Travis Dixon, a professor of communication on the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, analyzed information and opinion media protection between 2015 and 2016. “General, the findings present that information and opinion media shops routinely and inaccurately painting Black households as sources of social instability in society and painting white households as sources of social stability in society, regardless of information on the contrary,” he wrote in the study.
He went on to report that “Black households characterize 59% of the poor in information and opinion media however make up simply 27% of the poor, in line with official studies, whereas white households characterize 17% of the poor in information and opinion media however make up 66% of the poor, in line with official studies.” Black households are additionally overrepresented amongst welfare recipients and prison exercise. Media sources overrepresent Black individuals as criminals by 11 proportion factors whereas underrepresenting white individuals as criminals by 39 proportion factors, the research discovered.
Though disheartening, it’s not precisely surprising that the disparities exist. Newsroom employees usually tend to be white males than the common U.S. firm, the Pew Analysis Heart reported. Greater than 77% of reporters, editors, photographers, and videographers within the newspaper, broadcasting, and web publishing industries are non-Hispanic white individuals, in line with the Pew Analysis Heart’s evaluation of 2012-2016 American Group Survey knowledge. In U.S. professions total, 65% of employees are non-Hispanic white individuals.
Dixon really helpful a number of motion objects to reverse the pattern, together with revising protocols for reporting on households and refusing to misrepresent Black individuals as criminals. “Company advertisers should take duty for sponsoring the regular marketing campaign of misinformation and inaccurate illustration led by proper wing media shops and revise their media shopping for protocols to include requirements of accuracy in assessing information platforms,” he stated within the research.
I’d add to the checklist addressing the intense barrier-to-entry drawback. The Poynter Institute summed up that drawback fairly properly in 2016 with the headline, “Need extra journalists of colour? Assist pay for his or her internships.” Jean-Marie Brown, a journalism professor at Texas Christian College, informed the institute about half of employers with internship applications supply school credit score as an alternative of “hourly wages.” Meaning over the summer season, when many college students full internships, they’re “successfully being requested to pay to work, as a result of the one means you’ll be able to earn internship credit score is to be enrolled in internship class … This places some college students at an obstacle,” she stated.
The protest motion that attracted nationwide consideration following the demise of George Floyd, a Black man killed when a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for greater than eight minutes, has introduced renewed consideration to the necessity for extra journalists of colour. Omar Jimenez, a Black and Latino CNN correspondent, was arrested on live TV whereas overlaying the protests Could 29. CNN tweeted on the time: “A black reporter from CNN was arrested whereas legally overlaying the protests in Minneapolis. A white reporter additionally on the bottom was not.” Sage Goodwin, a doctoral candidate on the College of Oxford, wrote in regards to the lengthy historical past tied to misrepresentations of individuals of colour within the media for The Washington Post. “The arrest of Omar Jimenez specifically highlights the vicious circle undergirding America’s persevering with racial disaster,” she stated. “If the nation has any hope for making a future the place its black and brown residents are seen as equal and handled as such, the media panorama wants to vary.
“This can come about provided that African People are capable of report whereas black.”
A number of journalists of colour have taken it upon themselves to assist repair the issue they didn’t create, one other disheartening pattern. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Occasions’ “1619 Undertaking,” based a commerce group with journalists Ron Nixon, Topher Sanders, and Corey Johnson to extend and retain journalists of colour in investigative reporting. The Ida B. Wells Society For Investigative Reporting is known as in honor of civil rights chief and distinguished Black journalist Ida B. Wells.
Hannah-Jones tweeted Tuesday: “Once we based @IBWellsSociety , we refused to fund/ assist investigative fellowships as a result of for journos of colour, they not often finish with an precise job. As an alternative, we have determined to fund the first yr of a everlasting new investigative place @AP . I’m SO happy with this. Please apply.”