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writer and columnist, Naples Daily News

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by drakescoffeecake, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    Bueller? Anyone?
  2. NatureBoy

    NatureBoy Member

    The search continues, but don't dally on sending your stuff if you haven't already.
  3. schrdp2002

    schrdp2002 Member

    Phil Lewis: Lesson learned from column on hip-hop fest
    By PHIL LEWIS, pplewis@naplesnews.com
    December 14, 2003

    Putting out a daily newspaper is a learning process, and we learned something this past week.

    A column written by Brent Batten and published on Dec. 2 offended many people across the nation.

    In writing "Why Hip Hop Winterfest went bust," Batten used "hip-hop language" to satirize the failed Nov. 29 festival at the Collier County Fairgrounds.

    We went the better part of a week without a comment from a reader. Then Batten started getting negative e-mail from hip-hop fans. Apparently his column was posted on a nationwide computer website for hip-hop listeners. Soon a copy of the column made it to other Web sites, including forums for the newspaper industry.

    When your peers in the journalism world write you a letter saying they were "stunned" by something you published, you take special notice.

    On Dec. 10, I opened an e-mail letter from Bryan Monroe, a vice president for news with the Knight-Ridder newspaper group in San Jose, Calif.

    "The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was stunned to read the patently offensive, intellectually condescending and journalistically unfocused column by Naples Daily News columnist Brent Batten about a failed local hip-hop concert," Monroe, who is also the vice president of NABJ, wrote.

    "More alarming, however, was not just that Batten chose to sit down and write such a piece, but that his editors allowed it to be published." I was the editor who allowed the column to be published.

    To my fellow journalists in the NABJ, those offended by the column and our other readers, I apologize.

    Many have asked, "What were you thinking?" They deserve a straight, honest answer.

    I was thinking the column poked fun at hip hop, the musical genre, just as a column might poke fun at disco, rock, swing, punk or opera. We never intended the column to be a slap at an ethnic group or a culture.

    I was thinking the column was no different than using Hollywood-agent, "let's-do-lunch" lingo to lampoon the shooting of a Joe Pesci comedy near Marco Island or using Beat Generation lingo to comment on the closing of a coffee shop.

    Batten has used this technique before. Two years ago he wrote the following in a column about a local pro-marijuana rally: "The Glades Hemp Festival was held east of Naples. Organizers estimated the turnout as: 'Oh dude, there were like a lot of people.'" I was thinking there was little or no difference, and I was wrong.

    Hip-hop concerts in the Naples area, like most events for the young here, attract mostly white teen-agers. Perhaps that's one reason I was not thinking what was so clearly explained to us by Eric Deggans, a writer for the St. Petersburg Times.

    Deggans, during an e-mail discussion of Batten's column on Jim Romensko's Web site for media industry news, posted the following: "Yes, there are a lot of non-black hip hop fans. But rap is a product of black culture. Most of its artists and top producers are black people. The speech patterns Batten is satirizing come from black culture. Many black people who read his words think he's insulting their culture and their speech." Well put. I wish I had been thinking that.

    Both Deggans and the NABJ noted that our news room is overwhelmingly white. They wonder if a more diverse staff would be a benefit.

    Fair question. In November 1999, Jenise Morgan, our features editor and a member of our editorial board, left to take a job in Atlanta. We haven't had an African-American in an editing position since. We are in need of both black and Hispanic journalists.

    We do believe we would produce a better newspaper if our staff were more diverse, more representative of the communities we serve. And, for the record, we are involved in new programs designed to help us recruit minority photographers, reporters and editors.

    If you think we take comfort in the fact that none of our local readers called or wrote letters criticizing the column, you would be wrong.

    It's clear the column offended people around the nation, so the lack of local criticism is a concern.

    Perhaps local residents who would take offense see no value in offering comment or opinion on what we publish.

    Or, worse yet, they don't read us at all.

    Phil Lewis is editor of the Daily News; his email address is pplewis@naplesnews.com
  4. Not sure what a news column written two years ago is doing up on a post about a sports columnist opening. Though I'd call Batten's column a momentary lapse in judgement from a pretty good writer. The bigger problem was the absolute lack of a clue by the rest of the editors who passed off on the column and let it run.
    Won't have that problem in sports. SE is good people who needs all the help he can get.
  5. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    Sent the SE an email about a week ago just to see where this gig was at, and I've heard nothing since.

    One poster to this thread mentioned they were moving fast. Anyone know a status?
  6. flaming_mo

    flaming_mo Guest

    I wouldn't even go that far.

    I'd call it craven groveling by a spineless editor-in-chief.
  7. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    Did they make a hire here yet?
  8. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    Isn't there anyone else out there that wants to know what's going on with the writing gig here? I've asked people and even written the SE, but heard nothing anywhere.
  9. NatureBoy

    NatureBoy Member

    No hires yet, but a couple of phone interviews have been conducted with a couple of people. The matter isn't closed, but don't wait much longer to send your stuff.
  10. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Were they cell-phone interviews? :D
  11. giantjay25

    giantjay25 Member

    I was told tonight that the two phone interviews were for the columnist position, and per the publisher's orders there hasn't been any activity with the regular writing position just yet.

    But that's about all I know.
  12. Hook Em

    Hook Em New Member

    Just bumping this one up to see if there is any news regarding either position.
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