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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 16 and have a fair and balanced understanding of the cultural differences in their communities. And they needed to get out into the communities if they wanted to report on them. Several of the minority reporters said that newspapers needed to revisit their mission as ‘agents of change’ and to use their voice to report on those not being reported on. “Minorities want to see their faces and events in the paper; not the next shooting; not the plight of their children. (Newspapers should) try to arouse concern that these people matter, “ according to Edward (a Hispanic columnist) at the Gannett paper. The editor of the Tribune paper, Darryl, said one frustration was getting his reporters to report on issues that communities perceived to be important. He said the reporters wanted to report on issues of importance to them, but he had to make them see that they were not important to the communities. “They weren’t making the connection with community. They thought, ‘our job is to write about broad issues, not to connect’.” He reiterated what others had said that his reporters did not reflect the communities they reported on, not only in terms of race, but also in terms of education and socioeconomic status and other beliefs. “But when you go into a community, you need to be able to relate to that community and cover communities that you’re not a part of.” The minority reporters we interviewed expressed strong feelings for all newspaper personnel to leave the comfort of their offices and mingle with the communities they were trying to cover. Nancy, the entertainment editor at Gannett, felt that newspapers needed to improve the way reporters came up with story, “stories about diverse communities and issues won’t bubble up if they come from our own limited experiences. (The stories) come up from getting out into the community.” As an editor, Nancy pushed her reporters to get out into the community, but she also said that everyone, editors, not just reporters, needed more exposure to diverse cultures and communities, in particular those news people who came from majority, mainstream backgrounds. “If you don't have a diverse mixture in life - then you've got some pavement to pound.” Joyce, an African American features editor at the Knight-Ridder paper, believed it

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
16
and have a fair and balanced understanding of the cultural differences in their
communities. And they needed to get out into the communities if they wanted to report on
them.
Several of the minority reporters said that newspapers needed to revisit their
mission as ‘agents of change’ and to use their voice to report on those not being reported
on. “Minorities want to see their faces and events in the paper; not the next shooting; not
the plight of their children. (Newspapers should) try to arouse concern that these people
matter, “ according to Edward (a Hispanic columnist) at the Gannett paper.
The editor of the Tribune paper, Darryl, said one frustration was getting his
reporters to report on issues that communities perceived to be important. He said the
reporters wanted to report on issues of importance to them, but he had to make them see
that they were not important to the communities. “They weren’t making the connection
with community. They thought, ‘our job is to write about broad issues, not to connect’.”
He reiterated what others had said that his reporters did not reflect the communities they
reported on, not only in terms of race, but also in terms of education and socioeconomic
status and other beliefs. “But when you go into a community, you need to be able to relate
to that community and cover communities that you’re not a part of.”
The minority reporters we interviewed expressed strong feelings for all newspaper
personnel to leave the comfort of their offices and mingle with the communities they
were trying to cover. Nancy, the entertainment editor at Gannett, felt that newspapers
needed to improve the way reporters came up with story, “stories about diverse
communities and issues won’t bubble up if they come from our own limited experiences.
(The stories) come up from getting out into the community.” As an editor, Nancy pushed
her reporters to get out into the community, but she also said that everyone, editors, not
just reporters, needed more exposure to diverse cultures and communities, in particular
those news people who came from majority, mainstream backgrounds. “If you don't
have a diverse mixture in life - then you've got some pavement to pound.”
Joyce, an African American features editor at the Knight-Ridder paper, believed it


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