Inauguration Day Doesn’t Bring in Diverse Crowd

African Americans, Latin Americans, women, and the gay community were among the most social minorities represented at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21.

It seems that  a mass of President Obama’s 93 percent of African American voters attended his inaugural ceremony this year than compared to last. The rising numbers of Blacks on this day can not only be attributed to another historic moment, but inauguration day was held on Martin Luther King Day as well. Latin Americans in support of a better immigration policy were full front and large in numbers on the president’s second inaugural but it leads many journalists to wonder why other social minorities of this county lacked in numbers on this day. Yes there was a Cuban inaugural poet, Hispanic Supreme Court justice, and an African-American activist who opened up that day with the invocation speech, but that really does not show the genetic makeup this country has to offer.

Women were among the masses out there that Monday morning to see provision from Obama on bridging the gap with discrimination and equal rights to their male counterparts, as were the gay and lesbian community who received public support by Obama backing for legal same-sex marriage.

There is strength in numbers and frankly those numbers were low when it came to other minority groups such as Asian Americans, Native Americans, or Pacific Islanders being present on inauguration day.  President Obama won the votes 73 percent of Asian Americans, yet their attendances in inauguration festivities were low. There were even comments from the Jewish community by readers on a blog post that expressed disappointment in the so called Jewish values that took place during inaugural week. It seems that mainstream media only acknowledged the diverse crowd that participated in the inaugural events and what actually reached only the surface of faces seen or religions touched.

This country is not made up of just 1 of everything: 1 ethnicity, 1 religion, or even 1 language; so when only 2 ethnicities are accounted for on one of the biggest days in American history, it contradicts the metaphorical nickname of the U.S. being considered a melting pot. Instead of how many faces you saw like yours on inauguration day in the crowd or even on the inaugural platform, how many faces actually stood? What did diversity look like to you on inauguration day and if there was any how did mainstream media portray it to be?


Journalist sentenced to 10 additional years in Myanmar

By Jacob Demmitt
A 21-year-old independent journalist had 10 years tacked onto a prison sentence Wednesday, bringing his detainment to 18 years.
Sithu Zeya, who worked for Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma, was originally arrested after taking pictures of a grenade attack in Yangon in 2010.
The courts added an additional charge of circulating material online that could “damage tranquillity and unity in the government,” the Associated Press reports.
After generations of military rule, the Myanmar junta ceded power to the people in March of this year as part of a “roadmap to democracy,” according to the AP.
Reporters Without Borders criticized Myanmar authorities, saying the move demonstrates the reform is only for outside appearances.  
The AP article reads:
“’How can the Burmese government claim to be on the road to democracy when its judicial system flouts fundamental human rights?’ Reporters Without Borders said in a statement late Wednesday, criticizing the latest sentence against Sithu Zeya. ‘Recent events show that the conciliatory gestures so far taken by this government are just part of a PR strategy and are not indicative of a real intention to give Burmese citizens more media freedom.’”
What lessons can public affairs students take away from this incident?
Does everyone in the world share the right to report which we enjoy in the United States?
How safe are these rights if the government chooses not to respect them?

NYT’s business editor ups ante on public editor

The business editor of the New York Times has gone public with a complaint about the public editor’s criticism of business coverage.

Public Editor Art Brisbane’s August 28 column “was so absurd and so poorly reasoned that I felt compelled to write a response,” wrote Business Editor Larry Ingrassia in a memo he forwarded to media blogger Jim Romenesko.

The newspaper’s editor and the public editor often are at odds, but the Romenesko posting seemed to up the ante.

At issue is the newspaper’s increased focus on Wall Street insider coverage in print and online under the “DealBook” label. Brisbane questioned whether other coverage has suffered as a result.

“When the world economic system shuddered and stock markets dropped,” Brisbane wrote, “I was left wondering whether The Times should spend its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt.”

Ingrassia replied that the column “left me wondering how closely you read the Times — or at least our financial coverage.”

Public Affairs journalism students should read Brisbane’s column and Ingrassia’s memo. Which argument is stronger? Is this an internal cat fight, or are there wider journalistic issues?