I used to be concerned with racial inequalities some time ago but, like feminism, I’ve kind of stigmatized the groups as too much complaining and not enough changing.
Someone asked me how I will bridge the gap between the African-American community and media. I initially rejected the inquiry and felt numb when researching this supposed “gap”.
I already had this thinking of, “Here we go, another ‘we can’t help ourselves’ rant,” but I changed my views- if only for a brief period of time.
That’s what I like about journalism. You can go in on a topic and expect to leave with what you thought you would, but you never really do. Journalism is supposed to be a career in which you are always covering something new, therefore, you never stop learning.
However, so many times we choose our stories and shop through sources so that our stories won’t fall flat. That’s not true journalism.
True journalism weaves it’s own path, like water. We don’t make a path for our stories to follow. That would be bad journalism. Real journalism is wild and unpredictable.
The best stories find us, and it’s when we adopt an open mind that we truly learn something new- even if we never set out to.
Race and journalism
I identify myself as an African-American journalist. That alone draws the strings of diversity in the media a little tighter.
In 2006, the growing range of races working in news media was stunted at 13.73 percent and has yet to push its way back up to that marker, according to the American Society of News Editors.
We can infer that African-Americans comprise an even smaller percentage, since 13.73 percent is representative of all minorities.
Receiving my degree in journalism may encourage others in our community to do the same, thus decreasing the race-employment disparity in the media.
Not only are there fewer of our demographic employed as journalists, but there are also fewer of our demographic- and an even smaller portion of our young adults- consuming news media.
People need someone they can identify with. Being able to have an association with who’s presenting the news generates this thought pattern of, “She’s black and she’s concerned, so maybe I should be, too.”
Furthermore, I’d be covering stories that are of importance to our population.
Part of the reason why we don’t consume news as much is because we’re not receiving equal representation when it comes to coverage in our community.
If we’re covering stories that make the consumer feel like it’s of significance to them then there’s this automatic interest in learning more, thus propelling our population to be more informed and more involved by engaging with the news.
There are so many stories that go untold in our community, but journalists are supposed to be giving a voice to the voiceless. I think it’s time that the media takes us off of mute.