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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 14 believed that the newspaper was not covering communities, such as the Hispanic community, because mainstreaming focused on the African American community. At the Hearst newspaper, one way to reach all communities was through zoning, where community news would be featured in special zone editions. In this way, the newspaper was able to put news of relevance to a particular community or zone into a special edition for that zone. And, according to the managing editor, zoning had been very successful in serving specific communities. But minority reporters often saw problems with zoning. Charles sometimes had to argue that a story earmarked for a zone to a minority community needed to be run in the overall edition, not just in editions targeted to the Hispanic population. In one case, a story about the opening of the film Selena was run in all sections because Charles felt it would be a huge story. Many of the white reporters did not want to do it. To Charles, “this was not racial, they (the white reporters) were just journalists out of touch with the community.” Other reporters and editors expressed concerns with the notion of zoning the news to particular communities. One Latina editor, Doris, said she found zoning news content disturbing, especially when issues that were seen as Hispanic issues were downplayed in position and prominence in the newspaper. In one case, the death of a prominent member of the Hispanic community was only featured in editions where Hispanics lived not in editions that went to high growth, white areas. To her, it was offensive that this news was not seen as an important issue for everyone in the city. Charles agreed, saying, “there is a danger that if you only have stories about that one community in that zone’s papers than it is just a mirror (of their community); they're (the communities) not learning anything about other communities.” To Charles, featuring the Selena story on the front page may have helped transform the way reporters and the communities saw what was news. A final formal way that one of the newspapers used to connect with communities was through team reporting. Team reporting occurs when groups of reporters from different areas work on a particular story, such as an education story or crime story. Team reporting tries to group together reporters, editors, photographers and graphic artists into

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
14
believed that the newspaper was not covering communities, such as the Hispanic
community, because mainstreaming focused on the African American community.
At the Hearst newspaper, one way to reach all communities was through zoning,
where community news would be featured in special zone editions. In this way, the
newspaper was able to put news of relevance to a particular community or zone into a
special edition for that zone. And, according to the managing editor, zoning had been
very successful in serving specific communities. But minority reporters often saw
problems with zoning. Charles sometimes had to argue that a story earmarked for a zone
to a minority community needed to be run in the overall edition, not just in editions
targeted to the Hispanic population. In one case, a story about the opening of the film
Selena was run in all sections because Charles felt it would be a huge story. Many of the
white reporters did not want to do it. To Charles, “this was not racial, they (the white
reporters) were just journalists out of touch with the community.”
Other reporters and editors expressed concerns with the notion of zoning the news
to particular communities. One Latina editor, Doris, said she found zoning news content
disturbing, especially when issues that were seen as Hispanic issues were downplayed in
position and prominence in the newspaper. In one case, the death of a prominent member
of the Hispanic community was only featured in editions where Hispanics lived not in
editions that went to high growth, white areas. To her, it was offensive that this news was
not seen as an important issue for everyone in the city. Charles agreed, saying, “there is a
danger that if you only have stories about that one community in that zone’s papers than it
is just a mirror (of their community); they're (the communities) not learning anything
about other communities.” To Charles, featuring the Selena story on the front page may
have helped transform the way reporters and the communities saw what was news.
A final formal way that one of the newspapers used to connect with communities
was through team reporting. Team reporting occurs when groups of reporters from
different areas work on a particular story, such as an education story or crime story. Team
reporting tries to group together reporters, editors, photographers and graphic artists into


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