The Front Page: What the Queen’s death says about U.S. media priorities

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has (again) revealed U.S. cable and legacy companies’ fascination with spectacle and colonialist narratives.

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When Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on Sunday, the eyes of many journalists — and their audiences — were on London.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has (again) revealed U.S. cable and legacy companies’ fascination with spectacle and colonialist narratives. In a few instances, reporters went against the grain:

“The Queen’s legacy started in colonialism and is still wrapped in it. It used to be said that the sun did not set over the British empire,” Farooq Kperogi at Kennesaw State University told a CNN reporter. “No amount of compassion or sympathy that her death has generated can wipe that away.”

Though coverage by major outlets has improved since Fiona made landfall, it took time for several major newsrooms to pivot from rehoming corgis to supporting evacuees

While it’s appropriate to cover the death of a long-time public figure whose cultural influence spanned the globe, much of the space focused on affirming the Queen rather than discussing the realities of colonialism (which is part of the cultural legacy she leaves behind). Journalism resources are finite, and major U.S. news outlets should have focused more on those experiencing immediate danger.

In some cases, newsrooms have decided to send reporters all the way to Europe, while journalists local to Puerto Rico wait for outlets to share resources or work with them to distribute information that may help those affected. One Puerto Rican outlet that isn’t waiting and is covering the hurricane through a feminist perspective is Todas, whose work you can support here.

— Holly Rosewood & Curtis Yee


A bit more media

Q&A: Betsy Ladyzhets — Last week, we spoke with Betsy Ladyzhets, founder of the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, about the project’s background, the relationship between objectivity and health reporting, plus the importance of taking breaks. Read the full conversation here

Democracy correspondent — In case you missed it, The Objective is looking for a part-time democracy correspondent to examine the relationship between journalism and democracy. To help us expand our democracy coverage, please consider donating to our fund

Los Angeles school district drops charges — The Los Angeles Unified School District has dropped charges against Adriana Chavira, a high school journalism adviser who refused to censor her students’ reporting. Earlier this month, the Student Press Law Center — plus 22 organizations and individuals — sent a letter to the district urging a withdrawal. 

Input Mag shutting down — Monday morning, Bustle Digital Group (BDG) informed employees that it was shutting down Input Mag and laying off staffers at Mic, leaving 19 people without jobs, reports Adweek. Good news, though: BDG CEO Bryan Goldberg has a million-dollar hat.

Henry Fuhrmann — Former Los Angeles Times editor and AAJA Los Angeles co-president Henry Fuhrmann died on Sep. 14. Frank Shyong writes about the kindness Fuhrmann shared with young journalists: “He could make his way through a crowded room in half an hour and leave everyone feeling as though they had been heard.”

Prism adopts four-day workweek — Following a successful 12-week trial period, Prism is implementing a 32-hour, four-day workweek. The newsroom reports that 100% of staff support the decision, which will hopefully contribute positively to mental health, retention, and diversity. 


Stay up to date

0 days until … fellowship applications close for the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ DBEI Symposium. The Symposium will take place virtually from Oct. 20-21. 

6 days until … Press On’s Movement Journalism 101 training. An optional, 30-minute lede writing workshop will follow the workshop.

22 days until … the Minority Student Journalism Association. All area college and high school students are invited to apply for this multi-weekend training hosted by the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists.

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


A few 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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This issue is by Holly Rosewood with editing by Curtis Yee.

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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.

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