UPDATE: Richard Prince and the Maynard Institute appear to be moving forward with the column as of Monday afternoon. “I intend to resume Journal-isms with a Maynard Institute-provided coding person on Wednesday, but also continue exploring options to make the column financially viable,” explained Prince in a statement. Evelyn Hsu added her hopes for some kind of agreement to move forward. “I’m optimistic that we’re getting things back on track,” she told AllDigitocracy.
Popular media watchdog column might become subscription only
Journal-isms, a popular media watchdog column produced by the Oakland, Ca.-based Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, is on indefinite hiatus, its creator Richard Prince reported over the weekend.
“The Maynard Institute has asked me to add coding my own column to my duties (inserting pictures, adding the links, laying it out), and I have said that is unacceptable,” Prince told AllDigitocracy. “I simply do not have time and view that as a setback, despite any financial issues Maynard might be having. So during the ‘hiatus’ I will be exploring options such as relocating to another hosting site and/or making “Journal-isms” subscription only.”
Founded 20 years ago, Journal-isms originally ran in the National Association of Black Journalists Journal until 1998. In 2002, Dori Maynard, who passed away in 2015, then president of the Maynard Institute, added the column to the organization’s website, where it currently resides. TheRoot, owned by Univision, also licenses the column.
Journal-isms has been a forum for news about diversity in journalism actively since its beginning.
Prince said he believes the Maynard Institute can no longer afford to cover production costs for the column, a charge Maynard representatives reject.
“It’s not a matter of whether we can afford it, it’s a matter of allocation of resources,” said Evelyn Hsu, executive director of e Maynard Institute. “Any organization that’s working in the digital space, any journalism organization, has to constantly look at its priorities and how it is allocating its resources. As part of a strategic review that we are conducting with funding from the Knight Foundation, we are studying our digital strategy to make sure all our activities have the greatest impact in achieving our mission of promoting diversity in media hiring and content. We admire and respect Richard Prince. While we hope he will continue to help us advance our mission, we wish him the best if he chooses to go elsewhere.”
The Maynard Institute itself has been around since the 1970s, and focuses its efforts on promoting diversity in the media through improved coverage, hiring, business practices, and training programs that equip journalists with the tools they need to work in news across the platforms.
Hsu declined to say how much it costs the institute to produce Prince’s column, she also did not know how, or whether, the hiatus would impact the institute’s licensing agreement with TheRoot.com.
The last column was published on the institute’s website Saturday, Feb. 13. It contained news about the passing of veteran journalist and NABJ co-founder Acel Moore.
Journal-isms publishes three times a week. Prince aggregates much of the content with some original reporting and, he said, a layout editor formats the text and images. The layout editor is now leaving, Prince said, and the Maynard Institute is asking him to take on the responsibility himself.
“I have enough responsibilities,” he explained. “I start at 7:30 a.m. and there are days I go until 2 in the morning – adding in the production for the column would be too much.”
Prince said he hoped the hiatus would hopefully not be long and that he is already looking at other options.
“This is not the end of the column and there are ways to proceed,” Prince said. “Perhaps we’ll move it to my own site, journal-ism.com, or it will be brought back using a subscription model where you would pay to receive the column, like a lot of other online content, but I am speaking to other journalism schools and programs, and to people who are interested in speaking to diversity in the news business.”