JFP INDEX: VIP White Jackson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JFP INDEX: VIP White Jackson

The November 2009 edition of The Clarion-Ledger's now-shrunken VIP Jackson Magazine is a study in how (not) to publish an extremely white publication in a majority-black metro— by a company (Gannett) that supposedly prides itself on media diversity. We counted faces for the real skinny:

Population of Jackson per 2000 Census: 184,256
Of that number, how many residents are black: 130,151
Number of VIPs Clarion-Ledger says it prints a month: 20,000
Number of pages in the November 2009 edition: 100
Page on which the 100th white face appears: 20
Page on which the 200th white face appears: 47
Page on which the 300th white face appears: 74
Page on which the 400th white face appears: 81
Page on which the 500th white face appears: 92
Page on which the 1st black face appears: 44
Page on which the 2nd black face appears: 60
Page on which the 3rd black face appears: 70
Page on which the 28th/last black face appears: 93
First page with more than one black face on it: 72
Total number of black faces in November 2009 VIP ads: 1
Total number of white faces in November 2009 VIP ads: 126
Total number of white faces in November 2009 edition: 561
Total number of black faces in November 2009 VIP: 28
Percentage of Jackson population that is black: 70.6
Percentage of VIP Jackson faces that are black: 4.7

Previous Comments

ID
153076
Comment
...and this exercise in statistics proves what? That VIP has the same reputation as the Northside Sun but in magazine form?
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-05T09:26:18-06:00
ID
153084
Comment
Aren't most of the pics in that thing taken at fundraisers and benefits? Maybe if there were better AA representation at said events it would be different.
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T10:28:25-06:00
ID
153085
Comment
...just a little salty.....
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-05T10:30:57-06:00
ID
153089
Comment
Maybe if they knew about them Rex then they would. Methinks a lot of these events are planned w/o a push to the AA community in miind. Especially those that are held at area country clubs. Not saying its done on purpose of course but the oversight has just become commonplace.Perhaps the promotions/marketing outlets they use dont reach into AA communities. i.e radio or print media. puzzling.
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T11:48:59-06:00
ID
153094
Comment
And incidentally. There were a ton of AA folks at the storytellers ball (which was incorrectly identified as being at a Country Club) but alas only 2 photos. Dunno. Puzzling
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T12:26:48-06:00
ID
153097
Comment
I've often lamented the lack of caucasian representation in JET magazine. Oh well....
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T12:56:21-06:00
ID
153101
Comment
That was a joke, B. Try developing a sense of humor.
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T13:30:35-06:00
ID
153102
Comment
Really Rex? REALLY LMAO. Hi-Larious. There probably wouldnt be a need for mags like Jet or Ebony or Essence if there wasnt seemingly exclusion from mags like VIP. whether intended or not. Just look at the mag. Look at those stats. Its not like Al Sharpton came in here and made up some numbers and erased some pics in VIP to cause a stir LOL.
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T13:32:30-06:00
ID
153103
Comment
I'm confused. I hear people trash that publication, and then bitch about not being in it. That's like talking trash about a woman who just shot you down. Hi-larious, indeed.
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T13:36:34-06:00
ID
153104
Comment
I think it's kind of cheesy for the JFP to put this innuendo up and not follow through on it. Come on, Donna! I want to know if we're interpreting this how ya'll wanted.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-05T13:38:43-06:00
ID
153105
Comment
I don't mean to present a "whoa-is-me" disposition here, but I must say that I am so sick of this same ole arguement here in Jackson. First off, every week there is some racial discrimination uncovered in the JFP. Maybe not "every" week", but enough. So, my concern is that as many steps forward as we take trying to be a progressive city, we are met with two steps backward. If VIP wants to be a caucasian magazine they have every right to do that. I couldn't care less. However, the magazine is called VIP JACKSON and it is carried by our local newpaper - The Clarion Ledger which is certainly not a white publication. It's the city's publication. The city that is mostly African American. You simply can not represent THIS CITY without representing African American folk. I go on the website daily and to the photos once or twice more. Not only are there too few black people but I really have no idea where they find the events to go to. They certainly aren't at the events that I go to. Although i was at the ST Ball and at the Blues Under the Starlight and you'd think those were white events by the photos posted on the website. I'm here to say there so were not. Bottom line is that I'm so sick of this fight with race here. I can understand how people who put in work for change get fed up and move away. I can see how people want to take their children to more progessive cities/states to offer them a fairer take on life. It's frustrating to see and read comments like Rex's above. It's NOT a joke. It's not funny. It is not to be made light of. This is a struggle for black people and it's NOT getting better, it's only changing it's face. It's only smiling more and putting up a prettier picture; where before the illusion was masked more. DO NOT SAY YOU ARE REPRESENTING JACKSON, MS IF YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTING BLACK AND WHITE. We are both. NOt one or the other! GET IT RIGHT!!!!
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-05T13:39:24-06:00
ID
153106
Comment
...but I would like to know what JFP is hoping to gain from presenting this information. Is this just to inform the readers? Is this to cause a stir? Is this to make us stop reading the Clarion Ledger? What is the positive that is to come from printing this negative information and bringing it to our attention? I'm sure there is one other than the clear disdain for the CL. Please share. Because if you just wanted to piss off a few black folks...consider the job well done.
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-05T13:45:15-06:00
ID
153107
Comment
While the city of Jackson itself may be 70% african american, VIP is a magazine for the metro area which has a white majority. It's a little disingenuous to post those statistics when the photographs are from an event that might have taken place in Madison County or have Madison County residents in it.
Author
QB
Date
2009-11-05T13:48:05-06:00
ID
153108
Comment
"Clear disdain for the CL" is like saying G Beck doesn't always side with Pres. Obama.
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T13:51:48-06:00
ID
153109
Comment
Yeah Rex...those people really tick me off too! :-/ Cuz ironically, I AM in it(newest issue)! and Im STILL a little puzzled as to why the ratio isnt better. Just sayin. and again. Im not(cant speak for anyone else) saying its intentional. ..and again that "Metro" concept is a phantom concept only practiced by us and never reciprocated.
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T14:05:51-06:00
ID
153110
Comment
."and again that "Metro" concept is a phantom concept only practiced by us and never reciprocated." could you expound on that?
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T14:08:18-06:00
ID
153113
Comment
Gladly Rex, thanks for asking. And dont want to get off topic but... This "Metro Jackson" concept is mostly championed by Jackson. (Like creating a Metro Chamber when all the other counties Madison, Rankin have their own seperate ones). We're the ones always reaching out to embrace or surrounding bedroom communities, trying to work with them, trying to drill in their heads that Jackson's success IS the metro's success. But..those places actively campaign to take business away from the metro. They woo exisiting businesses. Steal conventioneers from jackson hotels that the CVB have worked hard to get here. Campaign to get things like the International Ballet and Crossroads out in the burbs. And we see this happening and continue to smile and take it up the keister. Its a phantom concept. Madison, Flowood, Rankin WANT to see us fail and work toward that in. At least from what Ive see and been privvy too in the business world. Hope Im wrong
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T14:35:30-06:00
ID
153116
Comment
Kaze- are there podcasts for your shows on MPB? I heard part of one a few weeks ago and then got distracted by a phone call
Author
bill_jackson
Date
2009-11-05T14:47:20-06:00
ID
153117
Comment
Theyre at mpbonline.org. go to Podcasts and then scroll down. Each show is usually up by Wednesday of the following week. If we're missing one shoot us an email at [email protected] and Ill make sure it goes up. thanks
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T14:55:33-06:00
ID
153118
Comment
sorry [email protected]
Author
Kamikaze
Date
2009-11-05T14:58:06-06:00
ID
153119
Comment
I'm not sure what my take is on this being printed. On one hand I am very glad that this has been exposed. But on the other hand, I have had it with all the limelight given to this ridiculousness. And it seems to be some frequent in some areas of our media market. Now, if this being printed is going to rally the troops and people are going to start holding VIP accountable, then okay. But if this is just printed to say our paper has more black folks than yours, then I'm not sure that's the most effective way to get the point across regarding then taking our money. Seems to me that it's important to call out these people, if we are calling them out in an effor to right a wrong. I personally don't think VIP could give two craps about JFP printing this or our take on them putting black faces in their magazine. As someone up there put it, it's for "METRO" Jackson....not us...HA! So, causing a stir in our own community about what is not concerning is only contributing to high blood pressure and frustration. NOT resolution.
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-05T15:26:48-06:00
ID
153120
Comment
We report, y'all decide. ;-) It looks like reporting some hard facts about a publication that supposedly represents *Jackson* (that's in the title, not VIP Metro Jackson) and by the world's largest newspaper company that brags about its media diversity has had exactly the effect I hoped for: getting people talking about media diversity. I have no ulterior motive other than getting people to think about something very important. I'm involved in media-diversity efforts nationally, and one of the primary goals on this front is to get people to notice when media outlets (especially those corporate ones making a bunch of money off a community) are ignoring entire segments of the community. There are many, many "VIP" events around Jackson and the metro every month that many African Americans attend--from the University Club to large churches in West Jackson. It is also my understanding that VIP Jackson is not distributed to the entire city. Perhaps a name change is in order? At least the Northside Sun has never pretended that it covers *Jackson*. And, Queen, of course I'm calling them out to right a wrong--by raising awareness and getting people talking about diversity. A good media outlet's job is to point out things other people aren't willing to and hopefully get others to take action on it, so it's up to people reading this to decide what you're going to do to use the information for positive change. Our job is to report it. It's what we have done for seven years now, and will never stop. It shouldn't come as a surprise to you or anyone. Our goal is to bridge gaps, and if people don't notice them, they ain't gonna get bridged. Y'all, carry on. Very happy to see the conversation this is causing.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T16:57:35-06:00
ID
153121
Comment
Even if we include the entire metro area, VIP Jackson is still ludicrously white. Hell, VIP Jackson is statistically whiter than Madison (which is about 7% black).
Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-05T16:58:19-06:00
ID
153122
Comment
I think it's kind of cheesy for the JFP to put this innuendo up and not follow through on it. What do you mean: not follow through on it? And it's not innuendo. It's numbers. And y'all will be seeing more JFP Indexes in upcoming issues; we used to do them a lot. There's something about hard, cold numbers that can lead to great conversation and thought. Also, Tom and QB, I have in my head that the Jackson metro is about 60 percent African American. Anyone else know if that's true? I don't have time to research it right now.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T17:05:01-06:00
ID
153123
Comment
Oh, and the reason I noticed how white this VIP Jackson was in the first place is that I looked out the special section about Mistletoe Marketplace one of the recent Sundays in the Ledger. I live among such diversity that it it simply shocking to see something so white put out in our city. In my media-diversity work, we often point out to people that when you are a media outlet in a city as diverse as ours, and especially one that is not professing to only cover a certain group, you almost have to work harder to be so exclusive to non-white faces. Or, you have to be wearing massive blinders and spend most of your time on a very small patch of geography. I mean, are only white Jacksonians "VIPs"? Really? That's not the Jackson I see every day. Either way, it's not healthy for a media outlet (even a superficial one filled with party pictures) to ignore such large parts of its city. You really start to wonder how much some media outlets have changed since the Kerner Commission's report. And if you don't know what I mean by that, by all means, Google "Kerner Commission" and "media." This is important stuff. The lack of media diversity should *never* be ignored.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T17:10:13-06:00
ID
153124
Comment
Donna writes: "I mean, are only white Jacksonians 'VIPs'? Really?" That's what bugged me about the VIP Jackson name even when it was an independent publication (and had the same problem): if you have a "VIP" publication in a 73% black city and define the "VIP" crowd as >95% white, what message are you sending? "Also, Tom and QB, I have in my head that the Jackson metro is about 60 percent African American. Anyone else know if that's true? I don't have time to research it right now." Hinds County is 61% black as of the 2000 census, and more recent data suggests to me that it's probably closer to 64% now. But if we go based on the tri-county area (Hinds, Rankin, Madison) and use 500,000 as the baseline for Jackson plus the suburbs (and I don't know how accurate that number still is), I think it leans like 52% white. I'd have to check on that. I know Ridgeland turned out to be a lot more diverse than I'd expected it to be the last time I checked (something like 20% black), but most of the other suburbs are >90% white.
Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-05T17:25:14-06:00
ID
153125
Comment
Well, it's not like this comes anywhere near representing the metro, either, eh? So much for that excuse, QB.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T17:29:03-06:00
ID
153126
Comment
Indeed. In fact, it's notably less diverse than Madison (92.5% white) and Brandon (87% white), so even if it were limited to predominantly white suburbs, it wouldn't be representative. Add Jackson and Canton into the demographic mix and any claims that it represents the Jackson/metro area, or Jackson/metro "VIPs," is ludicrous.
Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-05T17:46:05-06:00
ID
153127
Comment
Ahem: Mainstreaming and Diversity Are Gannett's Core Values Except in its party-picture magazines? Of course, there is a lot of concern that corporate media is turning away from diversity since their readerships started tanking. It makes no sense, of course; younger readers expect diversity and, uh, our president is black. How stuck in the past do you have to be to publish a magazine with 4.7 percent black faces in a city with our demographics -- and pretend you represent the city as a whole? It's just wrong.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T18:06:21-06:00
ID
153128
Comment
JFP is being disingenuous in trying to paint VIP Jackson magazine as a publication that strictly represents the city... I've always seen that publication as something that would appeal to suburbanites primarily... therefore I could care less about it. HOWEVER, perhaps the magazine shouldn't call itself "VIP Jackson" if it does not intend to cater to a more diverse crowd.
Author
rnpolen
Date
2009-11-05T18:20:47-06:00
ID
153130
Comment
It's not disingenuous, rnpolen, because it's called VIP Jackson. However, as Tom has pointed out, those 4.7 percent black faces don't stand up well if you also include the entire metro in the equation. No doubt, VIP has a suburban feel, but that's beside the point. It's not not black people don't live in the suburbs, too. And I agree with your last statement wholeheartedly.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-05T19:27:38-06:00
ID
153131
Comment
VIP Jackson is a contrivance to sell advertising.
Author
RealMaxwell
Date
2009-11-05T20:10:55-06:00
ID
153134
Comment
Just for kicks I did a rough count of the number of blacks and whites in pictures in the flip version of the JFP. Black- 38 White- 109 And ya'll are fussing about VIP Jackson?..lol
Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-11-05T23:02:04-06:00
ID
153136
Comment
Is that not a legitimate point, JFP? If the whole issue is a lack of representation among African Americans in a majority AA city... then it doesn't seem like JFP is doing much better... Just an honest question... Should you guys be the ones bringing this issue up if you're only having 35% representation among the majority community?
Author
rnpolen
Date
2009-11-06T08:12:23-06:00
ID
153138
Comment
Thanks JFP for bringing this to light - I picked up a copy of VIP JXN many months ago, flipped through it, saw nothing that appealed to me and wondered why they named it VIP JXN. Those pics took me back to the late 60s when I was a little girl growing up in Jackson, and I never saw anything in the mainstream paper that reflected my community. If I remember, the Jackson Daily news which was the late evening paper would feature the news from our community.... And of course there were papers in our community which reported on our social news, etc.
Author
lanier77
Date
2009-11-06T08:57:10-06:00
ID
153139
Comment
Just for the record, I would not call what I felt when I read these numbers "surprised" by any stretch. I wasn't surprised at the numbers, nor was I surprised that JFP printed them, Donna. So then the question becomes....What now? I ask this of the readers who actually care about the numbers here; who are bothered, concerned, embarassed. What is the next move?
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-06T09:01:48-06:00
ID
153141
Comment
As I said, we report, y'all decide, Queen. ;-) To you, Bubba: Trying to play gotcha, huh? Here's the link to the flip of our current issue so anyone could see what they think: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/pages/v8.08/ We'll stack our percentage of images against VIP's any day. And ours varies greatly; some sections and issues are often more "whiter" or "blacker" than others. We don't argue for splitting issues or sections down the middle, but we do believe strongly that having the first black face on page 44 -- especially when you only put out 100 pages in a whole month -- is an abomination in this market. By the way, we can't control all the images people use in our ads; however, we routinely suggest that people use stock photos of people of color in them. And many clients ask us for more diverse ads than they do of other publications because they know that we appeal to a diverse readership. When I'm doing diversity consulting, I always suggest that papers not only think about adding diversity on the editorial side, but deliberately make the ads as diverse as possible, whenever they have a choice or the ability to steer the decision.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-06T09:17:08-06:00
ID
153142
Comment
Baquan, we do cover diverse functions, participate in them and sponsor them (even those that are, frankly, majority African American and not so "diverse.") If you mean party pictures, we don't really have space to devote to that in the print publication -- too much real content to get to y'all. However, anybody can post photos to LoungeList.com, and we have galleries that we are about to ramp up to a new level. And Queen, after the lack of public outrage after we pointing out that Wyatt Emmerich gave a cash prize for a columnist who wrote in his paper that blacks should give thanks every day for slavery, not to mention the fact that Charles Tisdale with his Brown Society legacy just got a library named after him, I'm not holding my breath that people will do anything to change media who promote racial division. But those of who care about these things can sure keep trying. And inviting others to join us.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-06T09:19:48-06:00
ID
153143
Comment
These folks can print all the white folks they want in their publication....just rename the freak'n magazine. I repeat: DO NOT SAY YOU ARE REPRESENTING JACKSON, MS IF YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTING BLACK AND WHITE. We are both. NOt one or the other! GET IT RIGHT!!!!
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-06T09:23:04-06:00
ID
153144
Comment
[quote]As I said, we report, y'all decide, Queen. ;-)[/quote] Donna, you know what 90% of your readership is going to decide given statistics like that. The rest of us are cynics, I suppose.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-06T09:24:15-06:00
ID
153145
Comment
Actually, I don't know what 90 percent of our readership is going to decide, Iron. Considering how diverse our readership is, it'd be remarkable to get 90 percent of y'all to decide on anything. ;-) I will add something to what you said, Queen: We are not only black and white, either. And the JFP's constant struggle is to cover other ethnicities better. We need everyone's help on outreach to Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, etc. -- please suggest people and events for us to cover. Send to: [email protected] And, Bubba, I just looked at the flipbook, and your numbers about our current issue aren't correct. And I assume you're not lumping people who are obviously neither black or white in the white category. I didn't when I counted VIP; there weren't a lot, but I didn't include them in this analysis because the numbers were so small. That's a different index for a different day. And I will say now that none of us fare well beyond black and white except, of course, for the Latino newspaper. Sure, the percentages of "other" groups are low in the metro, but that doesn't mean they should not be covered well. So help us, all.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-06T09:35:20-06:00
ID
153146
Comment
Also, someone pointed out to me yesterday that The Clarion-Ledger has taken up a lot of the VIP Jackson racks, apparently reduced the print run on it, shrunk its size and is now mailing it to households in certain zip codes. I wonder who on here gets it now? That person's theory is that they have repositioned it for a whiter audience now that they are printing fewer. I also noticed that they seem to be shying away from having the Ledger or Gannett in it anywhere, including the masthead; perhaps that's because they're giving up the illusion of diversity? It sure seems like they're content to publish 20,000 copies a month overwhelmingly filled with white people. That's the Ledger's choice, but as Queen says, why don't they call it something more appropriate? Maybe the Clarion-Informer? (Wink.) Also recall that this is the same publication that is going after a local-owned black business that uses "VIP" in its name, as the JFP reported recently. Uh, why, if they're not going to cover African Americans? Corporate Goliath strikes again.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-06T09:53:36-06:00
ID
153147
Comment
I feel that VIP is a silly publication and don't spend much time thinking about who is in it and who is not. Yes, I think I would like it more if the complexion of the picture was more "fudge stripe" and less "chocolate chip," but the publication is little more than a grown up version of fraternity/sorority "swap pictures" and therefore not meritorious in content or worthy of much thought. What IS deserving of great merit and praise is the fact that so many people are willing to discuss this potentially volatile issue with civility, honesty and even with humor. Not long ago, discussions like this were considered taboo. both sides would have dug in their hells and spouted little more than rhetoric. Very few would have listened beyond the sweet sounds of their own voices. If we want to move past race as THE defining issue, then we must talk and talk and talk about it until we are blue in the face. We must challenge each other's long held beliefs. We must do this with respect but we must be firm in our honest convictions. We must challenge not only each other, but also ourselves. Racism is like a rot in the fabric of our city and the only cure for rot is fresh air and sunshine!
Author
Tom Ramsey
Date
2009-11-06T11:01:04-06:00
ID
153148
Comment
[quote]Actually, I don't know what 90 percent of our readership is going to decide, Iron. Considering how diverse our readership is, it'd be remarkable to get 90 percent of y'all to decide on anything. ;-)[/quote] Ah, there's the "Aw Shucks" attitude! I knew it was somewhere. Why all the fuss if the VIP is going down? I'm sure it'll be on the block if times get tougher. As for percentages... We've got most of the usual commentators on this page, with three of us falling into conservative/contrarian positions, four into the liberal camp, one "Can't we all get along" (We can, unless it's about politics!) and Tom, whose point is fuzzy to me. Someone can recount the players and see if I've got it right, I've got chili to make today.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-06T13:10:07-06:00
ID
153150
Comment
I'm a little late on this, but I found some numbers on the percentages of black in the metro area. This is as of 2000, but Hinds County was 61.1% black, Madison at 37.5% and Rankin at 17.1%, so the average is 38.5%. If you add in Copiah and Simpson counties, it's even higher at around 40%.
Author
golden eagle
Date
2009-11-06T14:13:07-06:00
ID
153152
Comment
Bubba, if were to apply the same measure to this issue of the JFP that the index applied to VIP, the first black face appears on page 1, if we count the cover, page 2 if we count the advertising, and page 3 if we count the first page of content. No one has claimed that a publication has to exactly mirror the demographics of its readers. Even if your numbers were accurate, no one would complain about VIP if the first black face appeared on page 1 and 35 percent of the rest were black. Don't be obtuse.
Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2009-11-06T14:42:46-06:00
ID
153154
Comment
Brian- I just did a quick count, but they aren't far off. Wasn't trying to be scientific, just a rough count. Not that it matters anyway. I think the whole discussion is ridiculous. I really don't care if the JFP has 100% black faces in their pictures or the VIP has 100% white faces in theirs, or what page those pictures are on. This has to one of the most unimportant topics ever talked about on here. My 2 cents.
Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-11-06T15:29:31-06:00
ID
153157
Comment
No idea why I'm biting on this, but Ironghost, I'd love to know which one of those categories you've placed me in....I'd choose to think neither, since I'm not a usual player here. I can't remember the last time I posted on this site as a matter of fact. And BubbaT, there have been some way less important, long drawn out topics discussed on here. This one however, is important. Maybe not to you. Maybe not so necessary that it drag on for days as no one here is changing anyone's mind on anything...it's just a lot of talking. But it is still conversation and new information. Information is always important, whether it's important to you personally or not. (just my 2 cents)
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-06T16:57:25-06:00
ID
153159
Comment
I think you were the one I pointed out asking about the divisiveness of the issue. I'd have to go back and make sure I attributed it right. It was before I made Chili, so...
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-06T17:27:53-06:00
ID
153160
Comment
Bubba, like most things, it's only unimportant if it has no affect on *your* life. If you were an African American, I expect you'd feel differently about your home-town media organization that espouses diversity and then puts zero effort into actually being diverse. Some of us would call that a lie. You know, like when a mega-corporation says "our people are our greatest asset," just before laying off 15 percent of its workforce.
Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-11-06T18:42:09-06:00
ID
153161
Comment
Actually, Ronni, I'm curious where this whole Media Diversity progrom will end. After you've shamed VIP into submission, what's next? Are ya'll going to hit Supertalk for not having enough liberals? You're jumping to a conclusion that may not be warranted here.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-07T11:59:38-06:00
ID
153170
Comment
This has to one of the most unimportant topics ever talked about on here. My 2 cents. Bubba, just because you as a white man don't care about media diversity doesn't mean that it's not important to others (including other white men). I guess it won't help to try to explain that part of the huge problem with a lack of media diversity is that, too often, an industry largely run by white men decides what is "important" to everyone else. I'm guessing the irony of you declaring this is "unimportant" is lost on you? Actually, Ronni, I'm curious where this whole Media Diversity progrom will end. Uh, "this whole Media Diversity program" cannot end until the media represent all Americans. It really doesn't matter a hill of beans what you and Bubba think about that; we will keep working toward media diversity. It's vital.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-07T22:14:59-06:00
ID
153174
Comment
Also, Iron, how do you categorize the "liberal camp" on this issue? Does that mean those who favor media diversity? It sounds like you're admitting to some partisan division on race issues, although I'm sure that wasn't your intention. But you should watch what you admit to a bit more carefully. Personally, I don't see anything partisan here. Many conservatives I know support diversity about as much as I do. But many of them are not so happy with the Republican Party, in part for the same reasons. Is *everything* partisan with you? Good golly, how limiting.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-08T00:11:58-06:00
ID
153175
Comment
I said "Progrom" for a reason, Donna. I'm wondering how far people will go to silence those who don't "fit in" with the program. When you start advocating taking people off the air in the name of "Diversity", you're talking a Governmental intrusion of epic proportions. [quote]It really doesn't matter a hill of beans what you and Bubba think about that; we will keep working toward media diversity.[/quote] *snicker* It matters what Bubba and I think if you're really behind freedom of speech. If it doesn't matter what we think, you're talking about limiting freedom of speech, which is all I've seen behind the so-called "media diversity" movement.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-08T00:16:01-06:00
ID
153176
Comment
[quote]It sounds like you're admitting to some partisan division on race issues, although I'm sure that wasn't your intention. But you should watch what you admit to a bit more carefully.[/quote] Good god, this again? Donna, you know me better than that.
Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-11-08T00:19:12-06:00
ID
153177
Comment
What "is" you saying, Iron? I got my eyes on you!
Author
Walt
Date
2009-11-08T00:24:36-06:00
ID
153181
Comment
I think I know you better than that, Iron. I'm really surprised to hear you on this one, though. It's remarkable to see you twist yourself into a pretzel on us pointing out the massive hypocrisy of this huge corporation, declaring that you are once again (apparently) taking on the damn liberals. Is believing in media diversity (and that companies should walk their own talk) really a defining characteristic to be "liberal" these days? In the 21st diversity? Wow. And, no, believing in freedom of speech doesn't mean that the view of two white guys who attack anyone they think a so-called "liberal" supports then trumps all others -- especially when when y'all are defending a corporation that loudly *professes* a devotion to diversity and then goes back on it in such a dramatic, in-your-face way. When it comes to the JFP pointing out such a hypocrisy, it decidedly does not matter how much you and Bubba defend Goliath or declare that it's "unimportant" -- we won't suddenly say, "There go Iron and Bubba, defending the status quo again, let's all shut up about something important." Makes one giggle, no? The funny part is that y'all are being so stereotypically predictable, and that's your choosing, not the rest of ours. You do make it easy to make a point; I swear, reading this is going to think y'all are plants. Oh, and a little Free Speech 101: the fact that we have no intention of shutting up to make y'all more comfortable about has nothing to do with your right to free expression, which doesn't really apply on a private site anyway. Your posting here is a privilege the owners offer you happily, not a right. And no one has threatened to shut you down, so why are you talking about free speech in the first place? That's a non sequitur. Is my point making more sense to you now? That is, if you don't want o come across a certain way, then pay more attention to the implicaitons of what you're writing. You're the one representing yourself here, and who made the leap that caring about racial diversity is a "liberal" thing. Perhaps the funniest part, though, is how much time Bubba has used up here to declare that media diversity is "unimportant" and to compare VIP to the JFP (bizarrely finding our current issue just as lacking). Seems pretty important to him to defend the lack of it. If it's not important, why not ignore this thread and go do something more important? The fact that y'all have put so much effort into defending Goliath on this makes me, and I suspect some others, that much more determined to keep raising awareness about it. You prove how much work there is to be done. So thank you.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-08T08:04:57-06:00
ID
153182
Comment
I'm wondering how far people will go to silence those who don't "fit in" with the program. When you start advocating taking people off the air in the name of "Diversity", you're talking a Governmental intrusion of epic proportions. Huh? Where the hell that come from, Iron? When did we advocate such a thing? You need to cut back on the caffeine. It is truly, truly remarkable that your head has made a jump to "silencing" because we pointed out terribly white VIP Jackson is. And who the hell mentioned the government? You're being a tad delusional, with due respect.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-08T08:16:47-06:00
ID
153184
Comment
By the way, to others who are more serious about media diversity, you should remember something: Diversity *does* matter in "soft" media, too. In diversity consulting, we advise media outlets to tackle their soft coverage (meaning non-hard news, entertainment, social events, etc.) immediately and start diversifying it because it's often the most easy thing to do. You don't need to spend as much time developing a rainbow rolodex and getting sources to trust you. In the Ledger's case, they can easily find out about more diverse events, and send one of their camera-snappers. It's cake. The reason this kind of media diversity matters, too, is obvious when you stop to think about it: People of color and other under-served communities should be mainstreamed into *all* coverage in order to build the feeling of inclusiveness in a community. This was a point that the Kerner Commission made back in the 1960s -- it wans't just the hard news that needed to be dramatically more diverse -- it was all news. They specifically pointed out the problem with media not including African Americans' images in soft, community coverage. And if you recall, they were studying the conditions in communities that lead to social unrest, etc. What you find too often is that media will overlook the easiest immediate ways to include people of color -- in their soft coverage. What is much worse, of course, is when they decide not to in order to appeal to a certain white, dominant constituency (and advertisers) -- those the media outlet decides believe that media diversity is "unimportant" or, worse, believes will reject the media because of the diversity. That's a decidedly more serious, systemic problem and one you have to watch for closely in media that are trying to quietly mail a certain publication to only certain zip codes, which are predominantly white. We've got several glossy publications that are going down that road right now. People serious about Jackson not being what it was in the past need to think hard about what that really means. Just because you include a smattering of black faces doesn't mean squat mean you are trying to get those publications into primarily white hands. The writing is on that particular wall. The public (not the government, Iron) has the power to change such an antiquated strategy by paying attention and speaking up. Don't let them pull something like this just because no one is paying attention. We need to honor those who worked so hard to end the state's apartheid in the past by at least being aware of what is going on out there in the name of making money.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-08T08:28:20-06:00
ID
153186
Comment
Donna, I share your befuddlement. I don't understand how anyone sees politics in this. It's like calorie-counting or budgeting or whatever--it's personal behavior. If you're doing something that props up institutional racism or institutional sexism or institutional heterosexism (and everybody at least occasionally does regardless of their race/sex/orientation), you go "oh, I see the problem" and you make a calibration and you move on. It's not a reason to hate yourself and it's not a permanent liability; it's something that warrants an adjustment. I don't see why this is controversial. We're not the KKK here; nobody's going "oh, racial segregation, that's wonderful!" So what's the deal? In this case we have the particularly garish example of a magazine that photographs a bunch of gussied-up white people in a 73% black city and calls them the "VIPs," which may be more wincingly clueless than anything any of us would do, but the solution is still basically the same: become aware of what's happening and make an adjustment. A lot of this is attitudinal. The folks running VIP Jackson obviously aren't even trying to run a diverse magazine; either the thought has never crossed their minds or they just feel no obligation to. That doesn't make them bad people, but it does mean that they need to adjust their behavior, and they're not likely to do that unless they know it's pissing people off.
Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-11-08T09:57:27-06:00
ID
153188
Comment
Donna-I have been doing more important things than comment on this, :)
Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-11-08T14:24:36-06:00
ID
153195
Comment
Well said, Tom. It might not hurt anything for Gannett's corporate office back in Virginia to get wind that their diversity pledges are failing here in Mississippi of all places. Fortunately, we've already hit Google Alerts for them. I'd expect to see more diversity in December issue; not sure how that fits into their business model of segregating the magazine into majority-white neighborhoods, but hey. Make a choice.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-09T11:47:29-06:00
ID
153205
Comment
well, at least the jfp stays a lot closer in line with the demographics of the area it reports on, except it should be renamed the fondren free press. bubba, 35% sounds about right, but it's hard to say as that line between fondren and the virden addition keeps moving further west as more white people gentrify the area.
Author
that guy
Date
2009-11-10T02:37:57-06:00
ID
153216
Comment
Hey guy, your "Fondren Free Press" thing is a repetition of what some of our detractors try to say about the JFP, so yawn. Yes, our office is located in Fondren, and we love Fondren. (It's been the only real place in the city where you can *walk* to so many different restaurants, shops, a locally owned grocery store, a post office, a local shoe repair shop, local boutiques, a whole fools store, a local locksmith, and on, and on.) However, any implication that we only *cover* or serve Fondren is a blatant lie, cooked up to try to attack our strength: coverage of the entire city (including distribution all over). We're very deliberate about making sure that diversity (race, age, geography and otherwise) has been a top goal for seven years, and we've pulled it off in both coverage and readership. So please factcheck such statements before you make them. Otherwise, you sound foolish.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-10T10:38:32-06:00
ID
153235
Comment
a whole fools store typo? Freudian slip? hmmm... lol... just picking. If you don't like what they publish, don't read or buy the stupid thing. How hard is that?
Author
WMartin
Date
2009-11-10T17:36:30-06:00
ID
153237
Comment
If you don't like what they publish, don't read or buy the stupid thing. How hard is that? Yep, that's exactly what they said in the 1960s, WMartin. And the unrepresentative media coverage led directly to riots and major urban unrest. Don't believe me: Google Kerner Commission. Otherwise, though: Don't overlook the hypocrisy of a corporation that brags about its diversity here putting out a publication that looks like that. Gross. Finally, this is important even if some of you white guys don't think it is. And please try to see the irony in y'all's comments. You're proving the point better than we ever could by being so dismissive of the dire issue of media diversity.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-10T18:08:21-06:00
ID
153238
Comment
I disagree, it's not important. If the local rag was the only outlet of news then the comparison to the 1960's would be accurate. But it's not. There is a glut of information out there and the shrinking Dinosaur of the Clarion Ledger has been struck by the asteroid of the 21st century media and is well on it's way to extinction. Maybe you are trying to hurry that along and if that's the case I applaud you. I don't read, buy or even pay attention to it. It's irrelevant to me. No matter who's picture they want to put in it.
Author
WMartin
Date
2009-11-10T18:23:55-06:00
ID
153240
Comment
What's intriguing to me, WMartin, is that you are making these dismissive statements clearly without any kind of study or homework. That is *exactly* the problem with the lack of media diversity: People such as yourself just decide something and declare it to be true without any basis other than you don't think it oughta be. That is a *classic* dominant-culture habit that those of us who are members of such a culture should be cognizant of. The funny thing is: You are exactly wrong in your statements. In my role as diversity chair of a national media organization, I've spent more time than you can imagine doing research on the issue of diversity in the media -- all kinds of media. You're conveniently ignoring what I have already said: the research shows that diversity matters on all fronts, including in publications such as VIP Jackson that purports to present the pulse of what is social in an area. It sends exactly the wrong message, especially when owned by the state's largest newspaper. And it's not about hurrying the Ledger to extinction; as you say, they're doing a pretty good about that themselves. The point, actually, is to raise the level of "media literacy" in the community. It's the same reason that I have criticized the Jackson Advocate and its Brown Society (which I don't recall you, Bubba and Iron fussing about so much). In the 1960s, one of the biggest problems in media was that the "social" and community pages simply ignored African Americans, giving the (often rich) white folks who read them the impression that black people were not sophisticated or a part of the community. It made bad policy and segregation of the races much easier to get away with. It's irrelevant to me. Clearly. But here's the thing: Being irrelevant to *you* doesn't mean anything for anybody else, and certainly doesn't mean this isn't an important issue. It just means *you* don't care about it. Please try to see that this is exactly the battle we're fighting: folks like you thinking that if it doesn't matter to you, it doesn't matter. That's the kind of thinking that has kept this state on the bottom and mired in ideas established by certain white guys. Fortunately, it's changing, and there are a lot more people around the table. That means what you believe may or may not matter to anyone else, either. It's an interesting lesson in humility.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-10T20:07:32-06:00
ID
153251
Comment
Wow! Donna, you really are on here chopping at the bits. It must be nice to be the owner of this website; that's when freedom of speech really means something. :-)
Author
Queen601
Date
2009-11-11T12:15:28-06:00
ID
153260
Comment
Ms. Ladd, I know that you love to uncover social injustice wherever it may be (especially when it is your arch nemesis) , but I think picking on VIP Jackson is trying too hard. First, I agree, there should be an article on this. The statistics definitely paint a picture, but that is just like when the "white" media throws out a statistic like the percentage of AA in prison. It doesn't tell the whole story. How about calling the Clarion-Ledger and getting some information. I'm sure they do surveys of their readers. What is the breakdown of their readership excluding newsstand copies? Second, VIP is a free magazine presumably supported by ad revenues, which from your statistics, are overwhelmingly coming from white businesses. Though, I understand your point that this is run by the local paper that is supposed to have the city's best interest in mind, there is also such a thing as good business. I'm not saying that the news shouldn't have a higher calling than making money, but are you seriously that naive? Also, I don't know how VIP works, but with the Northside Sun, most of the people in it probably called to tell them that they were having a function, or that they were getting married, or made honor roll, etc. I would imagine that it works the same way for VIP. The people throwing these fundraisers probably had someone call VIP to tell them about the party. I don't think that VIP is out there actively checking the Jackson social calendar. Finally, it seems like I hear about a whole lot more large fundraisers in the white community than I do in the black community. Is it possible that the big charity events that VIP reports in jackson are also primarily white? For example, I know that Mistletoe was this last week, which is a very high profile charity event that raises a lot of money, and I don't need a statistic to show you the racial breakdown. I look forward to you posting how many white faces were at the preview party.
Author
l3000
Date
2009-11-11T13:37:25-06:00
ID
153264
Comment
How about calling the Clarion-Ledger and getting some information. I'm sure they do surveys of their readers. What is the breakdown of their readership excluding newsstand copies? l3000, the Ledger won't return our calls. It's that simple. We've called them about numerous stories in the past. I didn't see the need to call them on this issue; the pictures speak for themselves. They wouldn't have called back anyway. What is the breakdown of their readership excluding newsstand copies? I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Do you mean demographics? Or how many copies are mailed? Good luck getting that kind of info. They did tell a business owner recently that they print 20,000 a month. hough, I understand your point that this is run by the local paper that is supposed to have the city's best interest in mind, there is also such a thing as good business. I'm not saying that the news shouldn't have a higher calling than making money, but are you seriously that naive? Back atcha: Are you seriously naive enough to think that a market like Jackson does not have non-white-owned advertisers that also support its publication? And then there's that little issue of readership -- the more readers you have, the more you charge advertisers. The ad CPM/cost per thousand readers is the first question a smart advertiser asks: How much does it cost me to reach a thousand readers. I'm guessing that VIP Jxn's CPM is pretty high considering they only print 20,000 a month. I don't know, though. Beyond that, I'm not going to touch your statement. It sounds like you're arguing that if it's good for business, it's OK to be so white in a diverse market. It's one thing to believe that, though, and another to be owned by a corporation that constantly brags about its diversity. Hypocrisy matters, or should. The people throwing these fundraisers probably had someone call VIP to tell them about the party. I don't think that VIP is out there actively checking the Jackson social calendar. Not true. Actually, a lot of times Sun and VIP photogs just show up at events; they've even shown up at ours and not really told anyone who they were until asked. I talked to one Fondren advertiser a couple weeks ago who said that VIP asked to photograph one of his events, and he turned them down because they don't represent the right audience for him (young, hip). I didn't attend Mistletoe's party. But I was shocked to see its special section in the Ledger and how white it was, including the sponsors. (Does the Junior League not have any women of color? I don't know much about it.) I'm not a Mistletoe fan; I much prefer Chimneyville. There are many fundraisers in the black community, and there are many fundraisers, as Queen has pointed out, that attact people of all races. I attend many of them throughout the year. But the impression you have drawn is exactly the danger of having segregated media: It's the media's job to make sure that you know what's going on in the whole city. Otherwise, white people might walk around thinking that all the VIP types, so to speak, are of the same race. And that is simply a tragic lie. And, yes, I'm big on exposing injustice in its various forms. Guilty as charged.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-11-11T14:03:35-06:00

Thanks to all our new JFP VIPs!

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.

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