Michael J. Feeney, former NYABJ president, dead at 32

Michael J. Feeney, former president of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) has died. He was 32.

Michael J. Feeney, former president of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) has died. He was 32.

Michael J. Feeney, who recently ended a four-year term as president of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ), died yesterday at age 32.  Read his obituary from the New York Daily News here http://nydn.us/1TvEGPl.

The OnPointPress.net family joins the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) and the entire world of journalism in mourning the loss of a gifted, caring, passionate and visionary journalist and human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.–OnPointPress.net–

 

 

New York Daily News up for sale, most black print writers let go

Mortimer Zuckerman, Owner of the New York Daily News.

New York Daily News Owner Mortimer Zuckerman, announced on Thursday, February 27 that he has retained a financial firm to explore selling the paper that has come to define the spirit of New York.

By Carmen Glover

On Thursday, February 26, two days after the death of journalism diversity champion Dori J. Maynard, Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News, emailed staffers announcing that the venerable paper is up for sale. The email, which was published in the paper, provided an interesting read.

“I want to share with you a new development regarding the company. A few weeks ago, we were approached about our potential interest in selling the Daily News. Although there were no immediate plans to consider a sale, we thought it would be prudent to explore the possibility and talk to potential buyers and/or investors. To help us with the process, I have retained Lazard, a leading financial advisory firm,” Zuckerman said in the email.

“I have not come to this decision easily. But I believe the immense hard work in turning the business around in an extremely challenging period for the industry, has put the Daily News in as strong a position than it has ever been, particularly online. I appreciate that this news is difficult for you to digest. But I want to reassure you that my aim throughout this process will be to do the right thing for the business to ensure the Daily News and its brilliant staff have the best opportunity to achieve all our future ambitions.”

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Prior to the bombshell news, the Daily News have made copious changes, not all good. For instance, almost all of the African-American print writers were terminated or left amid what some described as a “climate of uncertainty.” Among those who left the paper last summer were Michael Feeney, out-going president of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) and Jennifer Cunningham, both of whom wrote for the borough section of the paper. Clem Richardson, whose columns were insightful and informative, also left the paper.

As the size of the paper dwindled, so did the borough sections, which residents outside of Manhattan eagerly anticipated reading. The borough sections were discontinued recently and the Daily News print staff is no longer representative of the diverse New York City in which the paper is published. On Friday, February 27, Mediabistro.com reported that figures from the Alliance for Audited Media tallied the Daily News’ combined print and digital circulation numbers at 427,452 on weekdays and 558,057 on Sundays, compared to the New York Post, which tallied 497,878 weekdays and 454,007 on Sundays for the six month period ending September 2014.

Zukerman, who has enjoyed success as a real estate developer, purchased the Daily News in 1993. At the time, there was a noticeable mix of African-American print writers on staff. During Zuckerman’s time at the helm of the paper, Feeney and former staffer Warren Woodberry, were named president of NYABJ. In what is considered the media capital of the world, it is a jolt of reality to journalists to see that their value at one of the leading daily newspapers, based on numbers, is non-existent. It is also a somber reality that journalists of color can no longer find opportunities at a paper with which many New Yorkers have identified strongly in the past.–OnPointPress.net.

“Man cannot live by sports alone,” irate speaker tells ESPN group

ESPN staff address the audience.

ESPN Host Stephen A. Smith and ESPN VP/GM David Roberts (ESPN 98.7FM & Deportes 1050 AM) address the audience at Harlem town hall. meeting. -CG.

By Carmen Glover

A modest ESPN contingent was on hand as ESPN host Stephen A. Smith and David Roberts, vice president and general manager of ESPN 98.7 FM and ESPN Deportes 1050 AM, met with journalists, community leaders and residents at a town hall meeting at MIST, a restaurant in Harlem on July 24. The town hall meeting was organized by Eric Tait and Robert Anthony, co-chairs of NYABJ’s Media Watch committee. The town hall event was convened in response to concerns expressed by the black community about the sale of KISS FM a year ago to ESPN, effectively depriving former KISS listeners of public affairs programming that was a mainstay on the station for decades.

Attendees participate in the town hall meeting.

Attendees participate in the town hall meeting.-CG.

“The changes that were made at 98.7 FM do not diminish the importance of the community. We are here to serve the community whether the FCC is involved or not,” Roberts stated,  before another ESPN voice, Bill Daughtry,  revealed that ESPN runs a one hour public affairs show “at 5:00 AM on Sundays,” prompting participants to ask in unison: “Who is listening to the radio at that time on a Sunday morning?” Daughtry mentioned his colleague, Larry Hardesty, who did not attend the forum and he lauded Roberts, saying “In my over forty years in this business, David Roberts is the first African American boss I have had.” Both Smith and Daughtry touted the fact that they are native New Yorkers, committed to giving the local residents a voice.  Roberts emphasized range. “We have made sure that there is a diversity of voices that are black such as Willie Randolph and Ray Lucas. Everyone knows of Walt Frazier as an iconic NBA sports figure but no one thought of making him an analyst until I put him on the air,” he said. Roberts also stated that while the focus of the station is sports, “every program on our air is representative of race and balance.”

 

ESPN's Bill Daughtry shares his ideas.

ESPN’s Bill Daughtry shares his ideas while Stephen A. Smith listens intently.-CG.

But community residents were not satisfied. “Man cannot live on sports alone,” repeated a forum participant who was unhappy with the change in format at 98.7 FM.  Smith was having none of it. “ESPN is a sports network. I grew up listening to KISS FM and when the merger happened my voice was the first one heard on the station,” he said. “But I’m confused because I never heard anyone clamoring to KISS FM for a sports network. I don’t know what would happen to me or my job if I just ignored A-Rod and started talking about housing and public affairs.” Similarly, Deon Livingston of WBLS did not mince words. “Black radio serves the community but it does not make money and you have to make money to stay on the air,” he said. However, legendary media professional and activist Bob Law was unmoved “The difficulty of selling black talk is a result of collusion between the advertising industry and radio stations,” he said, “Our concern is that we, black talk, are being forced from the marketplace of ideas.”  Both sides identified ongoing dialogue and ESPN’s continued involvement in community events such as Harlem Week as measures that will help reduce the ideological chasm that was on full display at the event.