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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ethics in the news – Dec. 8

The group representing black journalists is in serious financial trouble, according to a Huffington Post story Monday.

The National Association of Black Journalists is in such dire straights, it is considering using a Ford Foundation grant designated for strategic planning to pay the bills, the story said. The 40-year-old organization, which is the largest representing minority journalists, may have to shutter its physical location in College Park, Maryland.

Journalism ethics and their formalized codes often talk about interactions with the public through interviews, publishing, and responses to what is published. But, racial representation with the newsroom is an ethical consideration of the same importance because it helps news organizations seek and report the truth. Representation in the newsroom is reflected in those public interactions.

Kathleen Culver, associate director, wrote about how a lack of representation in the news for decades and centuries has lead to distrust among racial and ethnic minorities of traditional news organizations.

It’s an issue news media have talked about for decades without much improvement. Newspapers under 50,000 circulation have median of zero minority reporters. Even top-circulation papers like The New York Times recognize their need to diversify.

Because reaching diverse audiences can boost revenues as well as connection with communities, some see reader demands for more diverse newsrooms as a way to change numbers that have been stagnant for years. But, the pipelines to professional newsrooms – student media – are still mostly white as well.

Nieman Labs this summer asked Twitter for ideas and solutions.

Read the ASNE newsroom survey that tracks diversity.

In other ethics in the news this week:

Ethics Center in the news:

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