Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Change We Never Saw

Jake Hromada    

    Diversity is always a touchy topic, whether it be in the classroom or a conversation at the dinner table. It’s diversity in the newsroom that’s a hot topic, especially with racial incidents happening all throughout the nation today and how they're being covered. The higher-ups in journalism have always said that diversity in the field as a whole needs to change because the United States is getting more and more diverse. Are these diverse newsrooms really happening though? According to the readings for this week, no, it’s not. I believe a diverse newsroom is the key to successful coverage.

    I had the chance to read an article from Nieman Reports titled Why Newsroom Diversity Works written by Alicia W. Stewart, her argument in the article states what the title says, why newsroom diversity works. Stewart touches on news corporations and how they talk about being diverse, but aren’t. Then there are those corporations who really do have a diverse newsroom that see a lot of success. I believe in a diverse newsroom because of that fact that all races see happenings in the world differently. In order to reach out to a specific audience you need a diverse newsroom to help captivate that audience. It’s unfortunate that racism still exists at a high level today, so I believe a racial bias towards journalists is present. If I’m an editor and see that there’s a protest about civil rights going on downtown, I’m going to send a black journalist to go cover it because he or she will cover it with meaning. Plus, the protestors will give the journalist better quotes and will definitely react better to the African American journalist instead of the white one. I would want colored journalists in my newsroom for events like this, and also other happenings around the community that African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos are doing that need to be covered. If these events and people are covered, then my paper will bring in a more unique audience. That unique audience will lead to better sales, which is key to any business. 

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    Getting into another reading titled Race, Ethnicity, and Student Sources: Minority Newsmakers in Student-Produced Versus Professional TV News Stories written by Laura K. Smith, goes into a study about how student newsrooms on college campuses are more diverse than the professional newsrooms around the country. This comes as no surprise to me since a professional newsroom can choose who gets hired, while a student newsroom really can’t choose. Then again, is that a bad thing for the student newsroom? No, because you have students wanting to do different things, and wanting to try things out. Unlike in a professional newsroom, where trying new things could come back to bite you. Not all newsrooms are to blame for the lack of diversity, I read an article on ONA15 Student Newsroom that there are newsrooms like BuzzFeed and Fusion who are taking advantage of the diversity in their newsroom and are reaching all audiences. BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith posted this article back in October of 2014 about how his newsroom realizes the importance of diversity in the office. So, even though diversity in professional newsrooms are an overall issue, some newsrooms realize that this is an issue, and they’re doing something about it. 

    Looking at it, diversity in the newsroom is great because different things get covered, and it builds for a better audience. Then again, these kinds of journalists have to be found, and have to be trained. Where newsroom diversity goes in the future is definitely a question mark, but it is something newsrooms need to look at and need to consider.

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