This article provides powerful evidence of the value of racial diversity and integration.
At the New York Times this past week, it was black reporters who led the newsroom protest over the decision to publish the appalling Op-Ed of Senator Tom Cotton. Their leadership – based on their different perspective – forced James Bennet to step down as opinion editor. A similar story unfolded at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The presence of black reporters has influenced coverage of President Trump.
Mr. Lowery’s view that news organizations’ “core value needs to be the truth, not the perception of objectivity,” as he told me, has been winning in a series of battles, many around how to cover race. Heated Twitter criticism helped to retire euphemisms like “racially charged.” The big outlets have gradually, awkwardly, given ground, using “racist” and “lie” more freely, especially when describing Mr. Trump’s behavior.
It is just so much harder to justify describing Trump’s words and deeds as “racially charged” rather than “racist” when you need to explain your use of language to your black colleague, face to face.
Black reporters played an important role covering the protests in Ferguson, which brought national attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The press corps that landed in Ferguson after a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown Jr., was fatally shot by a white police officer, was blacker than most big American newsrooms. That wasn’t an accident — many reporters had raised their hands to cover a story that unfolded, first, on Twitter . . .
“There was a critical mass of black journalists — most of them young — many to most of them steeped in the history of race and the history of police violence in this country,” said Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker, an elder statesman of the group who celebrated his 45th birthday at a wine bar near the Ferguson police headquarters.
Diversity matters. Integration matters. We still don’t know all the ways that diversity and integration matter, but if past trends continue, we will find that they matter much more than we currently understand.
John Roberts, take note.