Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Media, please stop.

by Maren Machles

When Journalists Interrupt the Story to Further Their Career

One of my biggest personal pet peeves with journalists is when they interrupt a story to get the perfect angle. Journalist today are a lot more focused on furthering their career and getting the scoop than getting the story right and respecting all the major players in the story. Specifically, with the coverage of Ferguson, MO., the agendas of the reporters were more important than accurately depicting the conflict. It is almost like today, we aren't even focusing on what the story is.

In a blog post by former Al Jazeera America Contributor Ryan L. Schuessler, he references the various ways in which journalists covered the Ferguson riots. He lists journalists yelling at community leaders for being in their shots, destruction of public property and a sense of arrogance when journalists put their safety before those in the violence.

When Journalists Make the Story About Them

Schuessler notes the journalists made themselves the center of the story. We have one job as journalists, to report on a scene clearly and accurately. We are human recorders, and we do not insert ourselves into the story. It is appalling that the mainstream media focused so heavily on the burden of their own reporters, rather than the distress and rage of the people. This story is about something more than just one white cop shot an unarmed young black man and as a result people started looting and destroying their homes. This story is a civil rights story and is happening too often. A historical dialogue is beginning to take place and journalists need to record, not distract from it. Instead, CNN reported on how reporters like OU alum, Wesley Lowery were arrested for doing their job.

Explained in this video: “How were journalists targeted in Ferguson?”

“It is a complex story, no doubt. It is about race, justice, civil disobedience, and freedom to protest and the media is right in the center of it all,” Brian Stelter said, listing all the issues and then segueing into how the media is a victim of what is happening.

Good for the reporters for doing their job; please don’t make a story out of it. Get things straightened out while you send someone else out to cover what they missed. We need to stop victimizing ourselves because this is what we want and where we want to be. We want to be at the scene, with the risks involved as a result of being there, because that is what the people at the scene are facing. We are not an elite force; we are chasing the absolute truth.

We report constantly about the news and the current status of the media. It is downright narcissistic. Yes, it is important that we know about the future of our jobs, but we do not need to publish that for the rest of the world to see when there are more important things to be reported on.

So please…
Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.15.44 AM.png


When It Is Time to Look At the Bigger Picture

This is why the public cannot trust us. We are too worried about getting the most reader or viewership, we aren't even paying attention to what is actually going on around us. A lot of it has to do with pressure from the industry. I can't count how many times my fellow journalism students have said to me, "Sometimes I wish I could step back, and actually live the story." I think through the evolution of journalism, we have lost that. We are so focused on keeping our jobs by being first, we haven't worried about the ethical issues of the story and of our own reporting.

Should Journalists Be Part Of The Story?

Makenzie Piatt

With the recent events occurring in Ferguson, journalists are finding it hard to be transparent while delivering news. In the article on Aljazeera America, Malcom Harris stated how journalist’s involvement during the reporting of a story could make the situation more dangerous. In the article, Harris states, “Just because journalists can legally get away with something doesn’t mean they should”. While it is not every journalist’s intention to become part of the story, it is sometimes hard to avoid depending on the situation. While involvement in a story should be avoided at all costs, some situations leave no choice. If journalists somehow find themselves beginning to become too involved, they need to remember their ethical obligations while reporting on the story.
Seek the truth and report it
Society of Professional Journalism tells journalists to “Report the story, don’t become part of it.” This ethical value has to do with reporting and seeking the truth. Reporters are not at the scene to discuss things about themselves, they are reporting to relay important information that most likely happened before they arrived. While journalists and television reporters are more recognizable than an average person and have a voice to be heard, they should not abuse their power and still remain truthful about the events. While many journalists don’t intend to be involved in a story, some can accidentally find themselves in a complicated situation. For Wes Lowery’s situation, he was sitting in a McDonalds trying to produce content about Ferguson and the Michael Brown case when police officers abruptly entered the restaurant and arrested him without giving valid reason. He was able to record some of the encounter and participated in multiple interviews discussing the situation. Lowery unintentionally became part of the story about the forceful police officers in Ferguson, and provided video to prove it. Although he should not have gotten involved in the case, he still reported the truth about what happened. It should be an ultimate goal that journalists become the subject of news as infrequently as possible.

Act Independently
In an article for The Washington Post written by Alyssa Rosenberg, she said, “ The treatment of journalists in wartime or at scenes of protest and civil unrest is a test of whether the people they are covering share some basic values and views of what is taking place.” While anything can happen while reporting a dangerous or unsettling news story, journalists should always remember to try to act independently and remember their main obligation of serving to the public. Considering the people affected by the news and staying unbiased toward the situation at hand is key to ethical journalism.

Minimize Harm
Journalists should always avoid any conflict of interest and focus on whom their story could potentially affect. In a video by Big Think, journalist Kurt Pitzer, was reporting in Iraq when he met a man who needed to get his family out of the country and decided to help him. The man from Iraq, Mahdi Obeidi, was a nuclear scientist who worked for Saddam Hussein and wanted to turn in the remaining pieces of hidden software in exchange for leaving the country. There was no way Pitzer could write the story because the man would be targeted and killed. Although Pitzer made a mistake of becoming too involved in the story, he still remembered the ethical value of minimizing harm. He put the stakeholders of the story into consideration and wanted to protect what he could.

When Journalists get too Involved

Justin McCauley

I was sitting in my apartment on Court street in Athens, OH when I was scrolling through twitter and saw my twitter feed blowing up from journalists tweeting about all that was happening in Ferguson, MO. I follow several journalists and news outlets on twitter just like every aspiring journalist does and so most of my news about what was happening there from the original incident and what happen after was from the journalists I follow on twitter and what they retweeted. I didn't think twice about what was going on until that day when fellow Bobcat and alum Wesley Lowry got arrested.

Photographer Scott Olsen getting arrested by Ferguson Police officers

Journalists Objectivity

It was at that moment that I realized I should look into what was going on not just what my twitter feed was telling me. What I discovered was that: 1) something terrible was happening in that city and it was sad 2) The reporters that I was following were slowly losing their objectivity. No one will ever really know what actually happen and whats the truth of why the police arrested those journalists. So in the article written by Politico  saying that some of the journalists who were there in Ferguson, MO got into the story they were trying to tell.

Losing the Code

While journalists use and are protected by the first amendment they also seem to have forgotten about the code of ethics that they abide by. In the day and age of "information now" where we want to know about things happen as it is happening. With journalist doing that you get information quickly but as shown by the Occupy Wall Street that other people or the cops look at those social media sites to get people in trouble. It breaks codes of ethics such as: minimize harm, seek truth and report it just to name a few.

I have never been in a situation remotely close to what the reporters were in during the Ferguson events. I know that the longer that the media and the more that showed up in Ferguson, the angrier the people of Ferguson got. Its our duty to tell a story but with technology everyone is a journalist. What separates us from everyone is that code of ethics that we follow and how objective we seem to remain. When 75% of Americans say that journalists cant get their facts right how are you suppose to trust them.

Now the Ferguson situation is the first of my generation like it but not the first in history and the paid media, the journalists are there to tell the correct story, the honest story but by not recognizing what might happen if you tweet something you see or losing your objectivity because of things you see. That what makes us (journalists) and people with smart phones different. It is our duty to uphold that trust of the people that we cover. The moment that we lose that trust is the moment that you need to consider a new job.

The Fine Line Between Reporting and Commentary in Ferguson

Sean Neidig

Photo by Wiley Price / St. Louis American
The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri was something that dominated the summer news cycle, not just because of what transpired but also because how the media covered it and in many ways the media became a story itself.   Reporters from all over the country flocked to Ferguson to get a first hand account of the events following the death of Michael Brown, and there has been much discussion about the role the media played in the advancement of the story.

One of the main points of contention was whether journalists were doing their jobs and only reporting the facts or if they were placing their own personal beliefs into their coverage as well.  As a journalist, I think that when we are supposed to cover news that it should be strictly that, just the facts.  When we inject our personal opinion into stories, even just a word, we aren’t doing our jobs as journalists.

However, I think that there is certainly a place for commentary on issues as large as this, just so long as there is clear separation of facts and opinions.  When journalists blur the two, they break one of the core codes of journalism, which is reporting the facts independently without bias. 

The media site mediabistro.com, a blog style site for journalists, gave reporters’ coverage as a whole a grade of C or C-, mostly because of the bias that a lot of major reporters showed while covering the event.  It is certainly understandable for people to be emotional about something like this but as a reporter you have to put yourself above that while reporting the news.

One of the most impactful pieces I remember reading was by Rembert Browne, a writer for Grantland.com.  His piece, “TheFront Lines of Ferguson,” was published online on August 15, but is about the two days after the shooting.  In the piece, Browne describes the events he experienced while in Ferguson but definitely not in a news fashion and I think this kind of writing goes a long way towards helping people understand what it was like to actually be there.  In the piece though, Browne explicitly states that he ceased to be journalist while he was there as a way to present more of his feelings.

One of the most important jobs of a reporter is to minimize harm and when a reporter used language that clearly designates one side as the “bad guys,” they are certainly not living up to that ideal.  Reporters are not robots, so it is ok for them to have opinions on controversial issues, but I wish more would take the route Browne did by making it clear that what he was writing was not a true news story.  When reporters abuse the influence they have as trusted, public voices, they not only hurt the parties directly involved, but they influence the public at large.  This makes it that much more difficult for people to get only the facts of an event that was so important like the events in Ferguson.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Women in Sports Journalism

Hayley Lewis

Diversity in the media has proved itself to be both dormant and unchanging over the last two decades with Caucasian reporters representing over 80% of the average newsroom. With various reporter stereotypes associated with each type of news, it becomes difficult for minorities to break into varying fields within journalism to make an impact and turn these numbers around.

Women face an uphill battle when it comes to sports journalism. Although they are continuously making strides into the field they are still faced with colleagues who are overwhelmingly male, automatically making them a target of a variety of scrutiny from knowledge of the game, to most importantly, appearance.

An audience that is primarily male automatically, and often loudly, judges many women who bravely delve in to the world of sports journalism based on their appearance. The resulting notoriety of the more attractive female reporters often overshadows their hard work and professionalism and completely overrides any of their statements or insight into the game they are covering.

Jenny Dell, a former Red Sox correspondent and now NFL sideline reporter, gained a massive following in Boston and the surrounding New England area after she covered the Sox’ world champions run in 2013. This cult-like following however was based primarily upon the reporters looks and often completely ignored the job she was doing.

Photo: Jim Davis / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

She is not alone. With lists such as “The 20 Sexiest SportsReporters of 2012” females on sports networks cannot escape the scrutiny, no matter how good their reporting or game analysis is, and most likely will not until diversity is increased across the media as a whole.

The subjective judgment of women sports journalists is by no means encouraging for young women and girls who aspire to be just that, particularly in a society where women are constantly scrutinized based on appearance rather than their knowledge of a subject or their abilities and talents within their career.

In order for the minority problem to be fixed in the media, speculations against women and other minorities based on appearance or race have to be reduced. This proves more difficult however when minority numbers are not increasing due primarily to the lasting effects of the financial crisis and the higher likelihood of a minority taking a buy-out deal due to their lack of seniority in the newsroom. A fact that is proving difficult to overcome, but one which a solution to would most likely fix media-public relations and produce greater trust in the media as an accurate reflection of American society.

Diversity brings more voices into a newsroom

Melaina Lewis

Diversity is a hot topic of conversation in various sectors, and at times a point of tension.

I agree with Director of Communications and several editors at The New RepublicAnnie Augustine, when she said in an interview with Buzzfeed"A diverse newsroom is inclusive not just of racial and ethnic minorities, but also of women, gays and lesbians, and people form various socioeconomic backgrounds."

When we cement the word diversity to one aspect of the definition, we begin to lose the true meaning of the word.

In 2013, President Obama addressed the many meanings of diversity in his inaugural address. Diversity makes the world beautiful and rich in knowledge and power, so why is finding or putting diversity in the newsroom so difficult?

There are "little" women in the newsroom

Even though women have more representation in the newsroom than ever before, there's still a lack of women holding leadership roles in the news industry. According to a study conducted by Huffington Post, 50 years ago there was barely one woman in newsroom. Today's numbers have hit a 14 year stagnate of women only making up 38% of the newsroom. Former President of ABC News, David Westin, told Huffington Post, people tend to hire people like themselves. Newsroom managers have to strive to overcome natural tendencies of hiring similar people, and must push to look outside who they are personally when hiring others.

A news hailstorm started when The New York Times fired its first female executive Jill Abramson in 2014. Many news outlets reported the oust of Abramson was after she tried to hire another female editor in the newsroom, and for various other reasons. Abramson was quickly replaced by Dean Baquet, the first African American to serve as executive editor. A 2013 study by Poynter shows, NYT quotes 3.4 times as many men as women in stories. A lack of diversity can create persuasion and represent less voices in stories, causing the media to lose value and the truth to be skewed. Doesn't that challenge journalism ethics? 

A lack of minorities in the newsroom

A 2013 study from the Pew Research Center showed two years ago, minority journalists accounted for 12% of the total newspaper workforce in the newsroom. The study also revealed small newspapers are less likely to employ minority journalists. At small circulation newspapers, minorities represent 6% of the newsroom. However, large circulation newsrooms employ less than 20% of minorities, which is considerably higher than the overall industry. According to an American Society of News Editors survey, 38,000 journalist work at 1,400 newspapers and 4,700 are minorities. On average three non-white journalist work at each newsroom.


Recently, about 5,000 new digital jobs hit the employment landscape, which is a great opportunity to increase journalistic diversity. The Multicultural Economic report shows Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Native Americans control more than $1 trillion of consumer spending. This is a large portion of people who will want to consume news. This is an opportunity to hire minority journalists into leadership roles, and reconnect with Americans through ethical news, as well as, spread new and old media.

Why it matters 

1. You need diversity to get different viewpoints in the editorial process. Americans feel they are not seeing themselves, their lives, and their cultures represented properly.
2. Diversity improves the quality and credibility of American journalism.
3. Diversity spreads access to underrepresented communities.
4. Excellence and fairness can co-exist in the media.
5. Diverse journalism contributes to broader topics, such as finance, global affairs and national security. 

Misrepresentation in the News

Andrew Kovar

The primary job of a news outlet is to report the news fairly and accurately. One of the major components of doing so is accurately reflecting that areas population in the newsroom. Making the newsroom more representative of the population makes their broadcast or reporting on a certain topic more relatable to the audience making them more likely to trust the news. This is something that has been declining over recent years as according to this poll has fallen to less than 25 percent in 2013. One way to regain the public's trust is to represent the community ethnically in the newsroom something that has gotten lost over the past few years.

Who is Reporting

With minorities increasing on a yearly basis, the newsroom should accurately represent that uptrend within its own walls. Unfortunately, the newsroom is headed in the opposite direction as minority employment has fallen to 12.37 percent from a 2006 high of 13.73 percent. As newsrooms follow the up-trends of what is happening in the rest of America, they seemed to miss out on the major factor of diversity and representation in the news place.

With the right mixture of diversity in the newsroom, this will offer the right amount of perspectives to the stories at hand. Diversity in the newsroom doesn't only include just journalists, but those higher up employees too who have just as much say in what content they must publish for the public. According to a study from The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) 86 percent of television news directors and 91.3 percent of radio news directors are Caucasian.

Image from http://www.dvdizzy.com/images/a/anchorman-01.jpg

Guests on News Shows

Anti-diversity in the media doesn't stop with those who report or monitor the news. The guests in which a news outlet brings also shape how the news can be spun. According to a 2008 report by MediaMatters.org, guests on cable news in prime time is drastically misrepresentative of the audience in which watches these programs. In total, 67 percent of the guests brought on these programs are men and of that male percentage 84 percent are white.

This over represents a fading population of America as only 32 percent of the country is Caucasian males while 57 percent of the news broadcast is focused on this group. It was the only group that at least meets the right percentage of news coverage for the percentage of the population. Even Caucasian women are misrepresented by nearly seven percent.


As the population in America continues to increase in diversity, the newsroom must change with it in order to still be able to relate to the audience. If there is no change in their ways, there might be a further drop off in the viewing audience as according to Paul Cheung, President of the Asian American Journalists Association, more than 50 percent of the country will be non-Caucasian by 2050.

Change needs to start at the top as the largest difference in diversity comes from positions such as news director. A change at those positions would provide a different perspective to what the public views as news. It might also increase trust in news as they see that those reporting the news are more representative to what they see in the community.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Newsrooms Fail to Grow with Diversity

Kiley Landusky

As America grows up into a more diverse “melting pot,” the newsrooms cannot seem to keep up.  The industry’s recession has hit minorities harder than the overrepresented whites, pushing them out of the workplaces they diversified. This underrepresentation of minorities in the news industry yields even more underrepresentation in news stories being released.
            An article in the Atlantic tells us of research conducted by The American Society of News Editors. This study shows that in a country with 37% of its population comprised of minorities, only 12.37% represent its newsrooms.
            There is an undeniable need for more minority representation in our newsrooms. Not only do minorities need reporters that reflect their points of view, the rest of the population needs to hear from voices other than the dominant ones.

Who Are We Talking To?

            The majority of listeners/readers/watchers varies by media platform. The Pew Research Center has conducted studies that show which ethnic group leads each category.
            Newspaper readers are primarily white. Television news watchers are primarily African American. Does this matter when we consider the voices contributing to each media platform? I do believe it does.
            I do not think that every platform should be separated by ethnicity. That would be ridiculous. News contributors should at least be equally represented in the newsroom as they are in viewership. In a perfect world, each ethnicity would be equally represented on all platforms, pulling in all audiences and demonstrating the beauty of diversity to each ethnicity.

This image was provided by Reddit. http://www.redditpics.com/the-diversity-of-fox-news-anchors-fixedfixed,2704872/ 

Who is Best at Speaking?

            It seems as though college students are the best at representing minorities when compared to professional journalists. Laura K. Smith writing for The Howard Journal of Communications reveals information gathered in research conducted by Poindexter, Smith and Heider from 2003. Their research showed that diversity played a significant role in the professor’s teaching philosophy and design.
            Not only did the amount of sources per story average out as more in students’ work than professionals, but the diversity of those sources was also greater in students’ work. 27% of the students’ sources were from minorities while only 19% of the professionals’ sources were minorities. Students also were more likely to include diverse voices early on in the stories, and keep them consistent throughout their stories.
            As far as voicing minorities’ concerns, Caucasians were less likely than minorities in the newsroom to seek out and include racial and ethnicity minorities as sources. This tells us that we need a lot more than just the white kids running the show. We may still hear about minorities from white reporters, but the extent of what we hear will probably be less than if a minority was reporting.

What Do We Do?

            As journalists, it is important to widen our coverage to all races and all ethnic backgrounds, specifically those represented in the region we report in. Caucasian reporters should feel urged to get out of their comfort zone and use more minorities as sources in their stories.
            The management of media should also seek minority voices to represent and articulate to the public the issues surrounding various minorities represented in the population. This is crucially important because as our diversity grows in the real world, readers will want to see the same growth in the journalism industry.

Representing a Modern America

Jennica Lurie

Diversity in the newsroom is a hot topic lately as more and more journalists are being bought out or laid off as a result of the industry's recent recession. Due to the elimination of many positions within the field, the number of minority staff members do not represent the public population as a whole. This statistic has led to a public outcry for more representation in all platforms of news media.


Minority Population Growing in America and Shrinking in the News Room

With the growth of the minority population in the United States up to 37%, the public feels that the news room staff should reflect the nation's diversity at stations and papers all over the country. As much as we would like to think that every Caucasian, male journalist in the country can report fair and honest news from every perspective, this is just not the case. We need a fresh pair of eyes and ears to report effective and newsworthy stories that hit home for people of all races and ethnicities. Without the addition of diversity in the newsroom, many minority citizens feel that the news does not pertain to them nor does it report stories that they would be interested in.

Students vs. Professionals

When students and professional journalists' work are compared to each other, we can see that students are actually better than the professionals at including people of multiple races and from many different backgrounds in their stories. This could be for a number of reasons. One reason could be that with the decline of diversity in reporting, professors and accredited universities are doing all they can to ensure that their students and the future of the journalism profession are using as many sources from as many different backgrounds as possible. If this is emphasized at the college level now, students will be more likely to carry this with them into the future. While the majority of the students are Caucasian, they do a very good job of including many sources in their stories and even more than that, many sources from different ethnicities and backgrounds. A second reason could be that the idea of diversity is much more emphasized at the college level. There are classes available to students that are purely on diversity in the newsroom. Many professional journalists believe that there are more important aspects to reporting a story than finding sources from all different walks of life. 

Language Barriers

Beyond the idea of multiple perspectives comes the practical uses of having a diverse staff. Many times, a story that happens within a certain culture can present a challenge for a reporter who knows nothing about the background or the language of that culture. In this day in age, it is more vital than ever to have staff members who are able to communicate with people of all ethnicities because with the growing latino/a population, if there is no one on your team that can speak spanish, there will be many stories lost. Being able to speak and communicate with the people involved in a story gives so much more depth and meaning than trying to pull little pieces of information from the words that could be understood. Not to mention this could lead to misreporting, which is a whole other issue.

Make a Change

It is time for our newsrooms to represent the American population. This is not something that will just happen because we wish it to, it must be pursued and we must work hard for it. How would you feel if no one ever reported anything of interest to you? What if you were trying to tell your story to someone else and they could not understand you? These are the battles faced everyday and evidence as to why we need to diversify our newsrooms.

Diversity Dilemma

Alyssa Keefe

One would think that since the United States is known to be a "melting pot" our news coverage would be diverse. It should be a given that our news coverage would reflect today's society and would incorporate the many ethnicities and backgrounds that we are surrounded by each day. Surprisingly enough, newsrooms are not diverse.

Overall, minority journalists accounted for 12% of the total newspaper newsrooms in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. Viewers typically watch white men hosting the nightly news. Latinos, African Americans and women are being underrepresented in this field. How can journalists report on different stories that certain minority groups would read and approve of if those minority groups are not involved in the newsrooms giving our audience a whole different viewpoint?

There have been two recent events that have been contributing to the diversity dilemma in newsrooms and both are from the New York Times.

Wesley Lowery
Ohio University alum and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery recently put the New York Times on blast when he discovered that of the paper's 20 culture critics, none are African American and only two people are of color. With only two people of color reporting on stories involving different cultures, is that even fair, biased or respectful?

(Image from twitchy.com via Lowery's Twitter)

Alessandra Stanley
Longtime TV critic Alessandra Stanley received some negative criticism for her article on the television producer Shonda Rhimes (Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder). Stanley referenced Rhimes as an "Angry Black Woman" in which some readers found to be extremely offensive and even racist. Stanley even called Viola Davis, the main actress in Rhimes' new television show How to Get Away with Murder, "less than classically beautiful". Adding stereotypes into her article was not the most appropriate thing to do and Stanley has since apologized.

Having a diverse newsroom is crucial to success. Journalists are not purposely trying to cater to one certain group; they want to bring in as many different views as they can for their audience. However, they are not doing the best job doing so. Money is a huge issue that contributes to the failing diversity in newsrooms today. To be hired, most news outlets hire journalists who have a degree and have had previous experience in the journalism field. In order to gain that desired experience, one must have had internships in the same field. However, internships today are hard to come by, especially paid ones. Some places are not able to afford paid interns in their budget. With journalists getting laid off from their jobs and interns continuing to be unpaid, it is difficult to hire and find a diverse group of journalists.

A diverse workforce means a wide range of stories that reaches out to the minority groups. Journalists and news organizations should feel committed to creating a diverse staff, to reach out to the public, and report on stories that will interest them. People will become more engaged to read or watch the news if they can relate to the stories. And although newsrooms are lacking minority journalists, there is still a chance for those groups to share their viewpoints. Minority journalists are now producing their own magazines and blogs to share their opinions, away from the major news outlets. Therefore, despite the diversity dilemma, minority groups have the ability to share their views in other ways.

Racial Divides in the Newsroom

Mallory Laird

In this day in age, it is hard to believe that any type of discrimination still exists, especially in the newsroom. It is hard to understand why there is a decreasing number of minorities in the journalism world. As journalists, it is our main goal to make sure everyone's voice is heard equally. But how are journalists supposed to achieve that goal when not all voices are being represented?

The recession has played a huge role in the decreasing number of minorities in the newsroom. According to a recent article published by The Atlantic, layoffs have resulted in the cutting down of minority journalists. This is because journalists of color have the least seniority in the journalism world. Now the fact that colored journalists jobs are not as safe as caucasian people is a problem in itself. People of color do not hold as high up jobs in journalism. A shocking 90% of newsroom supervisors or managers were found to be white (The Atlantic, pg.1).

"News media is getting whiter as the country is getting browner." Journalists of color "feel their voice is not heard, their story ideas are not validated, and they don't see room for advancement”(The Atlantic, pg.1). This quote taken from the above news article is a glimpse into the corruption of the newsroom. As America is progressing forwards, becoming more diverse, the news room is moving backwards. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic etc. peoples want to see themselves represented in the news media. A Hispanic women would prefer to have a hispanic individual talking about say an Hispanic event going on in her community rather than a caucasian that may or may not know a lot about the culture.
How do we make this better?
In an article posted by Poytner, some journalists of color give advice:
1)”Don't sacrifice who you are for where you want to go” This is a very powerful message. Journalists should not feel like they have to hide their culture or their beliefs so they can be the next big anchor or broadcast star. If you get turned down from a job, keep trying. Don't feel like you have to hide who you are in return for a great opportunity.
2.This next piece of advice goes along with the first quote above. “If you want to (be a journalist) fairly, you have to stay true to who you are”. Don't do something, or not do something because of who you are. Be proud of who you are and where you come from.
Is there any positive from this?

It is hard to look around and find any positive in a situation such as this. So I said to myself “Look at the casts of different popular TV morning shows and examine the races of each cast”. So I got on my computer and searched for the most popular morning TV show and one of my favorites The Today Show. For as long as I can remember I have felt the Today Show has always had a variety of races on their main cast. From Matt Lauer, to Ann Curry to Al Roker and to Hoda Kotb, they seem to have a very diverse set of journalists. Which gives me hope that maybe it's because they are a big news station. So perhaps if this is a starting point, the minorities apart of smaller newsrooms and what not will begin to grow. 

Diversity in the Newsroom

Anna Lippincott

In the wake of the most recent recession, families have been left unemployed and without hope. In addition to an economic crisis, newspapers and media outlets have faced a crisis of their own and layoffs have been astronomical. Unfortunately for certain journalists, the magnitude of the problem is double.

Minority journalists have been a growing force in the newsroom in the past decade, seeing their highest employment numbers in history. However, progress has backtracked much of a result of the recent news employee decline, which hit minorities hard. According to an article in The Atlantic, in 2011 minority newsroom employment fell 5.7 percent, more than double the average drop. One very viable reason for the decline is the buyouts companies have offered, which seem appealing and like a positive alternative for many people. After all, it is better than the oftentimes inevitable layoff. A second and perhaps stronger reason is because there has been a huge minority push in the last several years, pushing many new hires into the minority category. While this sounds promising, when news outlets are forced to downsize, it is newer employees that are first to see the boot. For non-whites, this is a huge portion of employees. 

Image via Appreciation of Booted News Women Blog

So where do we go from here?

In a time when the newsroom does not look do promising, it is important to keep pace so that the progress for minorities is not lost. There are plenty of alternatives for ethnic journalists to overcompensate for the job loss numbers in order to come back strong.  Journalists should strategize to bring minority employment back on the rise.

1.     1. Pick a strong beat.  “Don’t feel like you have to do the racism beat,” but it never hurts for journalists to choose something unique they may have an edge on. While it is easy for a Caucasian writer to gather information on South Asia, a second generation Pilipino journalist may have more background knowledge and insight. Just like an of Mexican decent journalist may have a deeper connection with immigration issues.
2.     2. Freelance. If there are no newsroom jobs available, journalists always have the opportunity to get their names out through freelance outlets. For minority journalists, it can be easier to find freelance jobs or get more work clips through community publications. Journalists can look to their local ethnic publications or papers to publish work about issues concerning them. 
3.     3. Look for outlets that will use race to their advantage. Maybe a particular local station has had only white reporters for the last ten years. Chances are they are looking to diversify to improve their image. A journalist should not be afraid to mention he hopes to be the first Indian anchor on the station. Make mixing race a necessity for the network.

4.     4. Don’t be discouraged. Economics comes in swings, and the market will pick back up. There will be jobs for journalists, and pre-downfall, minority journalism jobs were on an incredible rise. The best thing ethnic reporters can do is not lose hope and continue to work hard.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Subjectivity is not the issue

By Jaelynn Grisso

At the age of 12, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to write, I wanted to inform and I wanted to tell stories that made a difference. At the age of 16, I started working as a journalist. I was only an intern, and the paper I worked for only serviced the small town of Glendive, Mont., but I was taking those first steps toward becoming a journalist. And a large step to take involved ethics, specifically journalism ethics. My mentor taught me about classic journalism ethics, and the concepts have been ingrained into my life ever since.

Maybe it is for this reason, or maybe it is for a more fundamental lack of collect conscience in journalists, it is frustrating when it becomes even just an inquiry as to why it might be an issue for a reporters to become too close to their sources. What is even more concerning is that not only are journalism students debating these basic ethically issues, but so are professional journalists. Many see no issue with becoming friends with sources, and allowing those sources to wine and dine them.

However, as with any ethical issue, it is not nearly as black-and-white as I may like for it to be. For the typical, traditional journalist, these ethics still apply (although, even that point has been contested). The shades of gray begin to appear when the conversation shifts to less traditional journalists, such as critics and opinion columnists.

In a column from SF Gate by Derk Richardson, Richardson discussed the ethical issues of music journalism. After explaining how several in the business currently receive handouts from sources and publicists with no qualms about it, he continued on to pose an interesting question.

“But is there really anything other than subjective criticism?” he asked.

No; there’s not. Criticism, by nature, is subjective, and is required to be so because it involves one party finding fault with another and explaining those. But, in order to have fault, the two parties must have differing opinions about what constitutes being wrong.

The issue arises, however, in the fact that this question was posed in this context at all. Whether or not criticism is subjective is moot. What matters is if the journalist can maintain the ability to be critical. Columnists and critics do not lost their journalistic ethics merely because they are subjective. 

But when these journalists (because they are indeed journalists) can no longer gather information, present their opinion based on fact and effectively provide fair and open criticism, then the entire business should be concerned.

Questions concerning how involved a journalist should become with a source should no longer be raised. Sources should remain to be just that, a source of information. Allowing the lines to blur between a source and a friend only inhibits the ability to be critical, in need be, and fosters distrust among readers or viewer. The issue is more than a conflict of interest. It’s a conflict of integrity.