Monday, January 21, 2008

Seriously? Someone Published This?


At Golfweek magazine, where the staff contains no African-Americans, they ran this cover image in regards to a story about another unfortunate racial misstep (the story is about a television host who said that other PGA golfers would have to "lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley" in order to defeat him).

The mag's editor was fired over the controversy. He told the New York Times, "Sitting in the editor’s chair in this day and age is sort of like walking a tightrope. I lost my balance and slipped off."

Of course, this follows the noose-related incidents in Jena, Louisiana and events at Columbia University and elsewhere.

Should Golfweek's editor have been fired over this? Wasn't he actually doing a story that specifically referred to lynching, an article that was meant to be racially provocative and beneficial to all in the long run?

Or was the editor just an ignorant bonehead for letting this run?


Chris Banks said...

I don't necessarily think he should have been fired, as I think his goal was to be racially provocative and beneficial to all. I think he should have received disciplinary action though, as, this was a very stupid thing to do, and a bad time to do it.

Simon Owens said...

I'm somewhat doubtful that the people who did the firing hadn't seen the cover before press time, which leads me to believe this is a scapegoat issue. I work at a newspaper and though I have an editor above me, major decisions like this always have to be approved by the publisher.

Jeff Frandsen said...

even though both tiger woods and the anchor claimed to be friends, she messed up BIG time. After being witness to the Don Imus incident, how could any on-air talent let a comment like this slip so easily. I don't see her as a bad person, she just let a stupid joke get the worst of her. She could have phrased it any other way, she just spoke before she thought.

As for Golfweek... when I saw it off last week all I could say was "come on."

It was a bonehead move. You can highlight the story, but just put a picture of Tiger Woods or the female anchor at the desk. Change the SLUG. I'm surprised this ran. In my belief, it was a good move for the editor to be pushed aside of the magazine.

Annie Cosgrove said...

This is so absurd, I was shocked when you told us about it in class. I don't see how they could have let this be released. I agree there is a scapegoat issue here. Fo'Sho.

Becky arden said...

I think it was really stupid for him to put a noose on the cover, but I understand where he was coming from. I mean if he was thinking like it would attract people to read the article. If I saw the noose I would want to read to see what it was all about. But the timing was sooooooo off, especially because of the Jena situation. I don't think he should have been fired.

ryguy83185 said...

While the image is extremely graphic and undeniably controversial, the editor should not have been fired. The image was chosen because it most aptly displays how severe the REAL issue is: People still exist in today's society who would make ignorant, racially motivated, comments like the one directed at Tiger. The editor of Golfweek may not have used the best judgment, but let's not forgot what started the whole mess to begin with.

cbridgwater said...

The editor was an ignorant bonehead. However, I don't think he should have been fired. He was in shock about the Tiger Woods comment which shows that putting a noose on the cover was just a lack of good judgement. If anything maybe he should've gotten a suspension from the job.

Caitlin C said...

The editor had a lapse of judgement, he wasn't the one who made the actual comment. The bad press would have been punishment enough. The noose on the cover was not a wise choice but I'm sure it definitely got the point across, which was probably his point in the first place. If a journalist's job is to report the news, he or she should be able to do so without fearing the loss of their job. Certain things may be over the top, and certain people deserve to be punished, but a slight mistake shouldn't ruin someone's career.

Geo said...

Slight mistake? As in, "Oops, did I just put that on the cover?"

- George (the sarcastic teacher)

Anonymous said...

I think that the cover picture is controversial and the editor was just trying to grab people's attention with it. However, the bottom line is it is not a controversial magazine. It is golfweek and many loyal readers would be turned off by this as a cover. They just want to get their golf tips.

Kristen said...

Not trying to generalize, but who are Golfweek's readers? I have played golf competitively for eight years, and caddied for professional and amateur tournaments. The Golfweek readers are likely not people who are going to be terribly offended by the cover. Chances are, like my own father, they don't consider themselves liberal but rarely make racist or sexist jokes which is disturbingly common on a golf course. Bottom line, if the magazine wasn't a place where balding white businessmen get tips on their golf stroke, the situation might be taken differently. Personally, I think it is offensive but so are covers of plastic-looking computer-generated "stars" who are on most other magazines, but sexism isn't as important as racism? Sex sells, problems sell, racism unfortunately sells. Considering journalism in this case is to sell, the Editor completed the task.

Brett Strycharz said...

I think it's pretty safe to say that the magazines editor saw the potential of using a controversial image to rake in some sales for his magazine. Obviously he was correct in choosing a "hooking" front cover for his magazine since it garnered plenty of attention (read any newspaper or watch any national news broadcast), but his ignorant disregard for controversial imagery led to his firing, which I can completely understand.

Even if the corresponding article allowed for an educated, beneficial discussion on racial tensions in America, it does not compensate for his ignorant usage of such an image.

Geo said...

Did anyone look up the actual article?

- George (the teacher who didn't read the actual article)

Kevin Cook said...

Yes, the editor should have been fired. Is he an idiot? And the people that work within the magazine that saw the cover before it ran should be reprimanded as well. This is a sensitive subject and should be treated like one.

Sure the editor got a ton of people to look at the magazine, but not for the right reasons.

Kristen said that racism sells. That's such a absurb statement. Sex sells, but racism? Are you insane? Then you said he completed his task. That's exactly why the editor was fired. That's such a contradictory statement,

Kristen said...

Way to be mature with a personal attack.

Can you think of a situation where blatant racism didn't get attention? Controversy, I should have equated with racism.

Did you know that Nike proposed a 25,000$ contract to Ralph Nader to hold up a Nike shoe in a commercial and say, "just another shameless way for nike to sell another shoe?" Why would a company pay someone to be in a Nike bashing commercial??

I suggest everyone read "NO LOGO" by Naomi Klein. Its not just bashing corporations, she really tries to see different arguments and proposes important questions that need to be addressed. She is a journalist in Canada and its in the library. no excuse.

These companies know they are controversial and they did it on purpose. Really now, have you ever picked up Golfweek or would you have even known it existed if this story wasn't run? They want people to talk about them.

The editor wasn't being stupid, he was trying the controversy sells magazines angle, and of course he won't admit it.

He was probably under pressure not to ensure professional journalism is upheld, but the bottom line of business. Isn't that what we are supposed to be learning in the class?

He was fired because he was a scapegoat. when the idea didn't work out the way the company wanted they had to make a statement.

"This is a sensitive subject and should be treated like one."---do you think that sexism is a sensitive subject too? it happens much more often and affects both men and women, so why is it okay to walk past women(on mag covers) who are purposefully posed to lower self esteem and set a ridiculous standard? Am I just supposed to ignore it when it has influenced the way people treat each other?

Did you see the Macy's day parade by chance? I attended and there was actually a float with people who were Native American holding cotton plants like flowers for the COTTON corp. They KNEW it was weird and offensive, but it was the point.

Kevin Cook said...

I wasn't attacking you, more quoting, don't get so offended.

The Nader/Nike proposal was, I believe almost 10 years old, but it really doesn't apply in this situation. Nike ad's are incredible. How is Nike bashing themselves? More like advertising in general. Nike runs some of the best print, TV ads I have seen. They stick. They are smart. This isn't about sexism or racism. I don't see how it applies to this situation. That may be controversial, but not in the way we are talking about the Golfweek story.

I haven't picked up Golfweek before, during or after the story was run, so for me it didn't do the job. They got people to talk more about the magazine, definitely. Can't you complete your task without getting fired? Wasn't the story big enough that a) it involved one of the world's biggest athletes and b) it was such a stupid comment by some stupid person on TV talking about one of the world's biggest athletes. Covering the story is news enough, I don't need a noose. If that quote the TV personality said was just placed on the cover I guarantee it would have gotten plenty of extra readers and attention. I was actually shocked that most of the class didn't even hear about this story. I guess Golfweek didn't do that great of a job anyway if most people didn't even know about it.

I don't think sexism is a sensitive subject. I'm being honest. Please, no one, give mention that dove thing. There's dove who runs this BS "real beauty campaign" claiming that all the woman in the ads are "true" beauty. They are plus sizes, have average, normal skin, etc. Yes, of course it's like this in "real life," but Dove then sells cream that hides wrinkles, cream that somehow conceals body fat slighty -- all during this same campaign. They light and photograph the woman in a beautiful, elegant way. I mean, It's BS. People need to stop complaining about see a beautiful size 0 woman on the cover of Vogue, in all of the ads in Vanity Fair, down the runway, on the next car commercial. Life isn't like this, don't people know that already. But are things like this offensive? I don't get upset when I see some guy on the cover of men's health with a 6 pack. I know I don't look as good. I can't speak for anyone except myself, but it doesn't influence the way I treat anyone. I know the world of magazine covers, ads, etc are fictious. Women and men don't all look like that. Do people walk by this stuff then really have a lower self esteem? Maybe they don't realize most people don't look like what they see. The people in the pictures willingly flaunt their body and they know very well sex sells.

I enjoy discussions like this, I just don't agree. The bottom line of everything is business, true. Isn't there a right and wrong way to do business? Why do you think those crappy Hollywood movies go to the big chain theaters and the artsy movies play downtown at the Ritz? The latter isn't as marketable, but I'm more interested in them. So to some, the pretty faces, the sexy stars etc may sell, but not to me. If you need a noose on the cover to buy a magazine, go for it. I don't.

Geo said...

This forum is an open debate, a place to exchange ideas. By all means voice your opinions and share your thoughts. If you are angry, happy, cheeky, melancholy, whatever, go for it: drop it on us.

But do keep in mind that sarcasm is difficult to read sometimes.

So don't ever take offense. We're all friends here.

- George (the teacher who says, "Can't we all just get along?")