Monday, April 25, 2011


Greenberg, Steven. "Diversity in the newsroom." Cartoon. Apr. 1998. Print.

In the words of the late great, Michael Jackson, “If you wanna be my lover it don’t matter if you black or white!” Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to say these words over a melody with a little rhythm than it is in a newsroom. According to Laura Smith of Howard Journalism School, “race, gender and social justice [is] becoming less important in the ethic curriculum… 32% of programs found this area of instruction to be indispensable in the 1990s, by 2004, that number had dropped to less than 29%.” My optimistic nature wouldn’t allow me to believe this without doing a little research myself. So I went to your “go-to” @MTrogus account, and I must say, I was surprised. In order Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethic reads:

1. Preamble

2. Seek truth and report it

3. Minimize harm

4. Act Independently

5. Be Accountable

I feel like right beside “seek the truth and report it” they should insert an extra criterion that reads: Be realistic. I feel like it is necessary for a journalist to be aware of their surroundings. The fact is we don’t live in all Caucasian-world. I took a history class last quarter and we touched on the fact that history is written by the winners. I feel with respect to diversity, we have a similar problem in newsrooms today: The winners are reporting the news (white people). It is imperative that we level the ethical playing field in the world of mass communications. Diversity is more than just affirmative action. It blends cultures together. It forms opinions that would be otherwise impossible. It removes some racial basis. The list goes on.

SPJ might say that the ethical standards are broad categories and diversity falls within truth or accountable. Even so I feel like with our nations past, ethical issues deserve more a little more notoriety. Smith says that in newsrooms’ defense, broadcast is a job of deadlines. If it takes extra time to find a source of a diverse background, it may not happen. So I took it upon myself to do an experiment. In Athens I walked from my apartment above Subway to my Marketing 202 class in Bentley. It took approximately 3:43 minutes. I eyeballed 27 minority students coming to and from class. That is one person of ethic descent every 8.26 seconds. So it would be hard to convince me that reporters don’t have 8.26 second to wait for someone of African or Hispanic descent to just walk by.

Smith says that the key to diversifying journalism isn’t necessarily rooted in increasing numbers in the workforce. Journalism’s climate and culture needs to be reevaluated. It starts up top. Newsroom leaders in the actual newsrooms and schools need to take action. If they make diversity one of their core ethical values, the results will reflect their stances.

Our 2nd required reading for this week attacked the issue of diversity in communications from a marketing standpoint. To me this paper was less on ethics and more on common sense. Minorities represent 40% of the buying population in the U.S. and marketers are just catching on. Two things popped out at me right away while I read this. Asian Americans, on average, have the highest buying power in the U.S. According to this paper, “advertisers are spending less than $100 million a year targeting Asian-Americans.” The paper also addresses the fact that on average African American are more likely to have TVs in the homes than any other ethnicities. Again I feel like marketers neglect that more than 60% of black families have multiple TVs.

This video is a minority geared coca-cola advertisement

The paper also wanted broadcast newsroom room to consider putting more blacks in a position of power. The majority of people though…

1. Sensitivity to racism

2. Coverage of minority groups

3. Providing greater job opportunities for minorities

4. Influence how the media thinks about minorities

No Minorities

Despite the U.S.’s growing diversity, minorities and women are still a fraction of the newsroom. Being a minority also has a great deal of influence on how I feel. It scares me when our in class reading say, “The good news--minorities in television newsrooms are up to the highest levels recorded at 22.2-percent this year. That’s up a full point from 2005. “

22 are such a small percent. If I got a 22 percent on a test my mother would drive 3 and a half hour from Cleveland and kick my ass. I guess showing us Shatter Glass in during our lecture was a great example of the real world because Rosario Dawson was the only minority employee in both newsrooms combined. I’m worried to say the least. Working in broadcast has always been one of my dreams, but my skin my not be qualified for this field.

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