Tamara Jeffries

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Opinion: On Meta-bias at USA Today

Last Thursday, USA Today posted a story on media bias that was itself an example of media bias.

The story covered a flash flood of social media comments about the coverage of the Charleston killer. The issue: the tendency for media descriptions of a white killer to be sympathetic or apologist (“Quiet loner with a mental illness”), while suspects of color (and often victims of color) are described as “thugs” with shady backgrounds.

Of complainers about race-based media bias, the author writes: “They aren’t necessarily wrong. But media experts say they aren’t completely right.”  (A passage that doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for them to be, perhaps, right.)

The media experts in question were a journalism professor at Columbia and the media ethicist at the Poynter Institute—both of whom dismiss the claims. Read more

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What will happen with Essence magazine? Time will tell

Two weeks ago the media world buzzed about the 480 jobs lost at Time Inc. The corporation-wide layoffs bypassed some properties, including Essence. Or so it seemed. By the end of last week, Essence Editor-in-Chief Constance White was walking out the door — along with several other senior level staffers. On Monday another left.

By Wednesday, the buzz was that Time Inc. was going to jettison all its properties — presumably Essence included — except three flagships: Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated.

Where does that leave the matriarch of African-American women’s magazines? Wherever it lands, it needs a home that will be able to figure out how to keep it viable. These days Ebony — which Essence had never considered a competitor — has been revamped and is nipping at its audience. Read more

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