Tag: Los Angeles Times

New Study Shows News Outlets Skew Towards Negative Portrayals of Black Families, Contrary to Government Data

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

via blavity.com

According to the Washington Post, a recent Color of Change and Family Story study found that the news media has had a significant hand in negatively skewing the perceptions of black families.

The study’s researchers reviewed over 800 local and national news pieces published or aired between January 2015 and December 2016, sampling major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC as well as major print publications such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The study — conducted by  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis L. Dixon — found that national news outlets were more likely to show black families as broken and dysfunctional while white families were depicted as possessing social stability.

These images are not only distorted, but contradict government data.

Dixon found that black families represented 59 percent of poor people portrayed in media, but actually only make up of 27 percent of Americans living in poverty. In contrast, white families only make up 17 percent of the poor representated in media, but make up 66 percent in reality. As far as criminal depictions go, black criminals represented 37 percent of the media’s criminals while only 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges are black in real life. White criminals represented 28 percent the criminals portrayed in the media, but make up 77 percent of real life’s crime suspects.

The report argues that constant depictions of black people living in poor, welfare-dependent and broken homes due to absentee fathers has created a negative image of black families in general.

“This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” said Dixon.

Further, these depictions can affect black families on a systematic level. Dixon noted that the images can spark political rhetoric and the powerful buying into these narratives are what causes Congress to “gut social safety net programs,” bosses to implement harsher work and drug testing requirements and general disdain for welfare programs.

The study also notes that during the Great Depression, white families suffering from poverty were presented in the media as having run into “hard luck,” and that there were campaigns to “help them through tough times.”

However, over time, the media and political leaders have “worked to pathologize black families in the American imagination to justify slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, widespread economic inequity and urban disinvestment — as well as to gain and maintain political and social power,” argues Nicole Rodgers, founder of Family Story.

And this effort has borne terrible fruit, according to Color of Change’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, who said, “There are dire consequences for black people when these outlandish archetypes rule the day: abusive treatment by police, less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges.”

Overall, the report concluded that in order to make real change in the news industry, stricter sourcing requirements will have to be implemented, journalists must be encouraged to provide social and historical context and the editorial standards process should include people of color.

Source: https://blavity.com/color-change-study-news-outlets-promote-false-negative-portrayals-black-families-reality

Dean Baquet Becomes NY Times’ First African American Executive Editor

 

dean-baquet-300x208Dean Baquet, managing editor of the New York Times and former top editor at the Los Angeles Times, was named Executive Editor on Wednesday after Jill Abramson stepped down from the New York newspaper’s top editorial job.  Baquet, 57, becomes the first African American in the job.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a  generation ago,” he said in a New York Times account of the development, “one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day.”

Baquet’s ascension was big news for black journalists, whose ranks have been buffeted by newspaper staff contractions and indifference to diversity concerns.

“He has reached a height many can only dream about,” messaged Don Hudson, the executive editor of the Decatur (Ala.) Daily who tracks the number of black top editors for the National Association of Black Journalists. “He’s an inspiration to all of us editor types out here in the trenches. I know I’m proud of him.”

Hudson added, “It’s a good day. God is good. First a president and now the top journalist.”

Get the rest of this story at Journal-isms.

As Jackie Robinson Was Making History, Wendell Smith Wrote It

Wendell Smith
Wendell Smith

Sportswriter Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times recently wrote a thoughtful and necessary essay about sportswriter Wendell Smith, who covered Jackie Robinson’s ascendancy into major league baseball for the Pittsburgh Courier and “finally gets his due” in the recently released motion picture “42.”  Here is an excerpt and a link to the entire article:

Baseball’s greatest story will be rewritten again Monday as the sport celebrates the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the major leagues’ color barrier.Yet the man who wrote the story will be forgotten.

In every game, players from every team will wear 42, the number on the back of Robinson’s jersey when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Yet nobody will sit in the stands with a manual typewriter atop their knees in memory of the man who, even as he wrote about integration on the field, was barred from the press box because he was black.

Nobody will honor the man who endured the same prejudice as Robinson as he fought that prejudice with his words. Nobody will remember the man whose hidden fight became an inspiration for Robinson’s public battle.

Everyone will remember the headline, but few will remember the byline — Wendell Smith.

The humble, bespectacled journalist was Robinson’s chronicler, his confidant, and sometimes even his conscience. As sports editor and columnist for the African American-owned Pittsburgh Courier, Smith accompanied Robinson throughout his first major league season, creating his image, reporting his words and crusading for his rights.

As Robinson grew more popular, Smith became more invisible, until he eventually became Robinson’s ghost writer in the literal sense, the memory of him turning ethereal and nearly vanishing altogether.

“Everywhere we went, Wendell Smith was there,” said Don Newcombe, former Dodgers pitcher, who was Robinson’s longtime teammate, friend and fellow pioneer. “He was instrumental in so many things that happened, he should not be forgotten.”

Read the rest of Plaschke’s story here.

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