It’s Friday, October 22nd.
For decades, white-owned newspapers harmed Black communities by inciting massacres and lynchings. The journalists and researchers behind Printing Hate have example after example.
Led by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, the project was inspired by University of Maryland associate professor DeNeen Brown, whose reporting on the Tulsa Race Massacre gave rise to a reopened investigation into mass graves.
Starting spring 2021, 60 students from seven colleges—with support from visiting professionals, faculty, and staff—researched hundreds of newspapers and spoke with historians and descendants to document examples of newsrooms “printing hate,” as the title suggests.
“I hope we can create a sense of awareness. I feel like people have a basic understanding of, ‘Okay, I can see that happening,’ but we provide the receipts,” Sydney E. Clark, one of the project’s researchers and fact-checkers, told The Objective. “The newspaper article clippings, the headlines—there’s actual substance behind the explanation.”
Through mid-December, the work will be released in a series of articles, photographs, and an interactive application where users can “explore historical lynching coverage by approximately 100 newspapers that still exist in some form today.”
The stories, like the original content, include graphic photos of lynchings and racist language “to show readers today exactly what was provided to readers of yesterday,” according to the project’s about page.
“That’s what passed for journalism, and clearly we have to do better,” said Gabriel Pietrorazio, another researcher for the project “I hope that other newsrooms look back at their coverage if they were around during that era to critically examine their own coverage and correct that, if necessary.” Pietrorazio said that the material is a reminder of the work that lies ahead for the industry.
Though newspapers—and journalism, more broadly—are often called the first draft of history, it’s obvious the draft was distorted. And just like all initial drafts, it requires some serious revision.
“We’ve seen history repeat itself over and over again, but how can we actually make it stop?” asked Clark. “I hope it’s just one stepping stone in the overall stream to remember and honor our past, but also look toward the future.”
A Bit More Media
What makes an expert an expert?
For The Open Notebook, Attabey Rodríguez Benítez writes that finding sources outside traditional sources such as doctors, scientists, and researchers can strengthen science journalism—and the field, more broadly. Missing or minimal formal academic training should not imply a lack of expertise, and discounting lived experience “may leave out other qualified sources who could bring an important perspective to a given story.”
Q/A: Danielle Slakoff
The Objective’s Q/A newsletter launched last week with assistant professor Danielle Slakoff’s expertise on feminist criminology and missing white woman syndrome. To read her advice on improving gaps in coverage and suggested resources, check out the full interview with Newsletter Editor Curtis Yee. You can subscribe to the newsletter itself here.
The JOC Worker Project
Carla Murphy, who also created the 2020 ‘Leavers’ survey, is collecting data for her new JOC Worker Project. The survey is “for staffers, freelancers and those actively looking for journalism work in mainstream and BIPOC-serving outlets,” and aims to collect “perspectives on work, community, values and newsrooms in the U.S.” The survey closes October 30.
‘Ben Smith sell your options’ challenge
Though he originally agreed to divest BuzzFeed stock options by the end of 2020, New York Times media columnist Ben Smith’s deadline has been extended to early 2022, a paper representative told Slate’s Justin Peters. Peters reports that Smith’s financial conflict of interest should be a concern for Times readers seeking honest—if any—coverage of the prominent media company.
If you have nothing good to share, don’t share anything at all
After an initial response rate of approximately four percent, the News Leaders Association is extending the deadline for its employment practices survey, citing a lack of transparency in staff diversity reporting, according to the Associated Press. Inversely, the Institute for Nonprofit News says 94% of 284 nonprofit newsrooms completed its January 2021 diversity survey.
“Thousands of words a day, uncredited”
“To recognize that a ghostwriter […] has irreplaceable skill and experience would demean the singular and incomparable gift of the person at center stage.” After years working as a ghostwriter—in various forms—Alex Sujong Laughlin explains how that kind of work, common in media, requires that individuals withhold parts of their identities to benefit singular geniuses.
Stay Up To Date
1 day until … How to become a star: building your brand from scratch. NAHJ members are invited to attend this workshop on resume and cover letter writing led by journalists and recruiters.
3 days until … How to Improve Your Coverage of LGBTQ+ Communities, a free webinar from Poynter featuring NLGJA president Sharif Durhams and Tampa Bay Times’ Ashley Dye.
5 days until … The Time Is Now: A COP26 Primer for Journalists. This session is the last in a series organized by the Society of Environmental Journalists and the UN Foundation.
5 days until … “Building Your Career” with Sarahbeth Maney and Sarah Waiswa. This webinar is part of The Essentials, a series of free, weekly workshops for photojournalists. Classes end November 3.
5 days until … Applications close for Environmental Racism + Indigenous Communities, a workshop by the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources. Journalists of color will be prioritized, and registration is free.
*$$$ denotes a paid event. What events should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to email@example.com.
A few more resources
Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | JournalismJobs.com | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | StudyHall XYZ | Opportunities of the Week ($)
How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook
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The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.