Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 25

25 2016 campaign cable news coverage. Pew Research Center’s most recent newsroom diversity study revealed that only one in eight journalists (12 percent) are a minority. It is important to note that I am not glossing over the slight (or stagnant) improvements newsrooms have made in hiring more journalists of color over the past decade. However, without diverse people holding management and important decisionmaking positions within newsrooms, their ideas and expertise are not always effectively utilized. “You will have people of color and women who have risen,” Carole Jenkins, the founding president of the Women’s Media Center in a recent WNYC discussion said. “But if you look at who covers the politics it remains still a very nonintegrated type of set-up.” Had there been a more diverse press corps on the campaign trail and/or more people of color in leadership positions within newsrooms, I believe the 2016 coverage and outcomes so far would be different. Wesley Lowery, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter, said one major failure of the media in 2016 was the inability of outlets to recognize the legitimacy of the Trump candidacy. “[This failure was] in large part because political reporters underestimated the racial animus among many white voters,” Lowery said in an email interview. “The largely white press corps couldn’t fathom that such a large swath of GOP primary voters would mobilize around a candidate who trafficked such thinly veiled declarations of racism and nativism. The reporters of color I knew were much less surprised.” This topic does not necessarily equate to a fun discussion, but I do believe it is an issue that young journalist should be made cognizant of at an early age. Perhaps if we educate the next generation of journalists of these issues early, we will not have to face them again when they are the ones sitting in the national editorial board meetings, on the press corps buses or network anchor chairs. BELOW ARE EXERCISES YOU CAN USE WITH YOUR STUDENTS TO START CLASS DISCUSSION ON THIS TOPIC: • Watch small sections of any of the presidential debates. Record the questions asked of the candidates. To whom do those questions mainly pertain? Were some outlets’ questions more broadranging than others? Who was asking the questions? Brainstorm questions that were not asked that may be very important to other populations that are not present. • Hold a mock-debate in your class. Let a few students act as the candidates and others act as journalists asking questions. After a brief question and answer period, analyze what questions the students asked. Were they asked based on their personal experiences or perspective? What questions might other groups of people have asked that were left out? Eric Burse Eric Burse is the former Engagement Editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. Eric was the 2012 National Association of Black Journalist Student Journalist of the Year. Email: eric.burse@gmail.com