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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 4 redefine its antiquated version of what is news. News is not just something that belongs to white folks in the suburbs” (as quoted in Nuiry, 1997, p. 38). In several studies focusing on television news coverage of African Americans, Entman and others have found that depictions of Blacks have been unfavorable in comparison with whites on several dimensions, including crime coverage, coverage of political leaders and coverage of affirmative action (Entman, 1990; 1992; 1994; Entman & Rojecki, 2000). According to this research, the lack of context in covering Blacks contributed to whites’ racialized fears of crime and whites’ negative views of policies, programs and leaders that have helped blacks. Women, too, have sometimes felt marginalized by newspapers. In the early 90’s, McGrath (1993) reported a declining readership among women. McGrath and others argued that women saw the newspapers as having a male voice and male personality. (Astor, 1993; McGrath, 1993). Women were not appearing in newspapers and in newscasts in the same numbers as men (Woodhull, 1992). (For an overview of some of the issues of women in news, see also, Bridge, 1995; Lafky, 1993; Lont, 1995). There is some evidence that lack of diversity in newsrooms can and does affect how minorities and women are portrayed. When women and minorities are missing from newsrooms, then they are underrepresented as sources (Gist, 1993). In addition, a lack of minorities in newsrooms can result in minorities making the news in either negative or very purposely positive stories, but not in mainstream news coverage of neutral stories. It can also lead to minimal coverage of issues considered important to minority communities (Gist, 1993). For some, the solution to newspaper content that ignores, trivializes or sometimes even denigrates minorities and women is to diversity the staff. Many news organizations have seen diverse staffs as the end-all to the lack of diversity in content. In the past several years, professional news organizations such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors have advocated specific goals in minority recruitment (Ghiglione, 1998), while others have decried the practice of putting so much emphasis on pure

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
4
redefine its antiquated version of what is news. News is not just something that belongs
to white folks in the suburbs” (as quoted in Nuiry, 1997, p. 38). In several studies
focusing on television news coverage of African Americans, Entman and others have
found that depictions of Blacks have been unfavorable in comparison with whites on
several dimensions, including crime coverage, coverage of political leaders and coverage
of affirmative action (Entman, 1990; 1992; 1994; Entman & Rojecki, 2000). According
to this research, the lack of context in covering Blacks contributed to whites’ racialized
fears of crime and whites’ negative views of policies, programs and leaders that have
helped blacks.
Women, too, have sometimes felt marginalized by newspapers. In the early 90’s,
McGrath (1993) reported a declining readership among women. McGrath and others
argued that women saw the newspapers as having a male voice and male personality.
(Astor, 1993; McGrath, 1993). Women were not appearing in newspapers and in
newscasts in the same numbers as men (Woodhull, 1992). (For an overview of some of
the issues of women in news, see also, Bridge, 1995; Lafky, 1993; Lont, 1995).
There is some evidence that lack of diversity in newsrooms can and does affect
how minorities and women are portrayed. When women and minorities are missing from
newsrooms, then they are underrepresented as sources (Gist, 1993). In addition, a lack of
minorities in newsrooms can result in minorities making the news in either negative or
very purposely positive stories, but not in mainstream news coverage of neutral stories. It
can also lead to minimal coverage of issues considered important to minority
communities (Gist, 1993).
For some, the solution to newspaper content that ignores, trivializes or sometimes
even denigrates minorities and women is to diversity the staff. Many news organizations
have seen diverse staffs as the end-all to the lack of diversity in content. In the past
several years, professional news organizations such as the American Society of
Newspaper Editors have advocated specific goals in minority recruitment (Ghiglione,
1998), while others have decried the practice of putting so much emphasis on pure


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