Among the Texas Tech students helping record audio for our Lubbock days is Roxie Bustamante, who also recaps several sessions for us. Including this one:
It's not a problem unique to journalism. But what are journalists doing to fulfil a vital need for diversity?
Moderator Roger Witherspoon kicked off the session saying that environmental journalism is unique, because it encompasses all aspects of the news.
The panelists tackled segregation's sources. Zoning committees can purposely place different races in different sections of the city, which affects housing, general health, and has a long-term economic impact. This type of segregation started generations ago and still affects millions of people today.
Terry Greenberg, editor of the Lubbock Avalanche – Journal, said, “West Texas is behind in race relations.” Greenberg continued by explaining that the content of the news should always reflect the community. Newsrooms may have gender inequality, but it's a bigger problem that races aren't equally well represented in them.
Many of audience members discussed the conflicts they have run to regarding diversity, including people of different races reluctant to talk to reporters, because they are of a different race or gender.
Another challenge with diversity may lie within the classroom. Some assert that journalism students are not being taught to look for ways to present diversity in their stories; others say they are. Aspiring journalists need to present stories reflecting their communities accurately.
In the end, Greenberg emphasized that documents are colorblind, factual, and can lead a journalist to a story. Journalists must have enough information on a story, to present to their editor, so their editor will want diverse stories that effectively represent a diverse community.