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Newspaper Pulls Advertisement After Readers Call It Ethnic Slur

April 30, 1990

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Journal on April 24 pulled advertisements featuring Polish leader Lech Walesa speaking in broken English after complaints that the ad amounted to an ethnic slur.

The Journal used newspaper, television and radio advertisements featuring Walesa and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to promote its new page designs, unveiled in April.

The Walesa newspaper advertisement showed a photo of the Nobel Prize- winning founder of Poland’s Solidarity movement with the words: ″Very long I have hoped for changes so significant as those in new Milwaukee Journal.″

The Thatcher ad pictures the prime minister with the words ″Why yes, the American colonies have progressed. Consider the recent changes in your Milwaukee Journal.″

Both ads involved contrived quotes.

Robert Dye, spokesman for the Journal, said the ads were intended to be ″lighthearted spoofs″ and that both were pulled.

″I guess it just didn’t click,″ Dye said. ″It didn’t have the impact we intended. The original intent was that it be fun. As soon as we realized it wasn’t working, we pulled the ads.″

The quarter-page Walesa ad ran in the April 23 Journal. It drew an immediate letter from Mayor John O. Norquist, who complained the use of the broken English ″shows an obvious lack of respect for Walesa and for Polish culture.″

″I’m sure that since English is not his native language, he probably does not speak it as well as you do,″ Norquist wrote to Journal Editor Sig Gissler. ″At the same time, I wonder how well you speak Polish.″

The head of the city’s annual Polish ethnic festival charged the television advertisement featuring Walesa was even more offensive to Poles.

″I thought it rather demeaning to the Polish ethnic groups,″ said Richard Gralinski, executive director of Polish Fest. ″I certainly thought it was an ethnic slur.″

Milwaukee, a city of about 600,000 people, has more than 180,000 residents of Polish ancestry, Gralinski said. Environmental Journalists Form National Organization

CINCINNATI (AP) - Reporters who cover environmental issues have formed a national organization called the Society of Environmental Journalists to help improve the quality of coverage, the group’s leaders said April 20.

The organization is based in Washington and plans to publish a quarterly newsletter, conduct workshops and an annual national conference.

Scripps Howard helped form the group last year by asking past winners of the Edward J. Meeman Award if they would be interested in it. The Meeman Award is presented each year by the Scripps Howard Foundation for environmental reporting.

The group’s founding officers are Jim Detjen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rae Tyson of USA Today, Teya Ryan of Turner Broadcasting, Noel Grove of National Geographic and Bob Engelman of the Scripps Howard News Service. Group Will Study Media Representation of Women

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Feminist and author Betty Friedan will oversee a newly created watchdog group at the University of Southern California that will study media representations of women.

A $100,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation to the USC School of Journalism establishing the Women, Men and Media project was announced April 21 at USC by Gannett Foundation Vice President Felix Gutierrez.

The group plans to monitor the content of newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, television shows and movies.

It also will track the employment and advancement of women as reporters, editors, publishers, broadcasters, directors, producers and media executives, Ms. Friedan said.

The Gannett Foundation, based in Arlington, Va., spent about $30 million in grants, programs and operations last year. Star Tribune Owner Donates 2,000 Acres

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Cowles Media Co., owner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has donated about 2,000 acres of property in Otter Tail County to the Minnesota chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

The donation, said to be worth $2.4 million, was announced April 22. The property contains about 30,000 feet of shoreline on five lakes along with forests of basswood and oak.

The conservation group said it will work to restore wetlands and convert farmland to permanent wildlife cover before turning the property over to the state Department of Natural Resources in about two years.


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