Did you see that part of the Washington Post lawsuit?
It is not news that journalists have been burned by their “conformity”. You can bet journalists know that having a diverse newsroom improves the quality of the news.
However, we forget how much these minorities lose the second they put on a press card.
“MS. Sonmez had ‘taken sides’ on sexual assault …”
Sexual assault is a crime. If you cannot take a “side” against it, you are in no business of comforting the suffering and tormenting the mighty. https://t.co/8vZUNG8y3d
– Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) July 24, 2021
It’s easy to say that newsrooms like the mail have navigated rough water. Sexual assault scandals in the media lie in the past, present and likely future. According to these statistics, newsrooms are underpaid across the board and journalists are overburdened.
New faces in the media are even more malleable. Industry teaches you to be ready to do anything. (I still joke that some days journalism literally calls for an arm and a leg.) Obviously, the phrase “willing to do anything” is an understatement.
If you’re an aspiring front page writer or on-air reporter, it gets worse. You sometimes work for free or next to nothing on your messages. At your most prestigious and valuable jobs, you can still wait at the tables.
So journalists do what they do best.
Newsrooms have set themselves the goal of diversifying their “unbiased” spaces. Often we stand up for our affinity groups in the room. In fact, these pushes span from the most trusted to the least trusted names in the news.
“More women on the air, people of color and queer people.”
These journalists know that storytelling requires connection and collaboration. A common identity brings context and understanding to complicated stories. From police shootings to sexual assault, the voices sharing the news become as important as the actual story.
But these moments of advocacy can extend outside the office as well. Reporters can leave their rooms and work on making their communities more representative. You can say that black lives matter. You can say that Asian hatred is unbearable.
After a year of misinformation, they can heartily denounce racism and sexism and heterosexism.
It could just cost them their jobs and peg them as “activists”.
This is journalistic foundation, but follow me down the yellow brick road. Journalism is always activism because the news is trying to improve its consumers. (Big thought is coming!)
When you produce news of police brutality, drugs and incarceration, media sexual harassment, and any other story, you are activating consumers.
Journalists tell you, for example, what the traffic looks like on the motorway. This reporter doesn’t tell you this information because he doesn’t care where you go. They want you to avoid the problem and improve your ride right now.
Incredible amounts of smoke across the United States.
It’s another potential by-product of #climate change.
A warmer world favors more evaporation / drying in the west. This leads to larger fires / more extreme fire behavior.
That means more smoke / deteriorated air quality in the east. pic.twitter.com/EIriB4bCuc
– Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) July 21, 2021
Meteorologists do the same. They track storms and weather chases to learn and help communities. In contrast to most traffic reports at 7 a.m., meteorologists can also plead for climate warnings.
Your most contextualized messages are actually about long-term environmental issues. Global warming and climate change mix with your weekly weather outlook. But that’s “political”, isn’t it?
Well, let’s think about it a little longer.
Weather reporters and meteorologists can discuss climate change in their personal lives. These arguments are rarely grounds for dismissal.
Telling them what the news is, contextualizing and informing the public is part of news production. It’s in our DNA.
The messages we create, however we make them, are part of a larger story. It’s the story of what our audience does afterward.
* Read this again to make sure I haven’t overlooked any major caveats because this seems out of my pocket * https://t.co/aYKiV9Z67T
– 🌱 Ivy Lyons 🦁 (@theIvyLyons) July 22, 2021
When our audience hears a heartbreaking story of death from a pandemic, it acts. They may feel compelled to change their habits if they trust their news source. (This is why it is so important that Tucker Carlson make the pandemic transparent on television.)
Likewise, the image of advocacy, friendliness, and volunteering of a newsroom makes a statement. Advocating black lives, women, or anything else is not indicative of a bad journalist.
Since journalism is always promotional, it wants you to get smarter, get active in your community, and make a positive impact.
It is the gathering, production and sharing of critical information.
1 / Sonia Gutierrez fulfilled her dream of becoming a reporter for the news channel KUSA 9News in her hometown, but it came at a high price.
If she wanted to report on immigration, she had to disclose her own immigration status in each story. https://t.co/6HIRsBetNP
– NPR (@NPR) July 18, 2021
First, news reporters put it all in one package. No matter how reduced, they design it so that their audience has an accurate, reliable representation. This accuracy is not entirely free of bias, but it is intended to avoid the appearance of inappropriateness.
Second, the messages are delivered. Regardless of the medium, these messages will (hopefully) be reviewed and published or disseminated in an accessible manner. The audience receives this message and begins to digest it.
After all, the audience acts. The readers (including you who read this blog wherever they get to) start putting pieces together. They memorize some information, discuss it if necessary, and act on what they know to be true.
As reporters of all stripes, we know this is the case. Now we just need to realize that the “endorsement” qualifier can be another way to keep the messages separate. Instead, I hope we will see a progressive character in the news. This journalism will encourage bright, diverse voices to advance the media across hateful constructions.
I enjoyed being an excited Gen-Z Themfluencer, working in politics, writing as a student journalist and discussing what’s most important. I am currently producing and hosting podcasts, contributing to hyper-local news agencies, and continuing my Ph.D. Student at the University of Maryland.