SPJ21 Journalism Conference: September 2-4, 2021

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Home > Diversity > The Whole Story: Diversity Tips and Tools

The Whole Story: Diversity Tips and Tools

Immigration reporting: How to advance it and make it original
Immigration reporting has been around long enough for stories and themes to start sounding pretty stale. I covered immigration in the mid-1990s, then went to cover Latin America for almost nine years and followed it from that side — and in the U.S., at times. Now I’m back in California covering immigration again. The basic story hasn’t changed, but the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center altered the framework and the national attitude.

Black Americans: The best journalists know their history
Would a historian view today’s representation of African Americans in the media as honest and accurate? Do we know enough as journalists to tell the shared story of America in its fullness and complexity? A richer understanding will surely deepen your writing with texture and context, and may even supply some story ideas. Here are some suggested books and resources from SPJ Diversity Committee members and participants in the diversity leadership program.

What’s in a name? Reporting on the same-sex marriage debate
Eight states will vote on legislation concerning whether or not marriage rights can be conferred to couples of the same-sex. When writing or reporting on this issue, many journalists and news organizations have adopted the phrase “gay marriage.” But what does that communicate? Does it really address the issues being debated? Does it accurately describe what is at stake for everyone?

Covering the heart of poverty, not just its victims
When writing about low-wage work or poverty, journalists gravitate toward the person who has trouble making ends meet or the one who defeated all odds and is squarely on the road to success. Instead of always framing stories around individual success or loss, we can consider the choices that we make as a society. We can investigate potential solutions, rather than falling prey to the assumption that income inequities built into society can't and won't change.

Definition of Diversity
What does “diversity” mean to you?

Diversity Style Guides Roundup
When is your source American Indian or when is he Native American? Not sure of the background of the pink triangle symbol or what a reference to “Stonewall” is all about? Check out the latest resources for journalists who want to do a better job covering the distinct communities that make up the U.S. population.

Build Some Background
It’s not easy to break into an unfamiliar community and find great sources on demand. If reporters develop some background first, they will be ready to hit the streets when they're on deadline. Here are some ways to learn more about community issues and develop a broader sector of possible sources.

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