WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a recent survey of journalists of color conducted by the leading African American website for economic and political news, The Loop 21, and UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., most respondents do not believe that mainstream media is effectively covering racial issues. Results of the survey were released today during a special "Race & the Media" panel discussion hosted and presented by the National Press Club's Eric Friedheim Library.
The candid discussion, led by Ed Gordon, featured several of the nation's top journalists of color including Amy Alexander (freelance); Amar Bakshi (Washington Post); Angie Chuang (American University); Matt Kelley (USATODAY); Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune); Leslie Sanchez (CNN); and Joe Torres (Free Press).
Although many felt the election coverage opened doors for a fair and balanced discussion of race, an overwhelming 92% of those surveyed believed the mainstream media was still not effectively covering race relations in a multiracial society. Of that majority, 45% attributed the cause to a lack of diversity in newsrooms and 33% attributed it to a lack of understanding by editors/producers.
"The Loop 21 believes it is vital to understand how journalists of color feel racial issues were covered during the 2008 presidential campaign and how we can improve, and affect how issues of race can best be covered in the future," commented Darrell Williams, publisher of theloop21.com. "As we strive to create a more equal society, especially in light of the historic election of Barack Obama, it is crucial to begin a dialogue on race relations, and examine how the media can cover issues in a way that addresses the needs of a growing and diverse American public."
While a majority of respondents were optimistic that Obama's election will enhance the coverage of racial and cultural issues (81%) in mainstream media, their enthusiasm is tempered by diminished expectations for their own career mobility. More than 60% of the respondents "strongly/somewhat disagree" that people of color and women will be promoted to senior positions in the wake of the 2008 presidential campaign, demonstrating that historical practices of race and gender inequality remain entrenched.
"The respondents' lack of confidence in mainstream media's knowledge of race relations highlights the need for more journalists of color in newsroom leadership positions," said UNITY President Rafael Olmeda. "It is imperative that this survey serve as a wake up call to mainstream media - the status quo must change and parity must be reached in America's newsrooms."
The "Race & the Media" survey was commissioned by The Loop 21 for members of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. - a strategic alliance advocating fair and accurate news coverage about people of color - to evaluate the attitudes of journalists of color regarding their experiences in mainstream media during one of the most significant presidential campaigns in American history.
For more survey results and a copy of the "Race & the Media" white paper go to http://www.theloop21.com/. More information from today's "Race & the Media" panel discussion is also available at theloop21.com, as well as http://www.npc.press.org/ and http://www.unityjournalists.org/.
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