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ARTICLE: How to train journalists to engage minority communities

Untitled by Alexas_Fotos, licence CC0 1.0

Journalism students can and should be trained to engage marginalized communities, which should result in more inclusive journalism in the future, Sue Robinson, of University of Wisconsin-Madison, writes. Robinson designed an advanced journalism course for this purpose, based on the results from 120 interviews with reporters, bloggers, activists, and citizens.

The interviews were conducted with people involved in reporting racial differences in educational achievement in five locations in the US. The interviews revealed various issues experienced by reporters and minority members alike. On one hand the journalists had trouble locating sources, developing rapport with interviewees, and finding time to attend community events. On the other hand, minority communities often felt ignored or misrepresented by the press.

Taking these experiences into account, Robinson created a curriculum which sought not only to familiarize journalism students with various minorities, but also connect them to minority communities. The students were, for example, charged with leading middle and high school media projects, mainly with minority youth. The students also collaborated with local newsrooms and non-profit organisation to create stories, guidelines and policy documents.

The article “Teaching Journalism for Better Community” was published by the journal Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by Alexas_Fotos, licence CC0 1.0.

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