This is a topic I have been wanting to discuss for a while now. One of the first things they teach you in college about journalism is how to be objective and the importance of unbias reporting. As a journalist you have to be truthful and make sure all side sof the story are told, or at least to let your audience you tried to contact all parties involved in the incident or ocurrence you’re telling. And for a long time, I follow this rule blindly. For me, there was nothing more importantly than telling the truth in my stories.
Today, I still believe in this value, however, I realized oftentimes, when it comes to reporting about certain groups of people, especially minorities, we forget to take into account the context surrounding them. I am not talking only about immediate context but also about historical context.
For instance, back in 2020 when protests over police brutality and social justice erupted all across the country after the video of George Floyd being killed by police officers reached the masses, the way many news companies decided to cover them was very short-sighted. I watched particularly how Spanish speaking media failed to put into context the reason of the protests and the very complicated lead-up to it.
Another example I can think of is the way many local news choose to cover stories of minorities in their respective comunities. Many local tv stations are guilty of overcriminalizing minorities using “objectivity” as the excuse. When I hear journalists in the industry talk about how important it is to tell a story the way it is, especially when it involves minority communtities, they often times fail to realize the damage we are contributing to the constant negative rethoric surrounding communities of color. A rethoric rooted in a white supremacist narravite that has existed for many years.
Now, I do believe we can continue being truthful and objective storytellers while acknowledging the historical context and oppresive narratives regarding people of color. It is not an easy job by any means, because it entails having to dismantle our own beliefs and biases as human beings and even professional, but it is a rewarding one. At the end, journalists purpose can be both informing the audience and educating them on the systems we live in so that we can break free from them.