Diversity Matters

By Julia Lugon

One point was made clear during two diversity panels Tuesday: newsrooms are not reflecting the community.

During two diversity panels, Karen Magnuson, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editor and vice president of news, and Keith Woods, NPR vice president for diversity in news and operations, discussed community representation and diversity in newsrooms.

ASNE's annual newsroom census, which was released on Tuesday, revealed that 12.37 percent of journalists belong to minority groups.

"Our goal is to make the percentage of minority journalists equal to the quantity of minorities in the U.S by 2025," Magnuson said. She also announced that ASNE will partner with Journalism That Matters to maximize the ways journalists can engage diverse communities and meet evolving information needs.

The lack of diversity in newsrooms causes an absence of reports about minority issues.

"The challenge we face is a loss in numbers of journalists of color. In the last seven years, we had a dramatic drop," Woods said.

Paul Cheung, president of the Asian American Journalists Association, said it is important to focus on diversity in the newsrooms. "Use the staff to connect with the community," he said. "If you understand what the community is like, you will report it. It's not only a staffing issue, but also the type of coverage and the journalism that we want."

News Literacy Council Meeting

By Fola Akinnibi, University of Maryland student

A group of 30 journalists, educators and students came together to discuss the importance of news literacy on the second day of the 2013 ASNE Convention.

News literacy training teaches the power of the question and provides students with skills they can use for the rest of their lives, said Clark Bell, the journalism program director for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which funded the meeting.

A more informed news consumer could demand higher quality news coverage. Other supporters see news literacy as a way to empower impoverished youth and give them the tools to succeed.

Chicago-area high school students will benefit from a three-year, $6 million grant allocated by the McCormick Foundation for a news literacy program, Bell said.

Creating a program that can be used nationwide is tough; the content has to accommodate a wide variety of teachers, according to Howard Finberg, director of training partnerships and alliances at The Poynter Institute.

"The biggest challenge we have with news literacy is scale," he said. "You have to do this with engaging content that is flexible that teachers can pick various elements that meet their curricular needs."

Ultimately, the goal is to create news literacy programs for classrooms nationwide, according to Dean Miller, director of the Stony Brook University Center for News Literacy.

"We've taught almost 10,000 undergrads at Stony Brook alone," Miller said. "That's a drop in the bucket, but we've proven it can be done."

Tuesday's meeting was in preparation for a larger meeting in 2014.

Student journalists

Student journalists from the University of Missouri and the University of Maryland are here to cover the convention for ASNE. They will be writing about some of the sessions and tweeting about all of the sessions each day using the hashtag #asne13.

Learn more at the ASNE website


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