Nyla

Canada

15
She/her

Message to Readers

Hey guys! Although this is my submitted draft, feel free to let me know what you think- if you agree or disagree; if there's something I did really well or need to work on for the future; if it's better than my previous draft :)

The Need for Diversity in Journalism

March 18, 2021

“Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act.” -Arthur Forman

Although born in the 1800s, the famous English schoolmaster and cricketer’s words still hold up today. Everyone is different. But we aren’t using that to our advantage, and that’s where the problem lies.

In my spare time, I write articles on current issues for a non-profit. I started about a month ago and recently received feedback on an article I wrote, “The Significance of Black History”. I wrote with passion and a clear goal in mind, to inform people and advocate for change. But when I saw my edited article I started crying unable to distinguish where my words ended, and the revision began. They censored every stance I took. They softened every truth. Removing my ideas to avoid any possible risk of causing offence to anyone. I don’t blame the organization for doing this, they have to release soft articles to keep an audience, but it brought a more pressing issue to my attention- diversity in journalism. People who have never had to face additional barriers in their everyday lives cannot truly portray issues pertaining to social mobility or inequality having had no such experience in their lives. If they do, it can lead to the spread of misinformation, which impairs our ability to create change.

For example, a few years ago, there were headline stories about people toppling statues of great Canadian leaders. No article I read at the time explained why people felt so strongly to vandalize and erase history, and so I believed these people were criminals. It wasn’t until recently that I started thinking how I would feel in their situation. What I would think if everyone around me idolized a person who murdered or hated my ancestors. Someone who wouldn’t care for my character or what I’ve achieved; how I looked would be enough for them to draw conclusions. That’s when I came to my conclusion- groups that have been oppressed throughout history may have a voice but society refuses to give them a platform to be heard thereby rendering it useless. In doing so, society is ensuring the implementation and continuation of inequitable beliefs in the future generation. 

Journalism is a force meant to inform the public of issues facing the world, yet the world is not the ones writing it. Nearly 40% of Americans belong to a minority group, yet they only make up 17% of news site personnel (NPR, 2017). A quote from the American Press Institute says it best, “Journalism, in its truest form, should be produced for the benefit of all, not only those who wield a particular power, class or authority.” Not only are showcasing diverse views ethical, but economical. The only news organizations which will survive in the future are the ones that can cater to the needs of the increasingly diversifying future generation. So why are the people with the best education are not acting on this?

What I wrote in my article did not offend any of my friends who come from diverse backgrounds, but the editors still considered it too much. Censoring the truth doesn’t lead to progression. In fact, nowhere in history has society progressed without ruffling a few feathers. There’s a movement to view the world race-blind, and although that is an amazing dream, we cannot do it until there is equality. We can view every single societal problem we face through a race lens and yield different results than if we don’t. There is a deep-rooted problem in our countries when race determines everything. Next time you read a news article about a societal problem, research the author because that will bias the article. Journalism should highlight every perspective because that is its purpose. Everyone is unconsciously biased based on who they are and the experiences they’ve been through, there is no avoiding that, but we can combat it by giving a voice to different people. We don’t need hundreds of news organizations disseminating the same perspectives, yet this is our reality as 77% of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic whites (Pew Research Center, 2018). This highlights a drastic need for different viewpoints because we need real perspectives on genuine issues for actual change to occur.

As CBS Evening News anchor, Norah O’Donnell said “journalism is more important than ever […] There’s a thirst for information because there’s so much going on in the world” (The Star, 2021) But the problem is, the public won’t be accurately informed on current events unless we have journalists with different views and experiences.

We can only gain substantial insight from a person who understands the impacts of an issue better than anyone else. The information we absorb drastically changes how we view the world and the meaningful actions we take. In a world where fake news is more rampant than ever, we need the truth because as O’Donnell said, “information is power and the truth is powerful”.

To paint a similar scenario, ask yourself, would you rather put your life in the hands of a medical student who’s only studied a textbook, or a practiced physician?
Works Cited
Abbady, Tal. "The Modern Newsroom Is Stuck Behind The Gender And Color Line." NPR. NPR, 01 May 2017. Web.
Carucci, John. "Norah O'Donnell: 'Journalism Is More Important than Ever'." Thestar.com. 13 Jan. 2021. Web.
"Diversity and Inclusivity in Journalism." American Press Institute. 28 Feb. 2020. Web.
Grieco, Elizabeth. "Newsroom Employees Are Less Diverse than U.S. Workers Overall." Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 30 May 2020. Web.

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  • March 18, 2021 - 9:26pm (Now Viewing)

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5 Comments
  • The Ravenclaw Dragon

    Wow. This highlights interesting and valid points, and you have a lot of evidence that backs it up. If you'd like to add another point, you can talk about how variety in society has helped society survived on many occasions, like when the deadly malaria came to Africa and those with sickle-shaped blood cells were able to survive because there was so much variety. You can watch a video on it here (https://youtu.be/1fN7rOwDyMQ). Keep on writing!


    6 months ago
  • McK13

    re: never mind, I just checked another draft of your op-ed and I guess my comment did go through! Obviously, I'm super tired lol :)


    6 months ago
  • McK13

    Oops, I forgot to add this--good luck in the op-ed competition, I'm sure you'll do great!!


    6 months ago
  • McK13

    I love this piece! You did such a wonderful job referencing your own experiences on this topic! I also love how informing this is and how you used a variety of sources. Your statistics are perfect! I think it's really important to bring awareness to topics we feel need more of it -- so I really love how you are using this platform to advocate for more diversity in journalism :) Also, it is such an original topic to write about that is in need or recognition.
    Re: Okay, before I begin, I thought I commented last night in response to your comment that you gave me however my wifi cut out at the exact second and I thought it posted, but I guess not, so sorry! Anyways, thank you for literally everything!! My cheeks hurt, because of how much I keep on smiling from your comments lol! Same--I'm already over the moon because of how kind you are! Anyways, I really enjoy reading memoirs and other inspirational books because I feel that I can relate more and I love learning about others' journeys and childhoods! Recently I've read Barack Obama's A Promised Land, Educated by Tara Westover, and More Myself written by Alicia Keys. Right now, I'm reading Kamala Harris' The Truths We Hold. I also like books that are realistic fiction because of how they could possibly happen. These include The Hate U Give and The Poet X. Although I really am always up for reading any good book in any genre! Some of my friends wanted me to read The Selection Series and The Divergent Series and I really enjoyed it so. What are some of your favorite books? And if you were to get a puppy, what name would you want and what breed?


    6 months ago
  • alwayswriting

    I love this piece and how many sources you used! Do you know what time (GMT+1) we have to hand in our final draft?
    <3


    6 months ago