The Front Page: Who observes the Observer?

It’s Friday, March 25th.

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For the past seven months, the Texas Observer has been bleeding staff. 

The 13-person editorial team has dwindled down to four, with all of the team’s non-white members exiting the publcation. In an investigation for The Objective, Naomi Andu unearths how a toxic work environment, dismissal of worker concerns, and a shift in direction from the company’s board of directors led to a gutted newsroom.

“It underscores what I see in journalism over and over again,” [former editor-in-chief Tristan Ahtone] added. “The individuals responsible for destroying a newsroom always get away with it. They never get held to account. They go into better jobs. In the case of the Observer, there are a lot of journalists that spoke up and are now unemployed that shouldn’t be.”

“We only know what happened at the Texas Observer because former staffers chose to speak out publicly,” Andu tweeted. “I’m grateful to them for trusting me to tell this story.” 

You can read the full story here.

This issue is by Curtis Yee and Holly Rosewood.


A Bit More Media

Q&A: Kam Burns — In 2020, a handful of trans media workers launched the Trans Journalists Association. Two years later, co-founder Kam Burns speaks with The Objective’s deputy editor Janelle Salanga about the organization’s growth, community solidarity, and how newsrooms can better cover trans issues.

Liberal arts colleges should pay student journalists — When newspapers at small liberal arts colleges fail to appropriately compensate their journalists, they also fail students, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. Hannah Docter-Loeb breaks down the inaccessibility of said jobs for The Objective.

The limits of gendered language — For The Objective, Liana DeMasi explains how journalists promote exclusivity through gendered language. “In reporting, to not reflect the over 1 million transgender and nonbinary individuals in the United States dismisses a large portion of the U.S. population, as well as the facts of events and stories.” Read the full story here.

Outlier gains new insiders — Newsletter startup Detour Detroit has merged with service journalism outlet Outlier Media. The two Detroit-based publications, which prioritize community engagement in their reporting, emphasize that a thriving city is one “where information is democratized and seen as a necessity.”

Making a Neighborhood — To transform journalism in Los Angeles, three friends launched Making a Neighborhood, a community-focused newsletter with a focus on gentrification in East Hollywood. The journalists behind the publication hope it will inspire other residents to start journalism projects within their communities, they tell the Los Angeles Times.

“Dear Discovery” — The Latino Advisory Leadership Council wants to know: “Does diversity include Hispanics or not?” In response to the Discovery Communications-Warner Media merger, which reveals no Latinx leaders, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has co-signed a letter to the company demanding action, “not merely supportive words.”


Stay Up To Date 

5 days until … Leading the Way on DEI, a webinar organized by Current and American University’s School of Communication. Panelists will discuss best practices for implementing and evaluating DEI strategies in newsrooms.

6 days until … Who Gets to Speak in News Coverage? Solidarity Reporting on Trans Issues. This free, virtual workshop from the Center for Media Engagement features Tuck Woodstock, host of Gender Reveal.


A few more resources

For your portfolio website: If you identify as a journalist with a background historically underrepresented in journalism, Authory will provide you with a free one-year account to back up your articles (a $96 value). 

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | 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 Pacific America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook | SPJ Race & Gender Hotline | AMEJA Media Resource Guide

Our stories are funded by readers like you. 

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.

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