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Love and Honor, Slumdog Millionaire, Letters from Black America—and Canned:How to Get back on You

February 5, 2009

Just ahead on the horizon: Valentine's Day, Women's History Month, Mother's Day -- or just a day when you'd like to say "Thank You" to someone. Here's a note from Maya Iwata, the WMC's Philanthropic Partnerships Officer, with a way to make a big impression:

Love And Honor -- The Fabulous Women In Your Life!
Send some love to the woman or girl in your life by making a donation in her honor to The Women's Media Center.  With your $25 donation, we'll send a letter to your honoree letting her know that you made a donation in her honor to the WMC and invite her to subscribe to our free of charge news services such as our newsletter, exclusive commentaries written by women and our Daily News Brief.

Your $25 donation or more to The Women's Media Center provides vital support for our media advocacy and public education, our own media, and comprehensive media training.  The Women's Media Center walks its talk of valuing the work of women by paying our writers for our commentaries and by providing critical stipends for our interns. 

Love and honor the women in your life by helping us to continue to fight sexism in the media and the exclusion of women as sources, valued spokespeople and experts. Together, we can change the conversation in media! 

For Valentine's Day this year, I'm honoring my big sister (right) with a donation to The Women's Media Center. Although she lives across the country in San Francisco, her support and her warmth to me is never far away.

Slumdog Millionaire Controversy
Over the Labor Day weekend at the Telluride Film Festival last year I got a sneak preview of this year's movie sensation Slumdog Millionaire. The audience gave Danny Boyle a standing ovation. At the time I wrote a piece contrasting Boyle's reception to the only woman director at the festival. As the Oscars approach, debate swirls around several elements of Slumdog. From WMC Media Director Tristin Aaron (left):

In early December, WMC friend Lucy Knight looped us in on the controversy surrounding "Slumdog Millionaire's" "co-director" Loveleen Tandan (pictured right). She forwarded information on the curious case of Tandan's role in the film from Chicago-based film critic and blogger Jan Lisa Huttner. We have been following this complex and fascinating story as it has unfolded in the media, and I blogged about it this week. The WMC will be watching the Oscars closely to see if Ms. Tandan is present or thanked, and the implications for all women in film.

Pamela Newkirk's Letters From Black America
Just in the bookstores, Pamela Newkirk's sensational new book, Letters from Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009) is a collection of more than 200 letters written from the days of slavery, straight through to Alice Walker's letter to Barack Obama.

Newkirk is Associate Professor of Journalism at NYU, the author of the groundbreaking Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, as well as A Love No Less: Two Centuries of African-American Love Letters. She was a terrific panelist on our Soundbites to Solutions forum on media bias at the Paley Center for Media last year.

Says editor Newkirk: "The correspondents-enslaved and free, powerless and privileged-explore the social, religious, artistic, political, civil, and domestic lives of a people over the course of three centuries, providing sweeping narrative history of the Black American experience."

To order books, or attend a reading, click here. Debuts
Sharon Waxman, who used to be the Hollywood reporter for The New York Times, has launched a bold new entertainment website, The start-up is backed by Maveron, a venture capital firm co-founded by Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and Dan Levitan. According to Editor-in-Chief Waxman:

"We believe entertainment matters. It matters because popular culture is a multi-billion dollar industry, American's number one export, and a source of connection, employment, passion and aspiration for millions of people across the globe. Movies, television, music, games, media - these represent the common language that unites us as human beings. Entertainment reflects our world, and it shapes it."

Canned: How To Land On Your Feet

According to Erica Smith, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch news designer, we've already lost 2,111 newspaper jobs this year. In one month. Last year the total was 15, 586. Take a look at her revealing -- and startling -- maps.

On Thursday, February 19, I'll participate in a discussion of our options and strategies in this shrinking media environment. Sponsored by the New York Association of Black Journalists.

Other panelists include James E. Mulvaney, President, Tactical Intelligence Services Inc, Dennis Spring, President, Spring Associates, and Ernest R. Sotomayor, Assisant Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of  Journalism. The panel will be moderated by Lily H. Li and will take place at the Associated Press Building, 450 West 33rd St, NYC, 7-9 PM. Admission is free and ID required. Register at by the end of Presidents Day, February 16.

McDonald's Black Media Legends
I was honored to be included in the 2009 Faces of Black History celebration on February 2nd at a big bash at Tavern on the Green.  McDonald's has put me on a poster with  many of my New York/New Jersey/Connecticut colleagues from my reporting days that is being used in schools for Black History Month. Here we are (with a mysterious red-head!) What becomes a legend most? A double-cheeseburger with fries, of course!

Make sure to sign up for all of our WMC News, including our Daily News Brief and WMC Action Alerts for updates on how The Women's Media Center is working to make women visible and powerful in the media. 

With warmest wishes,

Carol Jenkins
WMC President