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Chi Trib don't know black men?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dcdream, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. dcdream

    dcdream Member

    I wonder what the demographics of that desk is like.

    And I wonder why this was not posted sooner since this site.

    Paper Had Problem in Identifying Black Men

    Last month — Black History Month — wasn't a very good one for Dan McGrath, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune.

    And not just McGrath. As David Mills, journalist-turned-screenwriter, wrote on his Feb. 21 blog, "It's been a super-shitty month for Tribune sportswriter Lew Freedman.

    "One week ago, I pointed out how the Trib published a long feature about ex-NBA player Kevin Gamble, but ran a file photo of Dee Brown (one of Gamble's old Boston Celtic teammates) misidentified as Gamble.

    "That story was written by Lew Freedman.

    "Yesterday, the Trib published another feature story by Lew Freedman, this one about DePaul University baller Marcus Heard. The headline read: "Demons" Heard makes grade.' It was all about how Marcus Heard is a good student and a good citizen, on top of being a good athlete. . . .

    "Nice story. Very nice. Only one problem . . .

    "Yes. Amazingly, the Chicago Tribune did it again, running a picture of Heard's Blue Demon teammate Wilson Chandler misidentified as Heard."

    Freedman said he passed Mills' observations up to his boss, McGrath, who is "probably still red-faced (literally) over a whopper of a Misidentified Black Person that occurred last summer," Mills continued.

    "In that case, McGrath himself wrote the 12-paragraph correction that appeared in the Trib. Here's what happened:

    "A former NBA player named Eddie Johnson was arrested last August in Florida, charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl. Alas, there are two former NBA players named Eddie Johnson. The other one is now a broadcaster in Phoenix. That one — the one not charged with child sexual assault — grew up in Chicago and played ball at the University of Illinois. Which gave the Tribune's editors a reason (so they thought) to pick up the Associated Press report on Eddie Johnson's arrest.

    "The Trib didn't run a picture (thank God), but it misidentified Eddie Johnson by inserting wrong information into the AP's account. To wit, this headline: 'Former NBA, Illini star accused of sexual assault.'

    "The Eddie Johnson who got arrested wasn't an Illini; he played his college ball at Auburn University."

    McGrath told Journal-isms on Friday: "Our department is taking a hard and probably overdue look at our process for identifying photos in the hope of making it more reliable and eliminating such errors in the future. The staffers responsible for the Chandler-Heard error were dealt with appropriately. Mr. Freedman and I both apologized to Mr. Heard and his family. The Dee Brown/Kevin Gamble photo was misidentified by the wire service that circulated it, but we did not catch the error in the office.

    "My statement on the Eddie Johnson matter speaks for itself. As the Tribune is involved in litigation with Mr. Johnson, I have been instructed to have no further comment."
  2. boots

    boots New Member

    I covered fast Eddie Johnson, the one who played at Auburn and for the Hawks. He was always a piece of work.
    As for the misidentification, perhaps it would help if there were more people of color on the Trib staff. That's where the real problem is.
  3. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Maybe I'm missing something because I'm not in the know about the Trib, but is this a racial issue or a journalism issue? I ask because it doesn't seem there was any intent to the mistakes. Just very unfortunate mistakes that likely could have been avoided.
  4. boots

    boots New Member

    I think its both a racial and journalism issue.
  5. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    It's a journalism issue, not a "they all look the same to the tribune" issue. Just plain ol' sloppiness.
  6. boots

    boots New Member

    Yes, sloppiness that shouldn't happen in Chitown.
  7. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    How is it a racial issue? I'm genuine in my question, not trying to troll up an argument where there is none. I just don't see that it's a race thing. Had one of the mistakes involved two white men, would we even be having this discussion?
  8. dcdream

    dcdream Member

    You would be surprised to see that there are people like that still working in newsrooms. Remember the sports department is always the last one to change.
  9. Sportsbruh

    Sportsbruh Member




  10. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    At my last shop, there was a photo of the Wayans brothers. It had Kennan, and then there was Ivory Wayans listed as two different people. With an all white staff working the desk, they just didn't know Kennan Ivory Wayans was one person.
    So, I think it's both a journalism and a race issue. Because we continue to see small problems like this when concerning minorities.
  11. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    i just loved it when i, as the reporter, got blamed - by the readers or subjects - for poor photo choices or lousy headlines. it usually wasn't worth the time to explain that i don't write the headlines, take the photos, select the artwork, etc.
  12. boots

    boots New Member

    I understand where you are and I'm with you. It's a race issue because in the eyes of some, all African American look alike. I know that might rub people the wrong way, but there are many who feel that way. Like an African American once told me, if a black man robs a white man, the white guy will have trouble identifying him. If a white guy robs a black guy, the black guy will have no problem identifying him.
    It's a journalism issue because stuff like this should not happen, especially at the Chicago Tribune. That paper has had problem keeping minority talent and hasn't been kind to minorities in general over the years. This is just one more log to throw on the fire.
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