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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.

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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

 

 

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!

The United Airlines PR nightmare that could have been avoided

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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?

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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,

 

“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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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