February 9, 2021 – News organizations must have broad representation in the communities they cover to reflect perspectives that would otherwise be missed, a panel of journalists said at a communications law conference.
It is not enough to simply cover events involving people of color for the sake of diversity, heard the virtual conference hosted on Feb. 2 by the American Bar Association. Those who cover the events must themselves be diverse and senior management must ensure that diversity is reported, said Johnita due, senior vice president and director of diversity and inclusion at Warner Media News and Sports, who is black.
Senior management at news agencies already need to plan and cover stories about minorities and people of color before major events happen, instead of just following stories covering the high-profile deaths of George floyd, Trayvon Martin, and breonna taylor.
Ensuring journalists know the community they cover will help strengthen the media coverage so essential to reporting and, in some cases, reforming laws and policies that often harm minority communities. And diversity, equity and inclusion must come from the top of the organization, with leaders who represent the communities they represent, said Anzio williams, senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at NBC Universal Stations, who is black.
Although there are many stories about diversity, it is not always easy to cover them because sometimes people don’t think it is important to cover them, said Mireya Villareal, a news correspondent for CBS News.
People too often underestimate their own diversity and mistakenly view it as unworthy, but their stories matter, she said. When major stories involving diversity erupt, it’s always important to have diverse people behind the scenes to help make decisions about what and how to cover such events.
When the Minneapolis Star Tribune was preparing his front page headline the day after George Floyd died, the news agency faced a serious challenge: Should the entire photo of Officer Chauvin kneeling on George’s neck be published, or part of should it be cropped? Was it fair to partially hide or reveal the entire event?
First of all, you have to ask yourself if anyone in the community will be hurt or traumatized again by showing the full photo, said Kyndell Harkness, a photo editor for the Tribune. In the end, his team decided to post a cropped cut showing only Floyd’s face and in the following pages offer some information for readers to take to the news site to watch a full video. of the incident.
News organizations are always wondering: how can we better cover this? And the answer is that those who cover the stories are representative of his community, say a lot.