The Front Page: 50 issues

Issue 50: Reflecting on two years.

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It’s Friday, August 26th.

In July 2020, I logged into a Google Doc with three people I had never met and started writing about patterns of racism at the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

I was frustrated with the media criticism that some of our peers were writing, and I remember feeling relieved that, at the very least, there was a small group of people who shared the same frustrations. 

What I didn’t expect was for a few thousand people to read our ramblings, share our work, and donate to our team — which was, at the same time, growing beyond a few anonymous armadillos or koalas in a shared document. 

Since then, we’ve published dozens more issues, including one on the importance of salary transparency and its relationship to newsroom diversity and retention — a concept that is still hard to grasp for many companies.

This week, in honor of 50 issues, a few members of The Objective’s leadership team are reflecting on some of our favorite stories.  

— Holly Rosewood

During the outset of the war in Ukraine (which, for those who have forgotten, is still going on), journalists frequently showed their personal support for the people of Ukraine — broad support that would be deemed unacceptable, or at the least biased, if it was shown to, say, Palestinians or Syrians. The ways in which journalists are “allowed” to exercise their moral compass can be both arbitrary and bent to the whims of the majority. 

Journalists like to consider themselves truth-tellers, but we should also strive to be moral. This will take introspection and revision, but if we remain selective in the ways we voice our concerns, even in light of the most obvious atrocities, we not only hamper our own morality but the morality of our readers. 

— Curtis Yee

This is one of our older issues, before we pivoted to a shorter newsletter but more attention given to a singular top story. But it’s one I find grounding to return to, especially the first call to action: Journalists need to decenter themselves when it comes to police violence. It’s never made sense to me how journalists can say they serve the places they live in and people they see at the grocery store, at the park, in downtown, but only speak out against police violence and carcerality when it affects someone else holding a microphone. 

It’s also the issue in which we talk about our move away from Substack — and why it isn’t just about Substack — via Gabe’s Q&A with writer Jude Ellison S. Doyle, who shared the marvelous phrase: “We’re all compromised, Debra, but some of us moved to Buttondown.” 

— Janelle Salanga

A Bit More Media

Q&A: Democracy Day — On Sept. 15, journalists can participate in U.S. Democracy Day, a collective effort to improve the public’s understanding of democracy by publishing related content. Rachel Glickhouse, one of the organizers, shared more about the event’s inception with us in our latest Q&A

The whiteness of critique and investigation — New this week, two pieces for The Objective about why journalists of colors are underrepresented on entertainment desks and investigative teams, respectively. “In order to actually advance the field of criticism,” writes Frankie Huang, “there needs to be intention and purpose behind bolstering diversity, so that all critics — regardless of their race — can elevate their craft.”

Harassment against female journalists of color — As Jackson Cote reports, a recent study by professors at Northeastern University finds that journalism students who are also women of color are more likely to face “violent, sexualized harassment.” A study co-author says the results help strengthen the case to acknowledge and address the issue.

New York Times pay disparities — An analysis by Times journalists in the NewsGuild reveals significant pay disparities related to performance evaluations and employees’ race and ethnicity. The analysis shows that, last year, “being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by about 60 percent, and being Black cut the chances of high scores by nearly 50 percent,” both of which directly affect pay.

The importance of person-centered terms — Yesterday, the Center for Media Engagement and Resolve Philly released new research that shows the use of person-centered terms increases trust in news amongst people who have experienced homelessness, those with disabilities, and people in recovery from substance use disorder. Learn more here.

Who we deem “electable” — Released earlier this week, Electable delves into the ways journalists encourage the election of male presidents. In an interview with Julia Métraux, author Ali Vitali talks about her book, her experience as an NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent, and the relationship between misogyny and newsroom diversity. 

Alex Wagner — “I feel so honored to be one of them. And also, that’s got to change.” When Alex Wagner Tonight aired for the first time earlier this month, the title host became the only Asian American lead on the current prime-time cable news roster. Read more about Wagner’s vision for the newscast in her interview with Objective Advisory Board member Karen Ho.

Stay Up To Date

3 days until … Chef Showcase 2022. ($$$) AAJA Seattle hosts this in-person benefit event featuring local chefs, a silent auction, and more. Proceeds go toward scholarships and training events.

21 days until … Making News Coverage of Working Class Women More Community Centered. Community leaders and journalists will offer best practices and discuss challenges in this two-part event. 

25 days until … the Disabled Journalists Association’s event on navigating journalism and related careers with chronic illness or disability. Julia Métraux, Lygia Navarro, and Aiden Strawhun will host the Zoom event.

What else should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to [email protected].

A few more resources

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 | The Press in Prison

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If you like what you read, we could use your support. Your contribution will go directly to our writers, editors, and any fees required for us to operate. 

We’ll have more for you soon. 

This issue is by Holly RosewoodJanelle Salanga, and Curtis Yee with editing by Curtis Yee..

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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