US newsrooms grapple with how best to reflect the communities they cover

FILE PHOTO: Handout photo by Gabrielle Petito
FILE PHOTO: Gabrielle Petito, 22, who was reported missing on September 11, 2021 after traveling with her boyfriend around the country in a van and never returned home, is shown shown in this undated handout photograph. North Port / Florida Police / Handout via REUTERS

December 2, 2021

By Dawn Chmielewski

(Reuters) – U.S. news organizations grappling with issues of race and bias in their reporting in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 have had to confront head to them again amid widespread coverage of Gabby Petito’s disappearance this year.

Critics have noted that young white women receive far more media attention than missing women of color.

19th* Co-Founder Amanda Zamora and BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs talked about these and other ways news organizations fell short on Thursday at the Reuters Next conference.

Zamora’s news organization devoted to covering gender, politics and policy. She said it was created in response to sexist media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Legacy news organizations looking to serve their communities need to go beyond. away from hiring a diverse workforce, she said.

Newspapers must “value their life experiences, empowering them to express their identities in conversations, as colleagues… to allow for tension?” Zamora said. “If you are building a diverse and diverse newsroom, there are inherent tensions that are opportunities for growth.”

Schoofs of BuzzFeed, which pioneered a pulse on the LGBTQ community, says his organization actively solicits community input with social media captions and invitations from readers to submit tips or additional information.

“It can be really creative ways that you reach out to make sure you’re including different voices, so that you really ask people with different experiences to come and reach out,” Schoofs said. with you,” Schoofs said.

“We are specifically looking for people in specific communities that may not have interacted much with journalism before, certainly not a national organization like BuzzFeed News or 19 or Reuters, to see if we Can you bring them into your journalism?”

When asked about addressing blind spots in the report, Zamora cited her work in a recent Aspen Institute report on disinformation, the growing spread of misinformation. including misinformation and misinformation.

“Sometimes we get so fixated on political divisions and fighting on the surface level that we miss the root cause of so much of it – and much of it,” says Zamora. trauma between and between communities,” says Zamora.

Schoofs urges journalists to challenge their assumptions and take for granted. He cites the Belarus-Polish border crisis, which he describes as “a manufactured crisis that focuses heavily on who is inside and who is outside based on their national identity.” , based on the border.”

To watch the next Reuters conference, please register here

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman) US newsrooms grapple with how best to reflect the communities they cover


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