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Friday, May 19, 2017

Does Race Matter in Reporting?

There is a difference between anchors, producers and reporters. Anchors are there for ratings, for looks, for diction and for presenting the story as newsreaders. Producers are behind the scenes (most of the time) and do the roll up your sleeve research, reporting and packaging of stories and reports. Reporters are often also producers of their own work, but also can be the on camera (also ratings driven) image for a story or report (the truth is often reporters are reading another persons writing, say a wire service report or something a news-writer or producer penned).

A question on diversity?

In priority what do you think is needed to fairly report stories (say the Cosby story, or coverage of recent riots or politicians running for office) if you could pick only one of the news team? The anchor? The producer? Or the reporter?

I remember when I wrote for the Associated Press sitting in a motel room in Pinedale, Wyoming watching a national news reporter, who was never in PInedale, reading the report I wrote with the steps of the Pinedale courthouse in the background. There was no disclaimer and to the nation is was that reporters work and they were in the small Wyoming town where the story was unfolding.

The reason for this post is that I had a discussion with somone over the weekend actively offering opportunities and networking for one segment of minorities in broadcasting and was brought up to date how often the reporting is done by white producers who are no where near the event itself. And does race matter. Part of the discuss was that if you are a jounalist, race and gender should not, regardless of what Bill Cosby says, matter.

In the end there are editors, publishers or ownership to all media that does impact how a story finally gets to the reader, viewer, listener, consumer.

What needs to change?

Art Lynch

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