Group of community leaders calls for editorial changes at Memphis Magazine after political caricature controversy

Magazine cover prompts call for change

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A coalition of African American community leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon to call for changes to the editorial process at Memphis Magazine.

The group of men met with media at City Hall.

The news conference follows outrage over the weekend of political caricatures on the Memphis mayor’s election used in the magazine’s September issue to depict Tami Sawyer, Willie Herenton and Jim Strickland. The drawings of the two African American candidates, Sawyer’s in particular, were widely called racist.

Memphis Magazine apologized and pulled the issue from store shelves. As a result of that decision, WMC Action News 5 has chosen not to show the images.

“Have some diversity in your rooms,” said Martavius Jones, Memphis City Council member. “There is nobody to say in that room this is not OK.”

The group called for more diverse voices in Memphis media and at the magazine.

“You can’t un-ring that bell, so what do they do, they’ve got to develop a strategic plan sitting down with black leadership our of the community,” said G.A. Hardaway, a state representative.

In an article posted online Sunday, Anna Traverse, CEO of Contemporary Media said the magazine “failed Memphis.”

Traverse also wrote she plans to use the incident to diversify the publication’s staff and coverage.

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