1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Whitlock hits it out of the park

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Twoback, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    I had an editor, whom I am eternally grateful to for teaching me the fundamentals of the business, express shock when he learned that I was Hispanic.

    "You don't act Hispanic," he said.
  2. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Any business probably wants its workers to be professional. Not black, white, Hispanic, Asian, whatever. How is your employer keeping you from being "black"? I'm asking because I would like to hear this perspective. And sorry, Malcolm X's widow is not the slam dunk Rosa Parks was. Tho it was a valid question at another paper I worked at, when Jerry Garcia died about the same time some famous blues singer died. Garcia went out front, the blues singer didn't. That made me wonder.

    And sorry, but I think the concept of better-paying professions snapping up minorities is a much better argument. After all, do you think a law firm is gonna let you be more "black" than a newspaper would? Do you think an engineering firm would?
  3. she used a figure of speech that you are not taking the way she intended...
  4. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I think this is an excellent post, and it's too bad it wasn't made on that idiotic thread we had before about diversity in hiring.

    The problem is too many managing editors are gutless wonders. They spend their time cowering in their offices doing critiques and protecting the design mentality and hoping not to offend the publisher with anything.

    I do remember one case (and this is definitely going into "Nuts and Dolts") when we were talking about trying some new comics. One of them was "Boondocks" before the strip was popular.

    It ran for a few days with a mix of complaints, but that's not unusual for any new strip. As soon as the first racial complaint came in, the strip was gone. The dumbass, fucktard figurehead of an ME couldn't handle having the strip in the paper.

    If you want to get diversity, there's a happy medium between the Gerald Garcias of the world and the spineless MEs who are in far too many newsrooms.
  5. ballscribe

    ballscribe Active Member

    Where I come from, for hundreds of years until no more than 40 years ago, people were told to "speak white", meaning "speak English."
    Everyone was pretty much white; it was the language that was the issue.
    That turn of phrase gets people above a certain age going mental, even now.

    People say the same thing to me: You don't act French. You don't sound French. Well, I am. I'm sorry if I'm not French enough for you. Not much I can do about that, except maybe fake an accent or something'.
    Most people say I sound American. ;D

    My newspaper's coverage area majoritarily speaks another language. All the higher-ups always say we need to tap into that market. Have we hired any French interns who can write in English as long as I've been there? Nope.
    Are there any? Few.
    I could be the only person in the entire newsroom who's beyond "functional" in that language.

    I can't imagine it isn't because they don't try. But who knows? As we all know, people tend to hire other people who sound like them, look like them, think like them. The "diversity" effort runs counter to that very essence.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    That's why an argument like Songbird's "It's 2006" argument from before cannot hold ... despite the fact that, yes, it's 2006. (Not picking on you, Songbird. Your frustration with the issue is warranted. But we can't allow it to go away.)

    Because yes, diversity is still an issue. And it will always be an issue, as long as there are people who hire others who "look like them, sound like them, think like them," etc. It's an issue in racial equality, it's an issue in gender equality, it's an issue in ethnic equality. Until people are treated the same -- if ever -- it will remain an issue.

    An issue that needs to be discussed, not avoided. It's 2006 -- and we still treat people differently based on race, and based on gender, and based on ethnicity, and based on sexual orientation. None of which anyone has any choice in (you can't choose to be female, or choose to be white, or choose to be born in Canada or Libya or Taipei.)

    Diversity is something that's going to have to be a conscious effort, and we're going to have to keep doing it until it becomes second nature.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    So if I hire a gay black Muslim woman I'm good to go, right?
  8. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I know one paper that went into the hiring process in pursuit of a black woman, and they may even have had an age range in mind.
  9. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    There is no one thing that is panacea here, but the issue of pay, particularly entry-level pay, keeps coming back to me. It's already been touched on, but there have to be reasons there are so few black faces in j-schools, and I think in part it's that blacks who pursue an education want to succeed financially, and when they get the first whiff of entry-level newspaper salaries, business school starts looking really good. Go into banking or marketing or accounting and there's a chance you're making six figures in a few years, and you can actually live on what you make to begin with. Sports writing? I think we all know what that is for the most part.

    Plus, in one job-specific area, Scoop is absolutely right. I know, it's anathema, but humor me. Let's say your long-term goal is to become an MLB or NFL beat writer. Well, there are, what, maybe 150 of those jobs over the entire country? Let's say there's twice that (which I'd guess is high). There are still more than 700 mlb players. So the end-game odds are longer you'll achieve that goal. Football, same thing. I'm not as familiar with the NBA, but I'm assuming the numbers are closer.

    And while I'm hatching thoughts, here's another: The multitude of blacks committing crimes on 1A and white victims being favored in placement has to be factored in somewhere. Yes, they can try to be instruments of change, but by the time blacks reach college age, I'd guess many have already decided they want no part of an industry that operates that way.
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    So a racial sensitivity test should come into play as far as how murder is covered? I think at most of our papers, no matter who commits a murder, it's going on 1A or the local news front. I would hope that journalists of any color would have enough knowledge of news judgment to not say, "Darn, they're not burying murders inside. Racists!" Now the play given to missing people, that's a legitimately troublesome area.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Many years ago a boss told me he had to hire a black person -- who would be our first -- but that the first guy they brought in was "too militant" in the eyes of the top editor who had demanded that a black person be hired in the first place. I knew someone, told my boss I thought the glass offices would like him, and they hired him and he was an excellent hire who stayed longer than I did.

    But the "militant" remark really struck in my craw because, unless they had invited Eldridge Cleaver to interview for a sports writing job, what in hell did they mean by that? What good does it do for your product -- assuming that the goal in diversity is so the newspaper will no longer perceive the world only through white people's eyes -- if the only black people you wish to hire are meek black people who will never say: "Wait! There is another way to see this story!"

    But the big problem years later is not only don't most newspaper editors want that from black people, they don't want that from white people, either. This thing of wanting completely docile staffs wasn't the way it was when I started working for newspapers in the 1970s, and it is the worst change I've seen, far more destructive than layoffs, space cuts, increased pressure to make ridiculous profits and whatnot.
  12. Dog8Cats

    Dog8Cats Well-Known Member

    Some incredibly strong points.

    But, also:

    "Out of fear and insecurity, the system sometimes short-circuits and backfires when it’s forced to work with a minority journalist who doesn’t express the proper amount of gratitude, expresses too much self-confidence, too much passion for the business, too much competence and openly expresses his/her opinion on how things should be done.

    Major problems.

    Things can get real ugly, quick, and the minority employee can find himself labeled a malcontent and standing in the unemployment line six months later or stuck in a dead-end job. ...

    A significant number of talented minority sportswriters have been run out of the business at an early age simply for expressing themselves and their perspective. The industry that promotes free speech sometimes fights it ferociously behind the scenes."

    I'd love to see examples cited of this phenomenon. "A significant number of talented minority sportswriters have been run out of the business ..." ???? Certainly not in my experience (granted, I'm not the world traveler of journalism, but I can't say I find that statement truthful).

    Also, why are ethnicity and gender the only measures of diversity? If we want to reflect our communities and our readership, why not have fewer college graduates, so as to better reflect our audience?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page