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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 8 issues of diversity. At each newspaper, we typically spoke with the editor, managing editors, editors of special sections (sports, business, lifestyle, entertainment), heads of diversity committees, readership committees and community relations committees, reporters assigned to particular beats or areas (minority affairs reporters, diversity issue reporters), and columnists who tended to cover and address issues of minority communities. At all of the newspapers, we attended news meetings and were given access to anyone in the newsroom who wanted to talk with us and with whom we wanted to talk. For each interview, we used open-ended questions as a guide to the interview because of their connection with past research and theory as well as past ‘diversity’ issues discussed in professional publications. In every case, we found that certain questions were more appropriate for different staff members, but we did use the questionnaire outline (see Appendix 1) as a guide. Everyone we interviewed was asked about the following areas: 1. Questions about diversity training, diversity committees, hiring and training practices. 2. Questions on issues covered in the community, readership surveys, impact on their news content, use of minority affairs reporters and minority source lists. The interviews at the four newspapers took place between October 1996 and March 1998. We interviewed 37 journalists at the four newspapers. The interviews were not tape-recorded; however, in all but 8 interviews, both authors were present. Many of the scheduled and unscheduled interviewees did not want to be taped so we felt it best to not tape any of the interviews. Each interview lasted approximately one hour and took place in the journalist’s office, a conference room or at a local restaurant. In some cases, we scheduled follow-up interviews with reporters or editors because of information we later heard in other interviews. In addition, many of the journalists we interviewed provided us with names of other reporters or editors (not on our list) who they thought we should interview.

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
8
issues of diversity.
At each newspaper, we typically spoke with the editor, managing editors, editors
of special sections (sports, business, lifestyle, entertainment), heads of diversity
committees, readership committees and community relations committees, reporters
assigned to particular beats or areas (minority affairs reporters, diversity issue reporters),
and columnists who tended to cover and address issues of minority communities. At all
of the newspapers, we attended news meetings and were given access to anyone in the
newsroom who wanted to talk with us and with whom we wanted to talk.
For each interview, we used open-ended questions as a guide to the interview
because of their connection with past research and theory as well as past ‘diversity’ issues
discussed in professional publications. In every case, we found that certain questions were
more appropriate for different staff members, but we did use the questionnaire outline
(see Appendix 1) as a guide. Everyone we interviewed was asked about the following
areas:
1. Questions about diversity training, diversity committees, hiring and training
practices.
2. Questions on issues covered in the community, readership surveys, impact on
their news content, use of minority affairs reporters and minority source lists.
The interviews at the four newspapers took place between October 1996 and
March 1998. We interviewed 37 journalists at the four newspapers. The interviews were
not tape-recorded; however, in all but 8 interviews, both authors were present. Many of
the scheduled and unscheduled interviewees did not want to be taped so we felt it best to
not tape any of the interviews. Each interview lasted approximately one hour and took
place in the journalist’s office, a conference room or at a local restaurant. In some cases,
we scheduled follow-up interviews with reporters or editors because of information we
later heard in other interviews. In addition, many of the journalists we interviewed
provided us with names of other reporters or editors (not on our list) who they thought we
should interview.


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