Presenting the Facts in a Racially-Tinged Environment

The United States will become a majority minority nation in a few decades, ensuring that every policy issue will have gradations of race.

“Welcome to the race and ethnicity beat because whatever you write about, you’ll be reporting race and ethnicity,” said Jesse J. Holland, race and ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press.

What happens when a newsroom finds itself in the vortex of a story with racial undertones like Ferguson? What happens when hundreds of reporters from across the country and across the world find their way to your community to cover a story in your backyard?

Many of the reporters who parachuted in to Ferguson were reporters of color and they felt keenly the importance of accurately portraying the story.

“The story was too big for me not to go,” Holland told journalists at an NPF seminar. He felt a responsibility to get the story right.

“We have to pay attention to not just the facts of the story. We have to pay attention to how we present those facts,” Holland said.

For information on population trends, journalists should consult the U.S. Census Bureau reports.


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