What do uprisings within newsroom tell us about the brave new world in the making?
In United States, staff at the New York Times openly rebelled against senior editors when Republican Senator Tom Cotton had an op-ed piece published discussing the use of the military during the riots.
In Los Angeles, the Times’ top editor is reportedly scrambling to assuage the anger of minority staff members who view the paper’s coverage of the protests and rioting as little more than pandering to the paper’s white audience.
“We can’t constantly pander to our primarily white audience with stories like this that affirm their biases,” she wrote. “One of the responsibilities of the job is to state the facts and tell it true. There’s so much implicit bias in those few sentences alone. And it’s alienating the viewers we’re trying to attract. As well as the [people of color] journalists like me who contribute so much to this paper and then have to read stories like this that oversimplify our struggles and realities,” wrote Sonaiya Kelley, who is black, in an email obtained by NPR.
And here in Canada, reporters were angered that columnist Rex Murphy had a piece published which challenged the notion that Canada is not racist.
Even left wing darling Wendy Mesley reportedly ran afoul of the new racial realities when one of her colleagues turned her in for daring to use the N-word in a staff meeting which was about using the N-word.
Let that sink in.
Of course, the racial tensions within the news media reflect the racial tensions within the larger society.
The vast majority of reporters and editors are white. It’s 85 per cent for employees over the age of 50 and 74 per cent for those under 49 in the US. I don’t have figures for Canada, but it’s probably close to the same from my 30-odd years in the businesss.
News media owners have known about this for some time and it’s not as if they haven’t tried to make their newsrooms more diverse.
(In fact, I can recall getting visits from head office back in the 80s stressing that our newsrooms should reflect the composition of our communities. Being the smart-ass that I am, I asked the consultants does that mean I should get rid of the reporters and editors that were members of visible minorities?)
Now, when it comes to male/female breakdown, the numbers are better. Most newsrooms are evenly divided between men and women.
The problem when it comes to race, however, is that the overwhelming majority of journalism and communications graduates are white. And I do mean overwhelming majority.
To make matters worse, newspapers have been shedding jobs faster than a dog shed fleas. Newsroom employment has dropped by more than 50 per cent since 2008.
It’s better over at the television and cable newsrooms. They’re holding their own. Employment there has even risen slightly.
The thing is that actual news gathering, which television and cable newsrooms rarely do, takes a lot of bodies, making it extremely expensive and with ad revenue going mostly digital these days, well, something has to give. So owners have cut staff.
So how newspapers are going to shoehorn in a few more blacks and other visible minorities into shrinking newsrooms is anybody’s guess.
Does it really matter?
According to the woke youngsters, it does. They were raised and educated to believe that you cannot report accurately if you are white. Something to do with the inherent racism in all whites, I’m told.
This is the brave new world that is being constructed. Facts are no longer facts. Everything is race related, sex related, ethnic origin related. And everything else is the fault of capitalism which, itself, is the fault of white Europeans.
It’s a mind boggling stupid take on the world, but these are the divisions that are being promoted and acted upon.
None of it ends well for anybody.
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