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Diversity in Journalism


By: Jessica De Soto

What are the greatest challenges in dealing with issues of diversity in news media? Is it possible that our newsrooms in America are filled with more white people and not enough minorities? Is it because the white man is scared to touch bases with communities that illuminate diversity in our society, or is it because the root of the issue hasn't truly been solved; therefore, we keep ignoring the voices that need to be heard?

The staffing of the American newsroom has never illustrated the colorful diversity that our nation has. In an article from the Columbia Journalism Review, written by Farai Chileya, she stated that when a person of color goes into the field to report on a racial issue for the news, "they are sometimes seen as double agents, they note, working both for their ethnic communities and for journalism broadly—sometimes pleasing neither."

Another example I would like to point out from this article is when The Washington Post, Robert Samuels, a black national political reporter, was mistaken as a protester at a Trump rally once.
He said, "As the police pushed me out of that rally, people started calling me 'monkey,' a person tried to trip me, they shouted, 'All lives matter,' at me."
Not too long ago, on Sunday, June 30, I had attended Los Angeles 61st Press Club's Gala. Journalists from Hollywood Reporter, CNN, CBS, KTLA, Variety, KCET, and The Los Angeles Times, to name a few, were there. However, as these recipients embraced their rewards from their hard work, I did notice most of them were all white, except for Jim Hill, who was awarded for Lifetime Achievement, and CNN's international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, for her courage and integrity in journalism as well as, her coverage on the most recent Sudan crisis.

Jim Hill and Elbagir were the highlights of that night for their time spent, courageous and virtue in the journalism field, but why wasn't there more diverse people like them. Another publication that was also there that night was the Downey Patriot. Only one was nominated for an award, William Otis, who came in third for best sports photo. Equally important, while I was sitting at their table, I noticed that a few were Hispanic, including William, but the editor-in-chief and publisher were white. It was a diverse publication there besides having Jim Hill and Nima Elbagir there at the event.

We need more diverse journalists in our American news institutions to shed more light on issues the white press has ignored for several years. This trend needs to be abolished and replaced with a more cultural approach for more reports on adequate racial issues in the United States.

“If we journalists can’t turn as unsparing a gaze on ourselves as we do on others, it speaks poorly for us and the credibility of our profession. If the press lauds itself for demanding transparency from government but cannot achieve transparency in its newsrooms, that is cowardice. If we say we can cover all of America with representatives of only a few types of communities, we may win battles but lose the war to keep news relevant to a broad segment of Americans. This is as strong a business argument as a moral argument,” Chile said.

Photo From:

Columbia Journalism Review


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