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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 9 As McCracken notes, it is important for the researchers in doing long interviews to talk about the climate and the culture of the interviews and to acknowledge the interaction of the researcher in the process. Both authors are female; one is white and one is of Filipino descent (one parent is Filipino). We have both worked as reporters at newspapers, and we knew friends or acquaintances of several of the journalists we interviewed. After each interview, we shared impressions and notes of the interview with each other. One issue that we were constantly assessing was how forthcoming we felt the reporters or editors had been during the interview. We felt overall that the journalists had been open and honest with us about their feelings. In several cases, reporters and editors prefaced their statements with general comments about how they wanted to be candid and felt that certain things needed to be said. We always tried to reassure the journalists that we were not interested in identifying names or newspapers in our reporting of the findings and that our main purpose was to explore diversity practices and to allow journalists to talk about how those practices were carried out at newspapers. The long, open-ended interview is a method that privileges the experiences and the knowledge of the individuals being interviewed. As such, it seems appropriate to mention briefly the notion of standpoint theory or feminist epistemology, which derives from the Marxist position that socially oppressed classes can access knowledge unavailable to the socially privileged, especially knowledge of social relations. Standpoint theory argues that knowledge is situated, and we would argue that the journalists we spoke with gained some of their knowledge and perspective through their situations vis-à-vis communities of color (Collins, 1990; Harding, 1991). Findings Although the interviews at the newspapers were not meant to suggest overall trends about the status of minorities and women at newspapers, some overview of our own sample is warranted to provide a context for the interviews and comments. The newspapers in our sample were owned by Hearst, Gannett, Knight Ridder and the Tribune Company. Each of the newspapers has an average weekday circulation of well over

Authors: Johnston, Anne. and Flamiano, Dolores.
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Bridging the Border between Communities of Color and Mainstream Newspapers
9
As McCracken notes, it is important for the researchers in doing long interviews
to talk about the climate and the culture of the interviews and to acknowledge the
interaction of the researcher in the process. Both authors are female; one is white and one
is of Filipino descent (one parent is Filipino). We have both worked as reporters at
newspapers, and we knew friends or acquaintances of several of the journalists we
interviewed. After each interview, we shared impressions and notes of the interview with
each other. One issue that we were constantly assessing was how forthcoming we felt the
reporters or editors had been during the interview. We felt overall that the journalists had
been open and honest with us about their feelings. In several cases, reporters and editors
prefaced their statements with general comments about how they wanted to be candid and
felt that certain things needed to be said. We always tried to reassure the journalists that
we were not interested in identifying names or newspapers in our reporting of the findings
and that our main purpose was to explore diversity practices and to allow journalists to
talk about how those practices were carried out at newspapers.
The long, open-ended interview is a method that privileges the experiences and
the knowledge of the individuals being interviewed. As such, it seems appropriate to
mention briefly the notion of standpoint theory or feminist epistemology, which derives
from the Marxist position that socially oppressed classes can access knowledge
unavailable to the socially privileged, especially knowledge of social relations.
Standpoint theory argues that knowledge is situated, and we would argue that the
journalists we spoke with gained some of their knowledge and perspective through their
situations vis-à-vis communities of color (Collins, 1990; Harding, 1991).
Findings
Although the interviews at the newspapers were not meant to suggest overall
trends about the status of minorities and women at newspapers, some overview of our
own sample is warranted to provide a context for the interviews and comments. The
newspapers in our sample were owned by Hearst, Gannett, Knight Ridder and the Tribune
Company. Each of the newspapers has an average weekday circulation of well over


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