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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hey, I Finally Heard From the NAACP!

Posted by on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Gerald Hankerson, president of the Seattle King County NAACP, just called to yell at me.

He wasn't very happy about my post asking if the regional office is staffed by ghosts, even though I explained that I've been trying to reach them about various race-related issues in the city since I started working here in January.

The NAACP does important work, has been meaningful in my life and to my family, and is usually my go-to place when I want to know what's happening with and to minorities. I both study and write about race, and because of my history with the group, they would be a cool local resource to have. I've been a member of the NAACP and have seen the effectiveness of the organization in every other city I've lived in, so I was curious and surprised when no one in the Seattle office would get back to me, or Anna, or anyone else from our office who called.

After I listened to him yell for a bit I asked why it took him so long to call me back, and Mr. Hankerson said, "Did you REALLY think I was going to call THE STRANGER?!"

Ah, okay.

 

Comments (42) RSS

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1
You should have said "point well taken."
Posted by David from Chicago on March 13, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this
fletc3her 2
Sounds like a tight run ship!
Posted by fletc3her on March 13, 2014 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Rujax! 3
Jesus...fuck him!
Posted by Rujax! http://rujax.blogspot.com/ on March 13, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 4
The Stranger has a White Male privileged Editor. Of course he won't call.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM · Report this
5
What's his beef with The Stranger? It doesn't make sense. Has The Stranger pissed the NAACP recently? Or is it an aversion to the media in general? Is The Stranger somehow toxic to the NAACP? Too small of a news outlet to be bothered with? I really don't get it.
Posted by screed on March 13, 2014 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Tracy 6
Oh, that's a shame. Always bummed when organizations won't engage with The Stranger.
Posted by Tracy on March 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM · Report this
theophrastus 7
makes one wonder which fine local media groups he would've called
Posted by theophrastus on March 13, 2014 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
Well, the way forward here is to give him a reason to want to call The Stranger, or at least to take your calls, which is good for both of you. I hope you can make that happen.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 13, 2014 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Madskillz80 9
SO, what was he yelling at you about then? I mean, he won't call The Stranger back, but he'll read it?
Posted by Madskillz80 on March 13, 2014 at 4:09 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 10
@8 - Sounds like trashing him publicly is the way to get him to return your calls. Noted.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on March 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Cascadian 11
I question the skills of a civil rights activist who won't engage with media of all kinds. Getting the message out across different communities, building bridges, and doing the groundwork to make allies that you can rely on for mutual support in the future seems like a critical part of the job. If he thinks The Stranger doesn't understand his organization, all the more reason to return your calls. Hopefully you can help him reverse course for the mutual benefit of the NAACP and The Stranger (and their various constituencies and audiences).
Posted by Cascadian on March 13, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
pragmatic 12
[...]seems like a critical part of the job[...]


Seems like? That IS the fucking job! The whole point of activism is to get attention so that people with power and influence, or numbers, can then actually get things done.
Posted by pragmatic on March 13, 2014 at 4:30 PM · Report this
13
@10 is right.

He won't call The Stranger back because they're unprofessional, absurdly petty, and make petulant personal attacks (take this post as an example). That's why.
Posted by tkc on March 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Report this
14
@13 How exactly is The Stranger 'unprofessional'? They put out a great newspaper and maintain a really informative and entertaining blog. I've learned more about Seattle and Washington politics from The Stranger and Slog than any other news source. Absurdly petty? How so? Examples please, otherwise that's just empty criticism. The same goes for 'petulant personal attacks.' I didn't think Ms. Henderson's post was a personal attack. She just quoted what he said, which is totally legit and does not constitute an attack. Who was being unprofessional in that exchange? The reporter calling to ask for information, or the organization not even bothering to call back or, when finally they do call back, the organization's president taking a cheap shot? Actually, your criticisms of The Stranger strike me as being unprofessional, absurdly petty, and nothing more than a petulant personal attack.
Posted by screed on March 13, 2014 at 4:57 PM · Report this
15
Did he tell you to get off his lawn while he was at it?
Posted by rocketgeek on March 13, 2014 at 5:17 PM · Report this
16
This doesn't surprise me.

I'm currently a supporter of the NAACP in other cities and was previously a member. The NAACP organization that we have in Seattle is not worthy of the name.
Posted by politickling on March 13, 2014 at 5:58 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 17
@10
how the fuck is posting what he said a personal attack

this guy definitely sounds like an idiot
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on March 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
GhostDog 18
I actually use the Stranger as my go to for things in the media that I might have missed. True, your adverts are sometimes I'm poor taste(there are strip clubs in Seattle, I get it) but overall it is good stuff.
Posted by GhostDog on March 13, 2014 at 6:15 PM · Report this
Banna 19
It appears The Stranger is trying to clean up SLOG at least; this post is restricted to registered commenters, and I've seen WAY more comments pulled for trolling in other posts in the last two weeks than in the previous two years.

Maybe soon The Stranger will be respectable enough for Mr. NAACP to call them back.
Posted by Banna http://www.ucp.org on March 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
venomlash 20
National Association for Aggravating Cranky People?
Posted by venomlash on March 13, 2014 at 6:22 PM · Report this
trstr 21
Just because you're the media doesn't mean that everyone's gonna kiss your ass.
Posted by trstr on March 13, 2014 at 6:26 PM · Report this
22
Maybe he didn't want to take James' place...

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
An Open Letter to James Bible of Seattle's NAACP
Posted by Cienna Madrid on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM
Dear James,
Let me start off by saying: When you bang the drum about police brutality against people of color, you have a sympathetic ear with The Stranger. I, personally, am so flamingly liberal it's a miracle I still have body hair. But during today's presser "in response to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office’s decision to dismiss charges against Seattle Police Officer James Lee," the officer who was videotaped repeatedly kicking a teenager in a Belltown convenience store last fall, you spent over an hour highlighting your private practice by trotting out cases of alleged police brutality you're hoping to settle with the city more than offering concrete ideas, platforms, or goals for how to actually reform the Seattle Police Department as head of the local NAACP.

And that makes me doubt your vision and effectiveness as a spokesperson for the NAACP.

....
James, let me reiterate: You have valid points but we've heard your arguments before and you're not coming up with many specific solutions, here. Meanwhile, press conferences like these wasted my time, the public's patience, and severely weaken your ability to be an effective spokesperson for your community.
Posted by ChefJoe on March 13, 2014 at 6:48 PM · Report this
23
Something is seriously wrong at NAACP ... but it's a retro thing anyway, no?

Danielle's a good addition to Slog, BTW. Not that I always agree, but a useful voice in the mix.

Posted by RonK, Seattle on March 13, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 24
Perhaps the community will start taking The Stranger seriously when it stops making fake posts from our city leaders and representatives, such as with Mayor Murray, Rob McKenna, and Kshama Sawant.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on March 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM · Report this
25
The way you act professional and show the NAACP respect is by doing the story about the issue in a reasonable manner, mention that you sought comment from the NAACP but received none, then follow up for future stories having shown that your focus is the issue of concern, rather than putting the NAACP themselves in the hot seat for over the top hyperbole like Holden's piece about how the city council is trying to kill us, or whether a local org you hope to work with are a bunch of ghosts.
Posted by Upchuck on March 13, 2014 at 6:58 PM · Report this
seatackled 27
@22

Wow. Madrid's in her 20s, right? And Bible was not only the head of the local chapter, but presumably also a bit older than she is. Addressing him by his first name is basically calling him "Boy."
Posted by seatackled on March 13, 2014 at 7:56 PM · Report this
28
Way to promote the cause, Gerald Hankerson.

First the book guy and now this guy. I'm starting to wonder how these high-profile gigs are allocated. Does the process involve a raffle?
Posted by stating the obvious on March 13, 2014 at 8:08 PM · Report this
juche 29
The stranger is a joke publication similar to The Onion (same founder tim keck) but more trendy and gay. To fill up whatever space is left it pretends to be interested in human rights and social issues but only muppets take it seriously.
Posted by juche on March 13, 2014 at 9:16 PM · Report this
30
Problem with the stranger is they wanted to be holier than thou, but do a lot of shit they preach against...unpaid interns, Goldy using "rape" to describe economic policy, Dan Savage sending his flying monkeys after an innocent guy on facebook, Kelly-o being 1/2 of a costume that uses black face, Charles hating on single family homes while living in one, etc. The lack of editorial oversight on slog is the main reason for people not taking the stranger seriously. Heck even calling Macklemore a minstrel with no explanation is kind of a bad way to start the conversation.
Posted by j2patter on March 13, 2014 at 10:56 PM · Report this
seandr 31
Whether it's Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, or the NAACP, I always say a little "hallelujah!" to myself when someone tells the media to fuck off.
Posted by seandr on March 13, 2014 at 11:29 PM · Report this
32
Wow, not a good move NAACP guy.

Posted by judybrowni on March 13, 2014 at 11:30 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 33
I always find it very funny when Stranger staff gets an actual glimpse at how many people view them, especially when it twists their underpants so.

Everyone needs a sobering kick sometimes. The Stranger gets little respect because they demand to be taken seriously, and yet do so many non-professional/non-serious things. Not that I am complaining, I like the atmosphere, you just have to realize that not everyone does or respects it.

Like was said above, just because you are in the media does not mean everyone has to kiss your ass.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on March 14, 2014 at 7:44 AM · Report this
34
The Stranger is and always has been Capitol Hill's neighborhood paper, and its content has changed over the years in ways that reflect the changes in that neighborhood.

There just aren't that many black folk left on Capitol Hill. The Stranger's cultural and political coverage, when it touches on race, speaks to young/affluent liberal concerns and interests, rather than black community concerns and interests.

Why would the NAACP return your calls?
Posted by robotslave on March 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
35
Would he have called The Facts?
Posted by Lack Thereof on March 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this
36
Um, put yourself in the place of a reader. What are we supposed to take away from this? The local NAACP hates you, but you didn't even bother to explain why that might be. Did you ask him? What did you say when he said that, and what, if anything, did he say in response? What complaints have been lodged in the past about the Stranger by either the NAACP or other leaders of the black community? Did you ever actually go to the office to try to get someone to talk to you? Did you call the guy at home? If not, why not?

Writing up a complaint about a local interest group being uncommunicative and/or absent is great, as long as it's contained in something that actually, you know, informs your readers. This is just a personal, highly solipsistic gripe that's full of holes and that leaves readers with more questions that answers, which is the precise opposite of what you're supposed to do.
Posted by DanMitchell on March 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
37
Um, put yourself in the place of a reader. What are we supposed to take away from this? The local NAACP hates you, but you didn't even bother to explain why that might be. Did you ask him? What did you say when he said that, and what, if anything, did he say in response? What complaints have been lodged in the past about the Stranger by either the NAACP or other leaders of the black community? Did you ever actually go to the office to try to get someone to talk to you? Did you call the guy at home? If not, why not?

Writing up a complaint about a local interest group being uncommunicative and/or absent is great, as long as it's contained in something that actually, you know, informs your readers. This is just a personal, highly solipsistic gripe that's full of holes and that leaves readers with more questions that answers, which is the precise opposite of what you're supposed to do.
Posted by DanMitchell on March 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM · Report this
38
@24 Rob McKenna is a city leader and representative? Of what, Bellevue?
Posted by taco hut on March 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
39
Danielle, you might want to re-read your article and count the number of times you used variations of "I", "me" or "my".

Remember, you were the one who referred to them as "ghosts".

Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
40
Have fun re-building an editorial department after years of bad management, new Stranger editors.

I wouldn't expect much goodwill from the Bible family.
Posted by six shooter on March 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
aureolaborealis 41
I love these glimpses into the quotidian struggles of someone learning to be a journalist.
Posted by aureolaborealis on March 14, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Larry Mizell, Jr. 42
HAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, last line was too funny. And yes, telling.

But seriously, that's dumb.
Posted by Larry Mizell, Jr. on March 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM · Report this
43
Gerald Hankerson is a little piss ant of a man. He is the epitome of "short man syndrome." And boy oh boy does this little, little man think highly of himself and his mis-placed and false arguments.

Mr. Hankerson believes that if he can yell louder than you, he wins the argument. Someone should tell this little, little man that yelling louder only makes him loud, not correct.
Posted by GuyFawkes on July 2, 2014 at 1:40 AM · Report this

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