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True Genius: How to go from “the future of journalism” to a fire sale in a few short years
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June 12, 2020, 2:25 p.m.
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LINK: docs.google.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   June 12, 2020

After reading accounts of racism in newsrooms across the country, you might be wondering what you can do to support efforts led by journalists of color to reduce bias and inequality in newsrooms. There are a number of voices calling for systemic changes — say, hiring practices that reflect the diversity of a publication’s audience and pay equality — that take collaboration and time. But if you’re looking for something to do now, a group at The Philadelphia Inquirer has some ideas.

Last week, staff at The Philadelphia Inquirer protested the headline “Buildings matter, too” as the latest in a long string of incidents they said has undermined their ability to build trust with readers and produce journalism that represents and serves the community. The journalists’ response to the headline, which included an open letter and a “sickout” led by journalists of color, prompted the Inquirer’s top editor to resign and extracted an apology and promise from leadership to do better.

Privately, the journalists who authored the letter to The Philadelphia Inquirer have offered a list of sweeping changes to the paper’s top brass. After hearing from a number of their colleagues — who signed a letter of solidarity, in addition to offering vacation days to those calling out sick — the group decided to make a second list of individual actions for their Inquirer colleagues. This list was made public, available to any journalist interested in combating racial biases that can narrow and weaken their coverage.

The list’s authors acknowledged the support from their Inquirer colleagues, and wrote “knowing you’re willing to put in the work alongside us gives us hope.”

To that end, many of you have been asking us how you can best support our combined efforts. When it comes to the systemic change we need to build a better newsroom and company, stay tuned — we will need your help soon.

In the meantime, there are things we can do right now to make a difference as individuals.

Here are five actions we can all take today to unlearn old habits and biases that have been a part of our profession for too long. We don’t expect you to do all of them immediately, but these are first steps that many of us have found useful. We have a duty to continue working on ourselves, and hope you will do the same.

Jonathan Lai, a data and democracy reporter at the Inquirer, tweeted the highlights.

 

You can read the full letter here.

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