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METRO 2 Friday, Nov. 7, 1997 LOCAL NEWS The Atlanta Journal The Atlanta Constitution KEEPERS OF THE WORD 1 I Pioneentig black journalists take a look at the past, the present Therenl ''j aW By Gary M. Pomerantz STAFF WRITER Nearly 30 years ago the "Kemer Com- mission accused the mainstream American press of "basking in a white world, looking out of it, if at all, with a white man's eyes and a white perspective." That finding was hardly a surprise to George Coleman, Robert Churchwell, Ernest Withers and Lancie Thomas, four pioneering black journalists who will participate in a two-day symposium at Emory University called "Struggling to Report Reporting the Struggle: The African-American Journalist in the South." The symposium, which begins today at noon and continues Saturday, is free and open to the public. Now 80, Church-well recalls breaking the color line in the newsroom of The Nashville Banner in 1950. "I covered the Negro community but I was instructed not to write about sports or society," he said.
"I expect that if Churchwell we had written about black society, it would have offended some whites." Coleman, former managing editor of The Atlanta World, said mainstream newspapers are more diverse now. "I see the progress in hiring people of all races," said Coleman, 75. "Compared to my day, it's almost common now to see black reporters." Today, minorities represent about 11 percent of newsroom employees in daily newspapers across the nation, according to a 1997 survey conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That's an increase of 259 percent since 1978, when the ASNE began its annual survey. At The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, minorities make up about 20 percent of newsroom employees, according to Angela Tuck, news personnel manager.
ASNE has established a "Year 2000" goal, which challenges U.S. daily newspapers to achieve the same minority representation in newsrooms as in the overall U.S. population. Currently, minorities represent about 24 percent of the U.S. population.
For information on the Emory symposium, call 404-727-4221. Leading the way: Lancie Thomas, 80, shows off the newsroom of The Mobile Beacon and Alabama Gtizen, which she co-founded with her husband in 1 943. A changing scene: Reflections on newsrooms, coverage today RHETA GR1MSLEY JOHNSON Wort will cure what ails you A friend going through a divorce messier than a teenager's room sounded impossibly calm to me. You don't share', two decades and three children with someone and then grin and wave goodbye as he pulls a Rhett Butler. "I'm fine," she said.
"Don't be disappointed if your mood moves all over the map," I counseled in my most soothing tone. "You wouldn't be a sane or nice person if you didn't grieve after 20 years of marriage." "No. I'm fine," she said. "I know you think you're fine today, but just don't worry if "St. John's wort," she saiJ.
"Oh," I said. Time to shut-up. The mystery of her amazing, attitude was solved. You can't argue with1St John's wort People are losing their jobs and laughing, little old ladies are expertly negotiating six lanes of interstate, the condemned are requesting the herb for a last meal. Suddenly the world is one sweet and placid place, and everyone explains it this way: St.
John's wort. 'V The "wort" part is pronounced "wert," not like the bump on the end of a witch's-nose. You can buy it in capsule form without a prescription in a drug or discount store. "Helps Assist in Mood Enhancement," the bottle says. Cheaper than Prozac, faster: than a speeding bullet.
Used in Europe for years. "I've just got to lose a few! pounds before Christmas' my sister said. "Are you walking or working out?" I asked. Those are her." usual remedies for battling 't bloat. Those and substituting macaroni and cheese for meat.
"St. John's wort," she said. "They say it works as an appetite suppressant, too." 1 That did it. I'm not one for popping pills an aspirin puts me to sleep but anything that tackles the mullygrubs, PMS and thick waists all at the same time deserves an audition. But I'll have to hurry.
They say the stores can't keep it on the shelves. Wherever therevs a serene bunch of women swap-ping miracles, you know there's St John's wort nearby. Of course, there will be side effects. Nothing can be as good as St John's wort sounds. Too much sugar for a dime.
So '-bring on the side effects. Maybe you get warts after chewing wort Maybe your Hair falls out, or you can't safely" mix wort with water. Doctors will tell us. For what does the medical establishment stand to gain from its potential customers' gobbling an over-the-counter, self-prescribed cure-all? Physicians will have to come up with some reason wort doesn't work. What do they really know? Just this week I heard a report that said baking for long hours in the sun can reduce your -chances for breast cancer.
This after all the ominous lectures about the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays causing skin cancer. Stay tuned. Next week there'll be a different contradiction. Meanwhile, I talked to a friend who has moved to a money pit of a house that needs a few things like windows and heat before the worst of winter commences. "It's a little cool nights now," she said, sounding like a TV.
weather girl describing late September. "Are you crazy?" I railed. "There could be a freeze any, day now, and you still don't -have window panes. El Nino could camp out in your living room." "Please," she purred. "Get a grip.
Chill out. We'll be fine. You, however, seem a bit on edge. Have you tried St John's wort?" E-mail: rhetaajc.com Selective invective ,.1 play In the dirt again!" I see that the AK-47 assault rifle is 50 years old. Somehow, I don't think that's worth celebrating.
Fidel Castro's e-mail address: fidelcastroaol.commie You fellows with the damnation and the laborer recliner should visit the lady with the simonize cat Does anyone else see the irony in Burger King using a Carpenters song in one of its new commercials? I've heard everything now. A guy (n Our office got published in the Vent and he's having an autograph party this afternoon. After last week I changed brokers. From stock to pawn. 1 No, it wouldn't be racist to have a white million man march.
It would be called Promise Keepers. Now I know why they call them trial lawyers. I tried one and didn't like him. Mike Luckovich for mayor! -With pay phone prices up, it's almost worth getting a cell phone. To the woman in the toilet bowl commercial: Thanks, but I'm declining your invitation to smell your toilet.
Those who still say Atlanta is a city too busy to hate certainly haven't read the (lewspapers lately. I paid for a brick in Centennial Olympic Park 1 8 months ago and it's still not entered into the brick locator computer. do you suppose takes longer, brick laying or data entry? I love Mondays because that's when the Vent is the longest. I saw a sign at the Waffle House that said, "Get your paycheck here." I went to get one, but they wouldn't give it up. IRS: Irritating, Rude and Stupid.
A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer. Smith Wesson: The original point and click interface. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder. RUSH HOUR RECAP There were many trou-. ble spots during Thursday's rainy morning commute.
The worst was on I-7S near the Cobb-Cherokee county line, where a tanker loaded aviation fuel overturned and began leaking i Before Traf- fie on 1-75 southbound was slowed by a wreck near Chastain Road before 7 a.m. In Gwin-; nett County, traffic was jammed in on 1-85 'southbound due to an accident at Jimmy Carter f)oulevard. A pair of wrecks were reported fter 7 a.m. on 1-20 westbound near Capitol i Avenue. A multi-vehicle accident caused slowing after 7 a.m.
on the Downtown Con-! nector northbound between Pine and Spring I ftreets. In DeKalb County, a wreck was reported before 7:30 a.m on the ramp from 1-20 westbound to 1-285 northbound, Motorists on Ga. 400 northbound found traffic slowed before 9 a.m. by an accident past the Toll Plaza. I i Thursday morning's troubles spilled into the afternoon, as drivers headed toward north Cobb end Cherokee counties still had to deal with a mess from that tanker spill.
A 4:09 p.m. wreck on northbound 1-985 blocked all lanes over Ga. 20. Two tractor-trailers tangling in an accident on 1-285 before 1-20 on the west side blocked the southbound lanes and stopped cars back to Paces Ferry Road. An accident blocked the ramp from 1-20 eastbound to Wes ley Chapel Road at 4:49.
A 4:55 accident on Barrett and Cobb parkways slowed commut-i era to Bells Ferry Road. An accident at 5:27 on southbound Ga. 400 at the Oenridge Con nector caused delays. A 5:49 wreck lnvolv-; ing a milk tanker truck in the right lane aggra-i vated the snarled traffic on 1-75 northbound after Wade Green Road. ON ACCESS ATLANTA For current traffic conditions and Environmentalists rally around mayor Campbell fires back at Arlington's claims By Charmagne Helton STAFF WRITER' Attempting to counter, claims by his opponent that Atlanta's water is unsafe, Mayor Bill Campbell held a news conference Thursday to tout the endorsements of several environmental leaders.
who support him for re-election. JOHN DAVID MERCER Associated Press ing in that white world. It has changed some, but not to the extent it should have. We do have more black reporters involved with the white media now and I think they are allowed to come out with a little more information about blacks. But there's still a long way to go yet." ERNEST WITHERS, 75, a premiere photographer of the civil rights movement who began his professional journalistic career at The Memphis World in 1946: "The mainstream press of today is more diverse.
From 1968, We've almost done an about-face. A young African-American Withers musician who was very popular died in Memphis last week. The newspaper gave him a decent story. That story never would have been done then." one majority needed to avoid a runoff with his closest challenger, Marvin Arlington. Arlington has criticized the mayor's handling of water and sewer issues, often pointing to the numerous fines Atlanta has accumulated for water and sewer viola tions during the Campbell administration.
Campbell made a point of noting that Atlanta's water, sewer and infrastructure problems did not begin with him. "The facility with the sewer spill a few months ago was built 1936, Campbell explained. "I regard myself as a dedicated environmentalist" versa. "Usually, I'm going against the grain," she said. "That's how I can go 400 miles" in eieht or more hours.
On Thursday, McCarthy said, as soon as she realized it was raining, "You know it's going to be rough." As for all of us in the great creeping, idling masses, we need to fmd ways to be patient Soothing music. Language tapes. Doughnut shops. MARTA. "I iust trv to zone out." said Bob Hol- royd of Marietta.
"And I'm a great believer in paying attention to my driving, so it's hard to zone out." Waters has a theory for why rainy rush hours are so bad even when there are no accidents which was the case on several freewavs Thursday. i "When it rains, the capacity of the road ways goes down," he said. "The reason for goes down is because people start, naturally and very rightly so, driving further apart When they have more distance between them, it takes ud more capacity and you have less room on the roadway for the cars." "He's absolutely correct," said Kalland, who is always excited to hear new tramc theory. "It's sort of like a bloated inter-" State." Comments art welcome. Fax 404-526-5746, e-mail: trafficajc.com or write Joey Udford, AjC P.O.
fiox 4689, Atlanta, Ga. 30302. How would you characterize the mainstream American press today? GEORGE COLEMAN: "I think the main stream press does so much better. Now I see Cynthia Tucker, the black woman who heads the Constitution editorial page, taking Martin Luther King III to task and her editorial recently that took Bill Campbell and Marvin Arlington to task. That couldn't have happened in 4 Coleman 1968 the time of the Kerner Commission report." LANCIE THOMAS, 80, publisher emeritus of The Mobile (Ala.) Beacon and Alabama Citizen, a paper she co-founded with her husband, Frank, in 1943: "To some extent, the mainstream media is still bask Bob Woodall of the Georgia Sierra Club, Bill Eisenhaur of Safely Treating our Pollution, and Vivian Steadman of Save Atlanta's Fragile Environment were among about a dozen leaders and activists at Piedmont Park for the announcement.
"It's critical now to support the mayor," Woodall said. "Over the last four years, Mayor Campbell has dealt with the problems head on. He did not turn his back. He is working to solve issues." Though he received 46 percent of the votes during Tuesday's general election, Campbell did not win the 50 percent plus THE LANE RANGER JOEY LEDFORD DOTs Traffic Management Center was a beehive of activity. "At one point, we were showing three accidents on the Downtown Connector, one on 285 in the Southside, one on Tara Boulevard and some in Gwinnett," said Marion Waters, state traffic engineer.
"We had our hands full." But if it took an hour or two getting to or from work Thursday, here's something that might make you feel better: How would you like to drive 400 miles a day in Atlanta traffic? Welcome to the world of Kim McCarthy, a mpbile traffic reporter for Total one of the city's two traffic reporting ser-vices. "It is really stressful," said McCarthy. "I have almost been killed so many times, I need hazard pay." The key to McCarthy's job is finding the traffic jams without getting stuck in them. So she finds a way to be going outbound when everyone elsejs coming in, or vice I 7 -T X. Morning rush hour was bad all over The leaking tanker truck on 1-75 northbound at Wade Green Road Thursday was, as traffic sage Keith Kalland put it, just the "centerpiece" of a disastrous morning rush hour.
Northbound motorists were routed on a circuitous detour. Cobb police Lt George Hatfield said the Department of Transportation's big message boards alerted motor- ists to get off the interstate and Cobb traf- -fic engineers retimed traffic lights along the detour route and U.S. 41 to keep the masses moving. "Everybody got on the same sheet of music and it worked," said Hatfield. Cobb and Cherokee commuters can take some consolation in knowing they weren't alone in their misery.
"Ironically, the tanker was not the worst of it, just the most spectacular," said Kalland, eye in the sky for WGST, Peach and 96Rock, who was himself stuck in late morning traffic when he called me. "It was the centerpiece." Virtually everyone who commutes in Atlanta had a miserable morning rush hour, more because of the heavy rain than accidents, though there were plenty. Ga. 400, 1-85, 1-20 and the Downtown Connec-' tor were all parking lots for much of the morning. "To be perfectly honest, the worst was coming out of DeKalb on 85," said Kalland.
"It took 90 minutes to get from Old Peacht-ree to Shallowford. 1-20 east was wors4 than 1-75 1 helpful commuting links: i.
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