Diversity Is Real - We Are Ignoring It
Recently, the population of minority groups in our society is skyrocketing, and unfortunately the general public fears that journalists are not doing their job to let these people speak out and be fairly represented.
Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and those of the LGBT community are a large portion of the population and are continuing to grow, but their representation in the newsroom and in media is not growing at the same speed.
If journalists do not fairly represent everyone equally, it forces many to doubt reporters' credibility. This is not what our ethical codes support, or even allow, and it's time these rules are enforced.
Journalistic Diversity Matters
In journalistic work, the staff does not represent the population properly. There is a much lower percentage of people in minority groups who partake in a journalism occupation than the percentage of people in our country who are part of a minority group.
Without having a balanced perspective to publicize events, ideas, and other affiliated involvement, it risks taking a biased perspective. It is extremely beneficial to have diversity in a newsroom because it allows the quality of the reports to be enhanced.
It's very difficult to cover beats that are unfamiliar or that could be degraded if not properly understood. Beats are meant to cover the voice of the community and give a general perspective.
Leaders in media who value all minority groups better their chances at having success on certain beats. It's extremely important to have diversity in order to have a range of opinions and not narrow the chances of ethically correct media.
Our Words Make a Difference
In order to properly cover diversity, the correct terminology must be used and enforced. The words that are used in articles, radio, television, or any other form of media can be hurtful by forming a poor reputation for a group or by directly insulting them, even if that's not one's intentions.
When covering Muslims and terrorism, it is important to make readers understand how hateful it is to be stereotypical. Not only can improper reporting cause a poor reputation for many innocent people, it degrades a minority group as a whole.
It's also a part of the journalistic codes of ethics to use our words for good by giving the entire context of a situation to our audience. According to both the RTDNA Code of Ethics and the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, a journalist must seek the entire truth and report it.
It's also important to use correct terminology. While covering transgenders, there's a media guide on transgender terminology. With transgender stories, there is a new push to hopefully receive more coverage about what transgenders are accomplishing, instead of the basic coverage that someone is a transgender.
It's up to journalists to make sure the coverage is done properly and without flawing the lives of others.
It's unfortunate that many minority groups have doubts about media accuracy. The majority of Blacks and Hispanics, roughly three-fourths of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics, do not believe that the media portrays their communities in an accurate manner, according to media insight project survey.
It's important that people of minority groups are represented fairly, both in the media workforce and in the published media. Journalists must remember the ethical codes that they should live by in order to be as fair as possible.
The less hate and the more equality and acceptance of diversity, the better off media and society will be in the future. The way journalists use words in their media content makes or breaks their credibility, and let's face the fact that a journalist with no credibility does little to no good for anyone.