Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Pacific Content’s podcasts are all sponsored by companies — but at least there aren’t any ads
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 22, 2011, noon

From Nieman Reports: What goes unsaid about the dynamics of race in the newsroom

Do minority journalists face a different standard for reporting on race than their white colleagues?

Editor’s Note: Our sister publication Nieman Reports is out with their Fall 2011 issue, “Cold Case Reporting,” which focuses on process of revisiting old investigations to tell new stories. Over the next few days, we’ll highlight a few stories from the issue — but go read the whole thing. In this piece, Amy Alexander writes about the dynamics of race and writing about minorities in the newsroom.

This past summer a journalism controversy rooted in America’s troubled racial history erupted on the web. A young, white female reporter, Mac McClelland, wrote for Good magazine about brief stints she’d spent covering Haiti for Mother Jones. She described how she dealt with the emotional fallout that resulted in a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she witnessed Haitians living in dire poverty and experiencing violence. To cope in the aftermath, she had developed something of an obsession with “violent sex.”

The details McClelland shared in her June story were lurid and poignant: she described being so traumatized by the guns and by “gang-raping monsters who prowl the flimsy encampments of the earthquake homeless” that she began “fantasizing” about having sex at gunpoint. When she returned to the United States, McClelland wrote, she talked a former boyfriend into having sex with her in a way that would be “rougher” than anything she had ever experienced.

Her essay blazed a quick, hot path through the blogosphere. Soon a multiracial coalition of some 36 women scholars, activists and journalists, including Slate blogger Marjorie Valbrun and New York Times correspondent Ginger Thompson, both of whom spent many years covering Haiti, sent an open letter to McClelland’s editors at Good. On July 1, the website Jezebel, whose audience is largely young women, published this letter. In it, the letter’s authors said that they respected “the heart” of McClelland’s story about her trauma, but they objected to her portrayal of Haiti as what they called “a heart-of-darkness dystopia.”

Keep reading at Nieman Reports »

POSTED     Sept. 22, 2011, noon
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Pacific Content’s podcasts are all sponsored by companies — but at least there aren’t any ads
Branded podcasts want to break out of the traditional intrusive model of advertising: “There are no interruptions for two or three minutes in the middle of a story. There are no top and tail ad breaks. There are no coupon codes.”
Hot Pod: What should an on-demand news podcast look like?
Plus: Remixing podcast talent to build new shows, Google prepares to enter the market in a big way, and how to avoid “radiosplaining.”
Newsonomics: The New York Times restarts its new-product model, in Spanish
After a few expensive misfires, the Times is building new products on a smaller, more targeted scale.
What to read next
0
tweets
Out of many, NPR One: The app that wants to be the “Netflix of listening” gets more local
A big update moves NPR One yet another step in the direction of becoming a one-stop shop for all audio content, from local newscasts to podcasts outside the NPR world.
0Need to find, keep, and maximize talent today? Look to an old-school example, Gene Roberts
“Virtually every hire should be part of a long-range master plan of journalistic excellence.”
0The New York Times and WBUR are bringing ‘Modern Love’ essays to life with sounds and celebrity reads
“We’re trying to touch people just through sound, in a really profound way.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
DocumentCloud
MSNBC
Storify
IRE/NICAR
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
PolitiFact
Byliner
Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism
OpenFile
The Huffington Post
Newsweek