Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Diversity... Broken Down

Tim Hurst

We, the journalists, acting thoroughly and ethically, are expected to report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Cheesy, but accurate.

The moral of today's story is diversity. We are expected to encompass a wide range of sources and exclude no one because of their ethnicity, sex, or background.

Always, constantly, consistently.

Both inside and outside of the newsroom, across both the nation and the world, from the poorer parts of the country to the wealthier, our goal is to leave no stones unturned.

It is now that we get to the important parts. Diversity is important because it adds a wide range of ideas to a situation that it is impossible to get from just covering one side.  For example, the Vice Presidential Debates are airing right now, as I am writing this. If I, a reporter, were covering the debate and was asked to get opinions about the candidates, how well they did, and which candidate people are likely to side with, the results are likely to be very biased if I do not interview a diverse enough audience.

Random sampling is the best way to go about this, as described in the article linked. If I were to interview a great deal of straight, white men, my results would be skewed, and I wouldn't be reporting accurate information based on the country as a whole. All of this is getting more into statistics, but in terms of journalism, a handful of news sources are biased towards one side or the other. It's no secret that Fox News tends to favor a conservative mindset and MSNBC tends to favor a liberal mindset.

Is this inherently wrong? Yes, and no. Because these news sources are transparent enough in their bias, this isn't necessarily ethically wrong. There are many Americans, however, who watch one side thinking that this is the only correct way to think. News sources with less bias, such as PBS, BBC, and CSPAN do not skew their data, as they find a much more diverse group to get their information from.

On Covering Diversity
Covering diversity specifically can be challenging, because these are often touchy subjects. It's hard to get a story covering a minority or a group of people out without someone getting offended. The Target bathroom scandal this summer, for example, caused an uproar within the community. The Black Lives Matter movement, as well, is causing many people to speak out on both sides. The hashtag All Lives Matter has surfaced, generally thought of as the opposition to the Black Lives Matter ideology.

The best way to tackle news stories like this, ethically speaking, is to leave personal bias out of the equation and just use facts. The article linked describing the Target bathroom scandal does a good job of using quotes to show the strength of people's opinions rather than making it sound like the writer. It tells the story of both sides, which is imperative when dealing with potentially explosive topics. As a journalist, it is best not to get entangled in the middle of a controversy in order to keep credible.


This makes diversity a very challenging thing to cover and encompass within the workplace. Diversity is both important and taboo at the same time. As shown in the cartoon, it seems that today the emphasis is placed on celebrating diversity without offending anyone. It is a challenge, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment