Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Diversity: Covering Its Purpose and Impact

Russ Heltman

One of the most important aspects of the community a media outlet can cover is diversity, yet it is often handled clumsily and ineffectively. As the populations of minorities rise in this country, media outlets must make changes in how they choose to cover issues regarding diversity and who they appoint to carry out that coverage. A failure to do so could spell the end of the most important connection the media and public share, which is trust.
Problems of Today
The media industry is facing a diversity crisis in both the newsroom coverage being carried out and the people carrying out the stories. Much of which is very stereotypical towards minorities, from narrow coverage in Pittsburgh, to covering the increase in accepted hate speech towards Muslims.
The industry has failed to address these issues swiftly, and it's begun to affect their credibility among minorities. Blacks and Hispanics are growing increasingly weary of the media because they have been subject to institutional racism within that entity and many others for so long.
The growth of the transgender community has also created a whole new layer to diversity coverage that media outlets have had trouble reporting on correctly and sensitively. These are touchy subjects, but they can all be addressed with the proper planning and commitment.
Solving The Issues
Image Source
Many of these issues start with a lack of passion to report on diversity with accuracy and credibility. Newsrooms must begin putting an emphasis on hiring a diverse staff to fulfill all positions, thus creating a work environment with a multitude of experiences and opinions that can check one another on their views and add missing pieces to each others reporting.
They must also divert resources towards establishing a beat that passionately reports on diversity problems within the community. These beats must dive into these forgotten and misunderstood communities, and tell stories that get lost in over reported stereotypes. Much of this can be learned by big media outlets from the black and Hispanic press who have been reporting these types of stories for years.
The Importance of Coverage
These issues need to be reported on with commitment and passion because they are often what dominate the news cycle day in and day out. Racism and diversity have become huge issues all across society and it’s the medias ethical responsibility to give a voice to those being discriminated against and make sure they feel included in the community.
The minority population is quickly rising in this country and will eclipse the population of white Americans by 2050. If these people have no one to trust when it comes to covering their problems effectively and accurately, America will quickly morph into a shell of itself, and the media could become useless in the public’s eye.
The industry must make swift changes in and out of newsrooms to make sure minority communities are being covered diversely, accurately, and passionately. America's Ethnic landscape is changing rapidly and without the support of the country's fastest growing group of people, media as we know it could be left behind.

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