A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Diversity IN-BRIEF

By Quill

Dallas Morning News to launch Spanish daily

The Dallas Morning News will launch a Spanish-language daily for the area’s 1.4 million Hispanics. It is expected to be out in the fourth quarter of the year.

The new paper – which has yet to be named – will cover local and international, business, lifestyle and sports news, and it will have a separate Web site. Most of the content will be original, but wire service content and parent Belo’s correspondents from Cuba, South America and other locales will be used. The broadsheet will be accessible via subscription and at newsstands.

The project is headed by Morning News Vice President and Executive Editor Gilbert Bailon. Bailon is a past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Previously, the newspaper published a weekly Spanish-language lifestyle advertorial magazine. It was direct-mailed to 100,000 households, but ceased publication in fall 2001.

Fox host criticized for using ethnic slur

Bill O’Reilly, popular host of The O’Reilly Factor, came under heavy criticism in early February for using a bigoted slur in reference to Mexicans on his program. The O’Reilly Factor is the highest rated primetime news program on cable television.

The criticism came after the Fox News commentator used the term “wetback” while discussing immigration problems on the U.S.-Mexico border on a Feb. 6 show. In the segment, which featured Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), the host said military forces should be used to stop illegal immigration and smuggling along the border.

He continued, saying, “We’d save lives because Mexican wetbacks, whatever you want to call them, the coyotes, they’re not going to do what they’re doing now, so people aren’t going to die in the desert,” according to a transcript of the program.

The term “wetback” refers to Mexicans who illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico by swimming the Rio Grande River, and it is considered by many to be offensive.

This is not, however, the first time O’Reilly has used the term. A Jan. 5, 2003 report in The Morning Call of Allentown, Penn., said that during a fundraising event in Easton, Penn., O’Reilly made criticisms of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for not doing more to keep “the wetbacks” out of the U.S.

News channel aims to fill BET void

Florida lawyer and cable television entrepreneur Willie Gary will launch a 24-channel news and talk channel. The channel, with a focus on black viewers, will attempt to grab those lost when Black Entertainment Television ended its news program.

The news channel, Gary said, will be added to his Atlanta-based Major Broadcasting Co. cable network sometime within 2003 or early 2004.

Greater attention has recently been spent on the black television audience, emphasized by the $3 billion purchase of BET in 2003 by Viacom Inc. Ad money targeting black audiences has increased at the same time that overall advertising dollars in 2001 decreased.

In January, a deal was announced between Comcast Corp. and Lanham-based radio company Radio One Inc. to launch a cable entertainment channel sometime in late 2003. The new channel will target the audience that BET has held for years with little competition.

Gary’s new endeavor, to be known as MBC News, will thematically follow a parent channel that started in 1998 as a religious network. That station now says it is a family and sports channel.

“We will provide a top-notch news product 24-7 and we’re going to provide a steady diet of information,” said Travis Mitchell, executive vice president of the network. Plans for the station had been in the works for two years, according to Mitchell, although he said the BET news programming cut “has created an enormous opportunity for us.”

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