The Bringing Home the World Fellowship for U.S.-based minority journalists
Deadline Mar. 13, 2016

The Bringing Home the World Fellowship helps U.S.-based minority journalists cover compelling yet under-reported international stories, increasing the diversity of voices in global news. The program helps level the playing field and redress the inequality minority journalists often face by giving them the opportunity to report from overseas and advance their careers.>>Application

 

Fund for Investigative Journalism
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

The Fund encourages proposals written for ethnic media and submitted by journalists of color. Grants average $5,000 and cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends>>Application

 

Joan Shorenstein Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

The mission of the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship Program is to advance research in the field of media, politics and public policy; facilitate a dialogue among journalists, scholars, policymakers and students; provide an opportunity for reflection; and create a vibrant and long-lasting community of scholars and practitioners.>>Application

 

Loyola Law School Fellowships for Journalists
Deadline Feb. 24, 2016

Loyola Law School is offering 35 professional journalists fellowships. The challenge of reporting on the legal system without a law degree is daunting. To help support journalists who cover the courts on national, regional or local levels, the Civil Justice Program at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has developed the journalist law program consisting of a four-day intensive seminar on the legal system. Lectures, lodging and most meals are covered by the program.>>Application

 

Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship
Deadline March 1, 2016

The Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow spends nine months full-time in residence at Council of Foreign Relation headquarters in New York. The program enables the fellow to engage in sustained analysis and writing, expand his or her intellectual and professional horizons, and extensively participate in CFR’s active program of meetings and events. >>Application

 

The UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship Deadline Mar. 15, 2016

Aimed at early and mid career journalists, the Fellowship presents an opportunity to report ambitious long form stories on the full range of subjects under the rubric of food systems: agricultural and nutritional policy, the food industry, food science, technology and culture, rural and urban farming, agriculture and the environment (including climate change), global trade and supply chains, consolidation and securitization of the food system and public health as it relates to food and farming.>>Application

 

 

Best cold weather live shot, thanks WGN’s Nancy Loo

NancyLoo

YouTube Screenshot: Nancy Loo at WGN

Standing in freezing weather delivering a live shot is part of the job of any television reporter. We’ve all done them.

We’ve also heard the news anchor in the warm studio toss it to us out in the field with “How cold is it?” That made me cringe every time.

Well Nancy Loo of WGN in Chicago gets my kudos. She had one of the shortest weather reports, got a standing ovation and left me thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I love this live shot. Nice job Nancy!

 

 

10 Goals to Keep it Simple in 2016

By now most people have a long list of resolutions for 2016. My advice is to keep your resolutions or goals simple and doable.

Here is my short list.

 

RA_2016List

Texas ‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch taken into custody in Mexico

Update: Mexican officials say Ethan Couch and his mother entered Mexico under false names.  Telemundo 40 spoke to authorities in Mexico>>Ethan Couch Story

 

CouchArrested

UPDATE:  Tarrant County Sheriff Department hopes to have the case of Ethan Couch transferred from juvenile court to adult court when he is returned to Texas. At a Tuesday press conference, Sheriff Dee Anderson said the teenager’s mother will be charged with hindering apprehension.

One of my sources with the  U.S. Marshals Service, not directly on Couch case said Immigration authorities in Mexico are not done with Couch and his mother. Both face charges there of entering the country illegally.

__________________

U.S. Marshals are on their way to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico where Ethan Couch has been detained with his mother, Tonya. Couch, better known as the “affluenza teen” has been missing for two weeks. CNN broke the story Monday night.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department has been looking for the 18-year-old Couch ever since he allegedly violated his probation. Investigators were also looking for his mother who they said was missing.  A warrant was issued for Couch to be taken into custody after his probation officer couldn’t reach him earlier this month.

Two years ago, Couch made national news when he was sentenced to probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people. A psychologist had testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza” and that the 16-year-old at the time of his court case was a rich kid whose parents didn’t teach him the difference between right and wrong.

WHAT HAPPENS TO COUCH NOW?

The U.S Marshals Service North District of Texas office will return Couch to Texas. According to one of my sources with the U.S Marshals Service, if a fugitive from the U.S. is a U.S. citizen, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is Mexico’s Immigration Service will make a formal determination if the fugitive has an legal status to remain in Mexico. The fugitive will remain in its custody until that determination is made.

 

TonyaCouch

Tonya Couch,  Photo Courtesy: Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

INM generally views U.S. fugitives as undesirable aliens, and will order them to be deported from Mexico. The U.S. Marshals who arrive in Mexico will then escort the fugitive to a U.S. destination on a direct flight from Puerta Vallarta.

My source who is not on the Couch case and was speaking in general terms said there should not be a lot of paperwork involved with Couch, because it is an internal Mexican immigration process and not a formal request from the U.S. like an extradition. The U.S. Marshals Service will provide documentation and photos to Mexican authorities.

The process to return a fugitive from Mexico to the U.S. can take between 24 to 48 hours. That means Ethan Couch could be back in North Texas very soon if there are no problems with the paperwork. As for his mother, Tarrant County Sheriff’s investigators still have to determine if she was allegedly involved in her son’s decision to take off and hide in Mexico.

 

 

 

Fund set up for family of Petra Porras, mother of four killed in North Texas tornadoes

Today the family of Petra Porras is grieving her death. The 27-year-old was one of the victims killed by a tornado that hit North Texas the day after Christmas.

Porrosfamily

Photo courtesy: GoFundMe

Porras’ family told Fox 4 News that her SUV was thrown off an overpass by a tornado. In total, 11 people lost there lives in North Texas. Meteorologists say three tornadoes tore through the area.

Porras was the mother of four children. Her husband told a local reporter that she was a great mother and the family had a wonderful Christmas day together. Porras’ 9-year-old daughter had given her a handmade coupon book for Christmas full of coupons offerings hugs and kisses.

GoFundMe account has now been set up to help the family raise money for funeral costs and other needs. Please donate and let’s help this family get through this difficult time in their lives. Let’s help Petra Porras’ children understand that they are not alone.

Porras’ GoFundMe page>> GoFundMe

 

 

Be Merry at the U.S. Post office

postoffice2015

The post office has been my second home for the past few weeks. I’m busy sending out Christmas gifts to friends and family. Twice during my visits, I have witnessed people burst through the post office doors, looking at the long line of customers and start verbally abusing the postal clerks.

Stop it!

Stop blaming the post office clerks for the lack of workers at the counter and for the long line of customers. Can we say budget cuts? And have these idiots forgotten that the internet and lack of business has forced the U.S. Postal Service to tighten its budget and that means having fewer workers dealing with customers at the post office.

Here’s my recommendation. The next time you go to the post office and you get to the counter, smile and ask the clerk how they are doing, and say “thank you” before you leave. They are hard workers who deserve our respect.

Happy Holidays!

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor shows no compassion on Twitter for laid off workers

My topic today is Nancy Phillips. I don’t like calling out journalists, but in this case I have to. Phillips ranks high on my “Shame on You” list.

Recently 46 journalists lost their jobs at The Daily News, Philly.com and The Inquirer. The massive layoffs were a move by the Philadelphia Media Network to save money and merge all platforms into one newsroom.

No one likes seeing anyone lose a job. I feel for the 46 journalists who are out of work and that includes my friend, Regina Medina. She’s one of the best investigative reporters in the country.

But what really got under my skin was a tweet by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor Nancy Phillips.  Just days after the massive layoffs, Phillips bragged about a fancy meal on her Twitter page. Where was her compassion for the journalists out of work wondering how they were going to pay for their next meal?

 

 

I hope management at the Media Network does something about Phillip’s callous statement. She should apologize on Twitter to those she has hurt with her tweet.  Yes this hurts!

 

Now is the time to show compassion for those who lost their jobs, and figure out a way to help them get work. Nancy Phillips you’re lucky you have a job, but we now know you’re a manager who has no compassion for your fellow journalists.  Shame on you!

 

 

Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.

I am my father’s daughter; what I learned from a true leader

Photo courtesy: UAW

Photo courtesy: UAW

I was thinking about my dad today and how proud he would be that I stand up for what I believe is right, and when I feel people are being wronged. My father, Alfredo Aguilar was an immigrant from Mexico, raised a family of five kids, and became a union organizer, migrant rights activist, and civil rights leader. He also had the first Spanish-language radio program “Fiesta Latina” in northwest Ohio. Yes, a super multi-tasker.

I often heard him in his broken English defending the little guy or gal. Whether he was addressing a room of 3,000 union members or defending a group of migrant workers, my father knew how to lead by inspiration. He was always looking out for the worker not getting fair pay, the person of color being discriminated, and even women who were not getting equal opportunities. Most of the time he was the only voice, unafraid to use it when it was not the popular thing to do. And let me say he made an impact.

When he died in 1981, his funeral was packed with people, and they didn’t stop coming for two days. Everyone had a story about how he made a difference. I think he would be very proud of me today…unafraid, a voice for the people.

RIP Papi.

Feel free to share and inspire another leader in the making.

Re-evaluate your life, get your priorities right, and be a good person

Fellowship Dallas

Fellowship Dallas

I got my dose of inspiration today. My pastor says re-evaluate your life and get your priorities right. Be a good person.
My thoughts… don’t get caught up in status, money, selfies and even how many followers you have on social media.

Get out of your ego.

Be a person who helps those who are in pain or suffering. Look for those in need of support especially when others have turned their backs on them.

Have courage to stand up for what you feel is wrong even when it’s not the popular thing to do.

Volunteer your time to help organizations help other people. Never say “no” to those who turn to you for advice or ask for mentoring. Always make time for people who need your help. Even 10 minutes of your time can give someone hope.

I was recently at a journalism conference and kept hearing “You look so happy.” It’s true and that’s because I believe in God. That simple. He gave me talent and a fearless heart. I am a success today because of him. He has surrounded me with the right people too.

Remember today you are here… tomorrow God may say “Time to come home.”

You can make a difference. Your life counts.
Please share. Have a great week !

Until next time,

Rebecca

One year anniversary of the 43 missing students in Mexico, they will not be forgotten

Social media today is connecting people around the world who want answers and justice for the families of the 43 students who disappeared in Mexico one year ago. Protests are going on all over Mexico and even in the United States.

 

If you’re not familiar with what happened to these students. Please watch this short video by AJ+

Monica Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

September 26th marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from la normal Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Mexico. I stand in solidarity with the families that are still left with no justice over such a tragic event, still with so many questions that remain unanswered. Today, I am proud of my daughter Gabby, for taking part in the vigil and standing for 43 minutes in representation of the normalistas who were brutally abducted and murdered. She and 42 other student demonstrators held up painted hands and signs with “43+” on them. Today, we mourn the loss of these students and share in the grief their families are still enduring.

 

Protests are everywhere.

 

More stories:

BBC: Mexico’s missing Iguala students: The disappeared 43

Al Jazeera:Remember Ayotzinapa Superb coverage of each of the families of the victims.

Proud to continue serving on the SPJ Fort Worth board

SPJFW members at #EIJ15

SPJFW members: (L-R) Eddye Gallaghar, Britney Tabor, Kay Pirtle, Rebecca Aguilar, Kim Pewitt-Jones

I am proud to announce that I have been re-elected to serve as Vice President of Membership for the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter.

SPJFW continues to be a big voice for journalists in North Texas. It helps us find jobs, keep jobs, get the training we need to keep us sharp in the field and it also protects us when we need it as journalists.  SPJFW also helps students fund their education in journalism and mentors those who are getting in the business. We follow the lead of SPJ, our national organization.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference #EIJ15 in Orlando as one of our chapter’s voting delegate.   One issue tabled until next year is whether to change the name of the organization.  I don’t want a name change, but I’ll leave that for  another blog.

 

 

 

I have served on the SPJFW board since 2011, and have also served on two national committee. SPJ is a great place to make contacts and continue growing as a journalist.

If you’re a journalist in North Texas, I welcome you to join SPJFW. Visit our website – SPJFW and explore.

 

 

 

Mika Brzezinski threatens to pull book deal with Weinstein unless he resigns, Lisa Bloom quits his legal team

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Photo courtesy: MSNBC

 

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski is taking a stand. She has a three-year book deal with Harvey Weinstein’s publishing company, but she’s ending that relationship if he doesn’t resign. Saturday morning she took to Twitter to explain why.

 

Mika_tweets

 

A New York Times investigation “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” uncovered three decades of sexual harassment allegations and at least eight legal settlements with accusers. They were everyone from  two actresses to assistants.

Weinstein put together a legal team before the New York Times story came out.
It came as a surprise to many women that attorney Lisa Bloom had joined his team. She is known as a crusader for victims of sexual harassment who represented several of Bill O’Reilly’s accusers.  Maybe she had a loyalty to Weinstein since his company is planning to turn Bloom’s book on Travyon Martin into a miniseries.

Bloom took a big turn on Saturday afternoon when she also quit Weinstein’s team of lawyers and consultants. She said the following on Twitter.

 

Lisabloom

 

It is not known if Bloom’s decision was influenced by the backlash of angry women and no word yet on whether she still wants Weinstein’s company to produce the miniseries. I did send her a tweet with those questions since she made her resignation statement on Twitter.

Weinstein took a leave of absence after the Times published its story. He put out a statement trying to explain himself,  blaming his behavior on growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when according to him the workplace culture was different. Here is part of his statement:

 

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces
were different. That was the culture then.

I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.

I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with
the people I work with have changed.

 

The New York Times story has had a domino effect. Board members have quit the Weinstein Company board of directors as reported by the Times.

So far, Weinstein has only threatened to sue the New York Times for its investigative report. To be continued…

 

SOURCES:

New York Times (10/5/2017) Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.

Los Angeles Time (10/5/2017) Harvey Weinstein to take a leave of absence amid sexual harassment claims, threatens lawsuit over report.

The Hollywood Reporter (4/19/2017) Attorney Lisa Bloom Declares Victory After Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Exit. 

Harvey Weinstein Statement 

New York Times (10/6/2017) Company Scrambles as Weinstein Takes Leave and a Third of the Board Resigns