Wednesday, November 15, 2017
A Representative Newsroom
Source: The Washington Post
The United States of America is changing—as the 241-year-old country continues morphing and adapting to its own strengths and weaknesses, the melting pot philosophy follows. A growing mix of religions, races, ages, genders and socioeconomic statuses are creating a diverse demographic in America, and it's about time. But just as importantly, we must to see the same strides in organizations serving the citizens of the United States, such as the government, law enforcement and media, to start.
The first amendment gives the press power—the media acts as an endless outlet for disbursing information to the world, aiming to be unbiased and true. With great power comes great responsibility. As the world changes, so should the environment of decision making. There needs to be an emphasis on acquiring diverse opinions, demographics and perspectives as the rest of the continuously changing world.
We all know the world is evolving, we all know demographics and psychographics are bound to be different with in this century... why study the importance of having a representative newsroom? Because one day soon, the new professionals of today are going to be the CEOs of tomorrow. Institutionalizing acceptance and respect will change the values and norms of the world that 20-year-old's will control. Studying diversity also gives people the power to dissect the media: news and advertising.
As journalists, our words have power and so do the decisions behind the words. For ever word, there's a reporter, editor and content manager approving those words. If you streamline ideas, thoughts and perspectives, you're bound to get one, big, giant, homogeneous stance. It's ignorant to think the people reading your words come from the same background, values and interpretation as you. We need to diversify.
Here's a great example of why newsroom diversity is important.
As these resources to teach us why diversity is important, so are the examples and case studies of where it went all wrong. Not prioritizing diversity and differing perspectives can ruin a brand or news outlet's image.
Empathy plays a large part in understanding why diversity is powerful. The Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. Understand your words may read different to someone else... understand how it could effect how they read your words. And if you cannot analyze the situation at hand, that's why your editor should or your content editor should. And one day, you will be the editor that will need to make those decisions.
It's important to keep in mind that as the world changes, the more the newsroom should change. As the brains behind news, we need to understand we cannot tolerate limited perspectives, stereotypes, reinforced biased or excluded voices. Ethical decisions concerning diversity spread far beyond the news; however, as journalism students and news consumers, it's at the upmost importance to reinforce an environment that will reinforce the realities of the ever-changing world.
More perspectives, more beats. Different audiences, different stories. Diverse world, diverse news.