Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Diversity is Not Only Something We Want to See, but NEED in Journalism

D’Asia Leathers

As our society is continuing to grow the way it is socially, diversity is an essential asset in any newsroom. Having employees of various backgrounds is significant because, not only does it provide your organization with more substance, but the audiences you are reaching out to are diverse themselves. 

A Pew Research Center study stated that people of color study the news more than white residents, but were greatly dissatisfied with the coverage they received. And not only are minorities uneasy about the amount of coverage they receive, they are disappointed in the way they are portrayed in the media, oftentimes. 

For example, in the case of Trepierre Hummons, the African American community in Cincinnati, especially those closely related to Hummons, were disappointed in how he was portrayed on some local media broadcast outlets. While he committed a terrible crime that ultimately resulted in his death and the death of a police offer, Trepierre was not an all-in-all bad guy. Therefore, why is that when the story was discussed on most Cincinnati news television networks, they only showed a picture of his mugshot rather than him graduating high school, him hanging out with his daughter or brought any other positive light to him in this grave situation? However, the multiple pictures displayed of the fallen police officer showed him working hard in his line of duty and spending time with his family.   

Diversity is not solely race

I believe it is important to remember that diversity is defined by Webster as the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc. and the state of having people who are of different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization. Keeping this in mind is important because many people automatically associate diversity with race- and most often think it’s white vs. black or a white vs. minority issue, but that is not always the case.

Another common misconception is that diversity is a gender issue. The corporate world is dominated by white males, indeed. And aside from that, they typically hold higher positions and have a better chance of moving up into higher positions or receiving higher pay than a woman with the same degree as them. Also, as evident in the chart below, being that women only make up about one third of the journalism task force, they are dominated in every field of journalism except freelance journalism. 

We want to see real change

Talks of change in social injustices have been circulating for years, but are improving slowly. People are sick of just hearing about the diversity that is supposed to be evident- they want to actually see it. I believe it is also extremely important that minorities are not solely being used as pawns in a diversity game in order for someone’s corporation or organization to receive a more notable mention for having a diverse staff.  

All in all, it all comes down to building the necessary relationships with multiple people from various backgrounds. If you continue outsourcing the same information off the same track, your audience will never grow. Most people thrive off diversity, but this is something America still has to grow comfortable with.  

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