Diversity gets at the heart of what it means to be a journalist. Our job is to represent the stories of everyone in our community, especially those who don't have the power to speak up for themselves. We're supposed to present varied viewpoints. We're supposed to point out problems, and hold the powerful accountable for fixing them.
Being successful in all that requires an open mind and a diverse group of journalists. Many newsrooms, including ours, are very lacking when it comes to the latter.
In our case, part of that comes from the Annenberg School and the journalism major being predominantly white. That perpetuates a culture where students of color don't see themselves on screen, in leadership positions or in the newsroom period. Many students have told me they don't feel welcome, or that they don't think there's a place for them at ATVN.
I'll point out here that I have the privilege of being a straight, white woman, born a U.S. citizen to a middle class family. So many of these issues I just brought up don't directly impact me. I should (and aim to) do more listening than talking in conversations about diversity.
The Media Center as a whole is working on ways to address our representation, or lack thereof. But we also have to work on addressing it in our reporting and the stories we cover.
There's the challenge of presenting sensitive stories accurately and fairly. This is always something that pops in my head when we cover something connected to sexual harassment or assault. The voices we seek out, the quotes we use, the context we add and the way we represent the story visually are all very crucial to reporting it in a sensitive and productive way.
This week it came up in our story about Asian American groups condemning Yuli Gurriel's racist gesture and the punishment dished out by the MLB. It was difficult to figure out how to represent the complexity of the story in one little graphic. It wasn't just one group. It wasn't people of just one national origin. And showing Gurriel wouldn't make sense. We wound up with the logo for the Japanese National Museum, where the press conference was held, and some generic baseball imagery. Was it perfect? No, but it worked.
This is a small example, but it's one instance where being aware of the cultural sensitivities at play and being mindful of the facts and nuances of the story were crucial. Those are things to keep in mind as we cover a variety of stories every day.