As a staff of upcoming journalists, we should be ashamed of the media coverage of minorities.
The media, an all-inclusive term used to sum up newspapers, broadcast, video and audio as a way to disseminate the news. The outside sees something that just comes on television or through headphones; we see our dream careers.
Simply put, the media is the social conscience that is broadcast to our society. In a Big Brother motif, the media is always watching through the lenses of a smartphone, so of course the media will help shape how we think and act.
On the surface, this is not necessarily a bad thing. This can be utilized for good in a variety of ways. However, when the media portrays minorities a certain way, how can we not get upset at the profession we are about to enter?
When gathering research for this editorial, I came across the website bravenewfilms.org. After watching the short film “Stop Racism in Mainstream Media Reporting,” I was floored.
The short film compared the difference in media coverage of black protests and predominately white sporting events.
When portraying black protests, mainstream media used cruel words such as “thug,” “criminals” and “wild animals.” However, riots that happened at sporting events, which were shown to be predominately white, the participants were referred to as “young people” and “fans”.
Upon further research, Zak Cheney-Rice wrote an article on mic.com that talks about when a massive, predominately Caucasian group was rioting in the streets, vandalizing and setting fires over Ohio State’s football team winning, the portrayal was with the utmost care. This is one of the many riotous sporting event aftermaths that Rice discussed in his article.
Rice compared the coverage of this event to the coverage of the Ferguson protests. In one of its numerous coverage pieces, CNN brought on former New York
City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who said that the people protesting were acting like “savages” and “animals.”
A double standard indeed.
How can we hope to work for the media when the coverage paints minorities in different, and often cruel light?
Publishing a newspaper each week is a part of our training and we are training to enter a field where a double standard exists and yet, few acknowledge it.
Not only should we as potential journalists be worried, the people we aim to serve and disseminate the news, the public, should know of this double standard.
The point of this editorial is not to make our readers not want to believe the mainstream media, but to question the news. Engage with it, rant about it, speak to your community, or get mad and do something.
The news only serves to inform. And to inform, mainstream media needs to be fair and accurate in its reporting.