Thursday, October 6, 2016
The Importance of Diverse Newsrooms
Minorities Don’t Trust the Media
Some of the fundamentals of journalism are ensuring credibility and seeking truth. In past years, the stories of black, Hispanic, Latino, Muslim and Transgender Americans haven’t been taken into account when newsrooms are attempting to gain credibility. Many people of color, for example, don’t trust the media to tell their stories holistically and truthfully. They have a long-standing strain with trust in the systems of our society, media being one of those systems. Mainstream media and the editors and journalists in the more popular newsrooms must consider this not only when reporting stories but also when hiring people. Even if a story doesn’t particularly deal with race, it is sometimes important to include the nuances that race introduces to the story. This implementation of reporting on the intersection of race and the subject of whatever particular story is being told is crucial in telling the stories of our nation’s growing minority population truthfully and gaining credibility in those communities.
How Do Newsrooms End this Distrust?
Change has to be made in the newsrooms. The population of minorities is growing everyday, which means the diversity of the types of stories these groups of people are involved in is growing as well, and what’s being reported is not reflecting this. More diverse newsrooms will provide perspectives to stories unique to their personal experiences, specialized beats focusing on stories about various minority communities and the people who live in them would also help in ending the distrust many minority groups have in the media to tell their stories accurately. Similarly to how lower income neighborhoods trust the law enforcement more when they take the time to get to know the people of the community they work in, when specialty beats are focused on people and communities that have otherwise been neglected and journalists uncover stories that haven’t yet been told or have been told but not in their entirety, people will trust them more. Isn’t that one of the biggest challenges in journalism right now? Why not seize the opportunity to gain the trust of groups of people who have never really trusted the media? It is a much loftier goal than many newsrooms recognize and it needs to be treated seriously, because it is.
Benefits of Diverse Newsrooms
If specialty beats were given to subjects such as “the black community” having someone on the beat who is not black could potentially pose some issues. The journalist may have biases toward the community they haven’t yet had to face. The people in the community may be less inclined to be sources for them out of fear that they will be inaccurately reported on. But having a more diverse newsroom would give non-minority journalists resources that will point out issues in stories, help lead them in the right direction when gathering stories and more importantly, stress the fact that these stories are important and need to be told just like any other story. At the heart of a journalist's job is the power to inform and to change minds. There are still a lot of minds that need to be changed regarding biases against minority groups and the media must become more proactive in being a source for the necessary change of that fact.