Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tip Toeing Around Diversity

Arielle J. Patterson

Covering Gender
When first reading The New York Times story on the Manning Name Change, I was reminded of a piece I saw on Anderson Cooper. He was with a former Navy SEAL that got a sex change and became Kristin Beck. Cooper handled this story very well, using all of the correct pronouns and did not shy away by using non-specific pronouns. I commend outlets like The Huffington Post and New York Magazine for following Manning’s wishes.

With stories like this, it is hard for the writer to put themselves in the shoes of the transgender person they are interviewing. You cannot approach this story as if you understand what they are going through. The best thing to do is to respect what they want. The audience’s ignorance can definitely get in the way with stories like this.

After hearing Beck’s story I read on, but the comments were so disgusting that I could not read anymore. Today, readers have the option of filtering their news content. For example, I dislike the Pittsburgh Steelers so I will never be finding news on the good things happening in their organization. If someone does not agree with the transgender or even LGBTQ community and does not wish to open their mind, why read about it? Some media outlets will alter their content in an attempt to appease everyone; however it is the audience’s choice to view certain content; they are not being forced.

Covering Poverty
Poverty should never be an issue of race. I agree with the reading from "Poor People in the News" that most White Americans see Black people as the main beneficiaries of welfare. I hear people say that all of the time and it makes my blood boil. I am from Baltimore and when I tell people that they automatically picture the city. I am actually from Baltimore County. My neighborhood is a predominantly Black, upper-middle class area. I would never see homeless people until I went into the city. Every Thanksgiving I would help feed the city’s homeless, and when they would come it was a melting pot of race and ethnicity. While a good majority was Black, there were also a noticeable amount of White people and Latinos.

If you watch the news in this area of Ohio, mostly middle-aged, White homeless are seen. If you go somewhere down south, you will see either a mix of Black and White or mostly Black homeless. The coverage of poverty depends on the area. It would be irresponsible of a journalist to stage a shot by choosing one homeless minority over another just to draw more emotion from an audience.

Covering Diversity
It is 100 percent on the journalist to seek out diversity. If you are trying to appeal to a certain audience you want to make sure they can relate to a certain story, especially if it may impact them. It is easy to just get one side of a debate, but a great journalist strives to get multiple perspectives. Diversity is not only race, but gender and class. As a budding sports journalist, I want to be taken seriously in my career. If it were not for other women in the sports media field, I would be in an entirely different career. Organizations such as the Association for Women in Sports Media are helping breakdown the wall and make the sports world more diverse for women of various ethnicity.

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