The Front Page: What we read this year

Issue 58: Some of our favorite media criticism of 2022.

It’s Friday, December 16th.

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This year, we covered the highs and lows of American journalism, from nationwide support for democracy to the Associated Press selling NFTs. For our last issue of 2022, we’re sharing some of our favorite media criticism published by other newsrooms and journalists this year. 

Q&A: Southern abortion providers on what the media’s getting wrong 

In the wake of the Dobbs decision and the repeal of Roe v. Wade this May, Ko Bragg led a Twitter Space addressing media coverage of abortion access and reproductive rights. During the talk, which was later published by Scalawag, Laurie Bertram Roberts called out the way Vice News specifically reaches out to abortion providers and repro activists. “They don’t want to say Black, they don’t want to say poor, but they usually get around to it.”

Loans got me into journalism. Student debt pushed me out.
Carrington J. Tatum’s reporting won national and regional awards, contributed to meaningful community change, and earned him multiple internships and a job at MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Yet, due to the loans Tatum had to take out in order to enter the industry — and the disproportionate effect said loans have on Black graduates — he wrote that he’s leaving the field until the systems of exploitation change.

The white queerness of The Daily Northwestern
After the Daily Northwestern published its 2021-22 diversity report, columnist Lucia Barnum broke down the paper’s “alarming and disgraceful” results. Though the newsroom appears to be a welcoming space for white, queer staffers, the report reveals that the same security is not afforded to people of color, who make up less than 20% of the Daily. As Barnum clearly states, the paper’s culture of whiteness does a disservice to not only its staff, but the communities it covers.

White Supremacy Doesn’t Need Our Help
Movement lawyer Olayemi Olurin calls out the media’s role in dulling public understanding of  the prison-industrial complex and its complicity in maintaining said complex. Olurin lays out some of the ways journalist and editorial choices do this: sensationalizing crime, fear-mongering around homelessness, bail reform and crime, presenting police narratives as objective fact. “The battle is less about what we teach people, and more about how we get people to unlearn the propaganda they’ve been fed … White supremacy does not need our help getting its messaging out, use your time and platforms wisely.”

Open Letter to Philadelphia Inquirer Calling for Immediate Action on DEI Failures
In August, the Journalism Accountability Watchdog Network (J.A.W.N.) published an open letter expressing “disappointment and displeasure” at the current state of the Inquirer, which had no Black male news reporters in a city that is more than 40% Black. The paper has still not met with J.A.W.N. leadership, and last month received the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists’ first “Thumbs Down” award for failing to do so.

Mainstream Media’s Rightward Lurch
Following the 2016 election, outlets rushed to “understand” Trump’s voters, a coverage trend that remains — even after his 2020 loss. For Dame Magazine, Parker Molloy explains how this rightward shift began, and why mainstream media’s allegiances won’t be changing anytime soon. “The answer to the millionaires and billionaires making these decisions is always to find an excuse to shift to the right.”

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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This issue is by Nawar Nemeh, Holly Rosewood, and Janelle Salanga with editing by Curtis Yee.

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