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Plain Dealer lawsuit

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by martygit, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You've got that right, Alma. I'd sure rather have someone like Marty who really wants the job than use it as a revolving door for newbies who either want a different beat or use it to get someplace warmer.
  2. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    In many cases, which makes the trend minority sports hires even more troubling to me, is that those who get hired will inevitably get a position important enough to have their picture in the paper (columnists, beat writers with weekly notes packages, etc.) So minorities/women aren't only getting hired at an inordinate rate, they're getting the plumb jobs so the papers can flaunt their diversity.

    That lends itself to what others previously had wondered about minorities/women affecting readership. I think it does when they see the writer. Women would be more likely, when thumbing through the paper, to stop and read what another woman has to say. The only way to get that woman to stop is if the writer has a mug. Same with minorities.

    And this post is coming from a guy who's a huge proponent of diversity. Just not to an extreme.
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I wasn't assigning 'blame,' just stating a reality. At some point, if you want to balance a work force that has been predominantly male, you have to hire females. I would imagine that different employers reached that point at different times.
  4. First, at the big papers, people don't apply for their jobs. They're recruited. Editors know who they want. (OK, that's not completely true. I did have to turn in a job application. I did it when I visited the human resources department on my first day on the job, after the paper already hired me and paid all my relocation costs)

    Point is, you're right.

    Papers do NOT want to hire to fill quotas because they don't want to water down their talent, weaken their staff and leave those more talented on the outside leaving in. They don't want to do that because it isn't fair to those with more ability, whatever the race or gender, and it isn't fair to themselves.

    So guess what? You got beaten out by someone with more ability than you!!! Comprehend that ::) ::) ::)
  5. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    Pet peeve: Guess what shouldn't have a question mark after it. It's not a question to invite somebody to take a guess. Sorry. Back to the topic at hand.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Ideally, big papers know who they want to fill upcoming openings (including females and minorities) but not everything goes as expected. I have seen major pro beats go to white guys who send in a resume.
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    When I said 'bad business,' I meant all of the above--maintaining an all-male staff is no way to run a business, whether you're managing a newspaper or a grocery store or an airline.

    If there's a readership payoff, it would be that diversity will likely give you a better product--different ideas, perspective, etc. My earlier point was that I don't know if women who never read the sports pages would suddenly begin doing so just because they see a female byline in the paper.
  8. Seems so obviously, doesn't it?
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I've been involved in that game of watching/advising students as they vie for internships, and I'm often troubled by the results. I've seen a Hearst winner, white, male, get internship X at a modest daily, while a girl who couldn't edit her way out of a paper bag - don't get started on the writing - gets internship Y at a major metro for her DNA. The fallout? Girl stinks it up, paper doesn't recruit from Z school anymore. Now who'd that help?

    Simply "filling out the roster" in the hopes that, out of that group, emerges a Selena Roberts or Juliet Macur is sticking one's head in the sand. The problem with the gender/racial surveys and the hiring games and the gender and racial politics remains this: Many attack these issues with a focus on the top of the industry - where these problems don't exist nearly as much because most of the writers assembled there are talented, period - without taking a sincere look at the papers below the top 150 - good papers - where a black journalist may never apply and a woman, if she's decent, doesn't have to bother with.

    If you're arguing diversity and integration, you have to consider what it means. That means this: That 5-days-a-week SE job in Montana? Who's taking that job? An Asian man? A woman from Portland who went to the University of Oregon? Nope. It's gonna be the white guy. That preps job in the UP of Michigan? White guy. That hockey beat in the Dells? White guy. That part-timer covering junior colleges and DIII schools in the Midwest? White guy. It's not blame. Just reality.

    Now - you try to get a minority or a woman to jump at that position. I've watched those jobs come up, watched seven people apply, and the applicants are who they are. There are a number of reasons minorities and women don't go for those jobs - money, prestige, racial makeup, smart young women aren't keen on moving to small towns to cover high school sports -but they're not all laid at the feet of the ME, or, in most cases, the editor.

    Let's be blunt while we're being blunt: Colleges don't train the women and minorities who go to J-school to be reporter/photographer/paginator for the Small-Chime times. What they do - and I've done the exact the same thing - is say: <i>iYou're a woman/minority, and this field is wide open for you, because papers want you. Now tomorrow you're gonna meet with the Knight-Ridder internship guy and we're gonna try to set you up. </i> Because, yes, there are so many other white males to go around to all the jobs not fit for the specially plucked. Internship programs play a large in making sure, through concerted efforts at integration, that precisely the opposite occurs.

    Minorities and women are by and large at major metros because that's where they're placed. Because the integration occurs only at the top of industry, a good three-fourths of America's newspapers commit this apparent bias of staffing their three or four-person crews with white males.

    What's so interesting about this lawsuit is that we have a white guy who vies for a job that minorities and women are groomed for: Major metro preps job. Clearly, at the PD, that job had "token" written all over it. That's not to say that those who had the job weren't good; it's just of no great harm to the paper if they weren't. The preps job is a factory, a place to test out diversity, which, of course, is the worst kind of diversity.

    The white guy didn't get the memo; he didn't realize that his place was to win some state press association awards while manning the job the women and minorites don't want. So he applied, again and again, and was denied, again and again, for reasons that seemed to have more to do with his demographic than his skills. And, from what I can tell, he's ripped for being a B writer unwilling to relocate and fight for a better job.

    I could contrast that story with another person, both a minority and a woman, who's ripped, rather unfairly, for her style and viewpoint. Mercilessly, viciously so - which, sadly, is a cross that a minority woman still has to bear in these enlightened days.

    The difference? One of them is stringer asking for assignments on this board. The other, probably 15 years the first man's junior, makes a quarter-million dollars writing whatever she pleases for the Worldwide Leader.

    I'm probably a little screwed in the head, of course. But it's a way of looking at things.
  10. martygit

    martygit Member

    I enjoyed reading that last post and I believe Alma is absolutely right.

    One thing, though. None of the female writers who were hired one after another at the PD were given prep beats. Every single one of them bypassed the less prestigious beats for bigger one right from the start.

    I don't believe any of them covered one high school game, unless it was a sidebar at a state championship or something comparable to that.
  11. Why wasn't this ever posted? Or did I just miss it? :D
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Bingo. It's not about the byline, it's about the stories, the approach, the perspective. That's why diversity is so important. I would be against a paper that had an all-female or an all-black staff for that very reason.

    Different people read the sports pages for different things. Some like gamers. Others like features. Even more like sports business stories, and some just scan for the names of local kids they know.

    Beer. RIGHT NOW.
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