Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's the Minority Report in the Newsroom?

Amber Skorpenske
Diversity in the Newsroom
I believe it is important to be diverse as possible in the newsroom. Firstly, by adding Latino's, African-Americans and Asians into the newsroom we would offering our audiences different perspectives as our reporters and anchors would all come from different backgrounds. By having all these different ethnicities, we would have access to more diverse sources and be able to produce interesting and compelling pieces. We would be improving our work and at the same time gaining a larger and more assorted audience. By also placing these minorities on camera, other minorities who already watch our station would feel more comfortable and trusting of their local reporters/anchors. Working with different people in the fast paced news environment one would have to learn to rely and work with people of different backgrounds. Through this collaboration the news station would discover new strengths within each other and be able to produce new material that showcases these strengths.

Covering Minorities
It takes a very sensitive person to cover minorities that one does not belong in. As the NAHJ discussed, using words like "Illegal Alien" may be promoting negative connotations about certain members of a group. NABJ also advocates for the increase in sensitivity when dealing with ethnic issues and the fact we must be playing into or encouraging stereotypes. Producers and editors must be sensitive as to how the are portraying minorities, whether that means showing them mainly being arrested, or sneaking across the border. When covering minorities I think it is important to take into account how we achieve the specific angle or how we find these sources. In the readings it was discussed that reporters (especially broadcasters) must learn to travel farther and to go outside of their comfort zone to find a story that contains minorities. While the story might be relatable to all, it is nice to some "color" on our tv - through different people who we interview or different characters we choose to follow. As journalists it should be apart of our ethics system cover all aspects of our community, through all angles - and this includes minorities and the attentiveness to diversity.

Being multi-cultural myself I feel like it is very important to cover all aspects. I am a Latina and I know firsthand that people of my culture might want to see different stories on air. Having this insight and being able to share it with my future bosses would make me and asset in the growing and changing media. If we care about our audience so much, I would only assume that we would cater to each sect of our diverse public. It should not be viewed as "more work" or a "weakness" in the news room's repertoire of stories. It should be viewed as a strength that each reporter as the talent and conviction to constantly cover the different cultural stories and to present them in a way that relates to all minorities/ethnicities and at the same time paying special attention to the different needs of all minorities/ethnicities. This well-rounded news room is what will be the norm of the future and instead of fighting it, all upcoming journalists should approach it head on with excitement and conviction.

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