Tamara Jeffries


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


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