Harvard’s Neiman Foundation for Journalism just released the spring version of its media studies-focused Neiman Reports quarterly journal, and this issue centers on an issue that we at Colorolines take to heart as it haunts newsrooms across the country—that, even as multiculturalism and oppression becomes an increasing concern in media throughout America, most publications’ staffs do not reflect the diversity of the populations they cover.
Sandra Clark, managing editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, takes to this issue in an incisive editorial that encapsuslates the spirit of the issue’s focus. Speaking from her experience as a black, Japanese and female newsroom veteran to talk about the lack of diversity among reporters as media consolidation affects publications across the country:
While the media can expose the lack of diversity in schools, companies, government, boards, and law enforcement, to name a few, we have shown little understanding of its true value in our own precious arena. If truth and credibility matter, then diversity must matter. It doesn’t seem that hard to grasp. What I do know is my child could never take a look across the company and assume there’s an opportunity for her.
The diversity malaise is showing in a new era of digital and print coverage, even as we write about how much more diverse the world is. The millennial boom is much ballyhooed, but mostly represented in media by hotshot techy white kids who have the freedom to experiment. Young people of color who are driving the population surge and young whites not immersed in the foodie scene and still trying to find their way don’t see their faces much. It’s social media from ordinary people that really fills out real-time coverage of communities we don’t cover enough.