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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers: Journalists Discuss Diversity Programs
Unformatted Document Text:  Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers 1 Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers: Journalists Discuss Diversity Programs “As journalists, many of us, black and white, bring preconceived notions to stories. The myth of objectivity is just that - a myth.” (Sloan, 1996, p. 28) Journalists do bring preconceived notions to the stories they cover, write and edit. And in much of our media those preconceived notions come from white, middle-class, male writers and editors. The push to diversify media has been in some ways an attempt to challenge some of those preconceived notions. For years, professional journalism organizations and scholars have studied diversity in the newsroom and tried, at least numerically, to understand whether minorities and women were being included in the news and in the newsroom. Although statistics showed that progress and change had occurred, individual stories about diversity and the difficulty of incorporating it into daily news practices revealed a less than smooth road to achieving diversity. While most news organizations will readily agree that diversity in newsrooms is an important goal, there is little agreement on how best to achieve diversity, why it’s an important goal or even how to define it. To some organizations, it makes good sense to reach all audiences and communities by including different voices and perspectives. Some of the recent ‘urgency’ to diversify has resulted from formal corporate policy designed to implement diversity in newsrooms and in newspapers because it was seen not only as the right thing to do but the right economic thing to do. In other words, media corporations such as Gannett and Hearst actively pushed their newspapers to hire minority reporters and target minority communities not only out of a sense of professional responsibility, but also in response to diminishing circulations and shrinking profits. In contrast to the top-down, marketing approach to diversity, this study focuses on diversity from the perspectives of journalists of color and white journalists who support a more multiracial approach to the news. For these journalists, diversity is not an economic

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
1
Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers:
Journalists Discuss Diversity Programs
“As journalists, many of us, black and white, bring preconceived notions to stories. The myth of
objectivity is just that - a myth.”
(Sloan, 1996, p. 28)
Journalists do bring preconceived notions to the stories they cover, write and edit.
And in much of our media those preconceived notions come from white, middle-class,
male writers and editors. The push to diversify media has been in some ways an attempt
to challenge some of those preconceived notions. For years, professional journalism
organizations and scholars have studied diversity in the newsroom and tried, at least
numerically, to understand whether minorities and women were being included in the
news and in the newsroom. Although statistics showed that progress and change had
occurred, individual stories about diversity and the difficulty of incorporating it into daily
news practices revealed a less than smooth road to achieving diversity.
While most news organizations will readily agree that diversity in newsrooms is
an important goal, there is little agreement on how best to achieve diversity, why it’s an
important goal or even how to define it. To some organizations, it makes good sense to
reach all audiences and communities by including different voices and perspectives.
Some of the recent ‘urgency’ to diversify has resulted from formal corporate policy
designed to implement diversity in newsrooms and in newspapers because it was seen not
only as the right thing to do but the right economic thing to do. In other words, media
corporations such as Gannett and Hearst actively pushed their newspapers to hire
minority reporters and target minority communities not only out of a sense of professional
responsibility, but also in response to diminishing circulations and shrinking profits.
In contrast to the top-down, marketing approach to diversity, this study focuses on
diversity from the perspectives of journalists of color and white journalists who support a
more multiracial approach to the news. For these journalists, diversity is not an economic


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