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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 13 pursued avenues that allowed them to target communities for coverage but also to place minority communities into their everyday coverage of news. Three strategies used were mainstreaming, zoning and team reporting. Mainstreaming is defined by Gannett, one of its main proponents, as “the inclusion of minorities in day-to-day, staff-generated content that is not about race or ethnicity” (Benge, 2002). Zoning is the practice of targetting certain sections of the paper to selected geographic communities through special editions. Team reporting generally involves assigning a multiracial group of reporters to an extended, in-depth series of articles. Nancy, an African American entertainment editor at the Gannett paper, believed that mainstreaming helped reporters think about ways to include all sorts of people in their everyday coverage. Mainstreaming, to her, asked the newspaper to reflect the diversity in the community and this helped educate reporters about the need to include people in daily coverage. To her, one goal of mainstreaming was to make a reporter think beyond his or her own experience and to get beyond their own comfort levels and go into situations where they might not be comfortable. During some brown bag lunches with reporters, white reporters had told her that they were sometimes not comfortable going into places with all Blacks. Her response was that “they need to go into (these) communities and get comfortable.” A second goal of mainstreaming from Nancy’s perspective was for readers to see themselves in the newspapers. Nancy spoke of a Mother’s Day article on cooking that had appeared in her newspaper. The article featured Black women in the pictures and in the interviews for the story. To Nancy, this meant “you've now brought Black women (readers) into the story. Minorities believe there are barriers to getting into the newspaper. By showing regular folk in the paper that look like them, these barriers might be broken down.” Some reporters at the Gannett paper were not happy with mainstreaming and felt it did not improve the depth of news or the attention paid to a minority community. In addition, mainstreaming sometimes meant that certain minority groups might not be covered in the way that others were. Julie (a Black reporter) at the Gannett newspaper

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
13
pursued avenues that allowed them to target communities for coverage but also to place
minority communities into their everyday coverage of news. Three strategies used were
mainstreaming, zoning and team reporting. Mainstreaming is defined by Gannett, one of
its main proponents, as “the inclusion of minorities in day-to-day, staff-generated content
that is not about race or ethnicity” (Benge, 2002). Zoning is the practice of targetting
certain sections of the paper to selected geographic communities through special editions.
Team reporting generally involves assigning a multiracial group of reporters to an
extended, in-depth series of articles.
Nancy, an African American entertainment editor at the Gannett paper, believed
that mainstreaming helped reporters think about ways to include all sorts of people in
their everyday coverage. Mainstreaming, to her, asked the newspaper to reflect the
diversity in the community and this helped educate reporters about the need to include
people in daily coverage. To her, one goal of mainstreaming was to make a reporter think
beyond his or her own experience and to get beyond their own comfort levels and go into
situations where they might not be comfortable. During some brown bag lunches with
reporters, white reporters had told her that they were sometimes not comfortable going
into places with all Blacks. Her response was that “they need to go into (these)
communities and get comfortable.”
A second goal of mainstreaming from Nancy’s perspective was for readers to see
themselves in the newspapers. Nancy spoke of a Mother’s Day article on cooking that had
appeared in her newspaper. The article featured Black women in the pictures and in the
interviews for the story. To Nancy, this meant “you've now brought Black women
(readers) into the story. Minorities believe there are barriers to getting into the newspaper.
By showing regular folk in the paper that look like them, these barriers might be broken
down.” Some reporters at the Gannett paper were not happy with mainstreaming and felt
it did not improve the depth of news or the attention paid to a minority community. In
addition, mainstreaming sometimes meant that certain minority groups might not be
covered in the way that others were. Julie (a Black reporter) at the Gannett newspaper


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