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Poll: High profile news stories draw
audiences based on race and gender
WASHINGTON (API - Women were more likely than men 10
follow the news story about Laci Peterson very closely, and bl?cks
were more likely than whites to closely watch the legal trouble* of
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson, said a poll ?rt last week.
Women were almost twice as likely as men to say they were very
closely following the case of Peterson, a murdered pregnant woman,
whose husband is on trial in the killing, according to the poll by the
Pew Research Center for People & the Press.
And blacks were far more likely than
whites - by 47 percent to 1 3 percent - to be
closely following developments in the sexual
assault case against professional basketball
star Kobe Bryant very closely. By a smaller
margin, blacks were more likely to be closely
following the molestation case against singer
Michael Jackson, by 42 percent to 26 percent.
Most everyone showed interest in news
about Iraq - the top 2003 story in terms of
(pedia interest - but the audiences for other
high-profile news stories varied dramatically.
Almost two-thirds, or 63 percent, said they
followed news about the war in Iraq very closely. J
White evangelicals were twice as likely as Catholics and non
evangelical Protestants to have very closely watched the case of the
Alabama chief justice's efforts to defy federal orders to remove a j
monument of the Ten Commandments from a state courthouse. I
Voters over age 65 were more than four times as likely as young I
adults to have kept a sharp eye on news of the Medicare bill in Con
The study was based on Pew polls throughout, the year and had a
margin of sampling error of plus or minus I percentage point.
New Cincinnati police union president
pledges to forge better communication
CINCINNATI (AP) - The new president of the Cincinnati
police union pledged to improve communication with residents
and to work to create a better image of the department that has
been accused of brytality against blacks.
The union announced last week that members voted to oust the
former president who was criticized for describing a black man
who died in a violent struggle with police as a "craclihead."
"We've gotten some bad press we don't deserve," said police
Sgt. Harry Roberts, new Fraternal Order of Police president.
Roberts defeated Roger Webster by a nearly two-to-one mar
Webster's comment about Nathaniel Jones in a televised news
conference drew angry responses from black activist groups.
Jones died after he was brought down with repeated strikes
from nightsticks by officers. ?
Webster also drew complaints from fire department union offi
cials about his criticism of fire personnel for leaving the scene of
Jones' struggle w ith police.
The fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police
officer in April 2001 prompted three nights of rioting in Cincin
N.H. pastor criticizes Democrats
Frustrated with Democratic presidential candidates who "pimp
the church," the pastor of a black church in Portsmouth, N.H., has
criticized those who would use his congregation as Trbackdf&p. for
campaign photos rather than a serious discussion of issues.
"Come because you want to be here." the Rev. Arthur Hilson of
New Hope Baptist Church said from the pulpit recently in an appeal
to the candidates. "Don't come here because you want to use me or
Hilson said he has not endorsed any candidate, although a photo
taken during a visit by front-runner Howard Dean showed Dean
Reside the pastor's w ife. The photo appeared in Newsweek.
"When the Dean people came they said, 'Can you be at the door
and have your wife with you?'" Hilson said.
A Dean campaign spokesman said he was disappointed Hilson
took the occasion of Dean's visit in a way that had not been intended.
"It's very unfortunate that Reverend Hilson feels this way," said
Matthew Gardner. Dean's New Hampshire press secretary. "Gover
nor Dean very much enjoys meeting with people throughout New
Hampshire, and we Celt warmly received by the reverend and other
members oC the congregation."
Hilson said a visit by Carol Moseiey Braun. in contrast, was not
preceded by a request to have certain people on hand. "They simply
came into the church and took seats." he said.
Hilson's church also has been visited by Sen. Joe Liebennan and
Rep. Dick Gephardt.
Gray to get award from black film critics
NEW YORK ( AP) - F. Gary Gray, director of "The Italian Job,"
will receive a special achievement award from the African American
Film Critics Association.
"Wilt) this year's release of The Italian
Job.' former music video director F. Gary
Gray demonstrated strong growth and a solid
command of the filmmaking process with a
stylish remake of the 1969 caper classic," said
Gil Robertson, a [Syndicated columnist and
one of the group's vice presidents.
The critics chose "The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King" as the top film of
2003. followed by "Lost in Translation" and
"The Italian Job." starring Mark
Wahlberg. Charlize Theron and Mos Def. came in seventh on the
group's top? 10 list. The rest of the list, in order: "Dirty Pretty Things."
"The Last Samurai." "Finding Nemo." 'Tupac: Resurrection." "City
of God" and "Mystic River."
The African American Film Critics Association, which consists of
print, broadcast and online movie reviewers, aims to draw attention to
movies w ith appeal to black audiences, or to works that come from
black filmmakers or star black actors. '
Ttie Chronicle (USPS 067-910) was established by Ernest
H. Pitt and Ndubisi Egemonye in 1974 and is published
every Thursday by Winston-Salem Chronicle Publishing Co.
Inc., 617 N. Liberty Street, Winston-Salem, NC 37101. Peri
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
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Winston-Salem, NC 27102-1636
Shuttlesworth takes new challenge
THK ASSOCIA1 EDfRESS
ATLANTA - Few have '
laced the kinds of obstacles
that civil rights leader the
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth has:
He's been arrested by police
for fighting for his rights. His
home has been bombed. He
has been beaten bloody by
angry racists armed with
whips and chains.
At 81. Shuttlesworth faces
a new challenge as he takes
over as interim president and
CEO of the Atlanta-based
Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, the once vaunted
but now struggling civil rights
organization fighting a battle
to stay relevant.
"I can count on my hands
how many times I have been
in death's j^ws," Shut
tlesworth. who "now lives in
Cincinnati, told The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution for a
Christmas Day story. "I didn't
think 1 would live to be 40
? years old."
?Martin Luther King III, son of
the slain civil rights leader, as
head of the SCLC.
.^vKing, named to the top
j SClC job in 1997, resigned
L lastynonth tu take over as
I president of the King Center
I for Nonviolent Social Change.
' In 2001, King survived an
attempt by the SCLC board to
oust him after the board
accused him of not being an
aggressive and vigilant leader.
Lack of aggressiveness is
not the conference's only
problem. Shuttlesworth takes
the job at a time when some
Photo by Ken Stewart/ Zuma Prfcs
The Rev . Fred Shuttlesworth speaks out from his pulpit on Dec. 8 about police brutality by
observers have argued that the
SCLC has become irrelevant.
By all accounts the organi
zation's heyday was during
the era of the civil rights
struggle. And in recent years
the group has suffered from
the changing face of black
politics and economics, politi
cal infighting and the rising
prominence of other black
civil ^fights organizations,
such as the Rev. Jesse Jack
son's Chicago-based Rain
Jackson's Rainbow Coali
tion has made inroads even
into the SCLC's own backyard
of Atlanta. Jackson opened an
office here and has come to
town to weigh |n on such local
issues as the city's sewer cri
sis, troubles in Clayton Couiu ?
ty and helping Morris Brown
College get back on its feet.
The Rev. Joseph Lowery,
another former SCLC presi
dent considered by many to be
the dean of Atlanta's civil and
social rights activists, now
heads the Georgia Coalition
See SCLC on A9
Rep. Davis pushes nationwide black male study
BY JAMES WRIGHTS
AFRO NEWSPAPERS .
- Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.)
has issued a call for President
Bush to launch a national
commission to study the prob
lems of the African-American
male. Davis says that a com
mission is needed because of
concerns that were raised at
the recent Status of the
African American Male Initia
tive that was recently held in
"Based upon statistical
data, it is my contention that
conditions relating to African
American males are continu
ing to decline and thereby
require intervention," the let
ter said. "For example, the
unemployment rate among
African^ American males is
approximately 31.9 percent,
which is triple the national
males make up 6 percent of
the total population and
account for 48 percent of the
"According to the Census
Bureau. 30 percent of African
American males under 18 live
below the poverty line."
Marc Morial. former
mayor of New Orleans and
now president and CEO of the
National Urban League, noted
at the initiative event that
"Black men lead every nega
tive aspect of almost any sta
tistics compiled." Black-men
earn less, are deeper in debt,
save less,' are less educated,"
and tend to lack employable
job skills, he said.
Morial's solution was for
the government and the pri
vate sector to come together to
solve these problems.
In the letter, Davis urged
Bush to charge the commis
sion to look at disparities -in
the health system, criminal
justice system, school dropout
rates, economic opportunities
and cultural trends. Davis
said. "It isjjur hope that the
commission will identify
causes and recommend both
short-term and long-range
policy and B^jwa^ynua^*;
A commission to study the
problems of black men is not
new on the state and local lev
els. Washington has a com4 '
mission to study the problems
of black men and boys in the
city that was set up by D.C.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
(D), and is set to issue a report
in 2004. Indiana, led by Jose
Evans, established a commis
sion several years ago and has
become a model for others to
For example, in Indiana,
each major city has a commis
sion of activists and con
cerned citizens set to monitor
the progress of black men in
employment, the criminal jus
tice system and education.
With the support of the
Congressional Black Caucus,
the NAACP, National Urban
League, the Association of
Black Psychologists, the
National Organization of Con
cerned Black Men and the
National Black Chamber of
Commerce, Davis has organ
ized a group of cities where
discussions will be ' taking
place, at various times,
regarding the status of black
See Davis on A9
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